Before I go and try to capture some data, has anyone collected statistics on how long it takes a pianist to half-pedal the sustain pedal? That is, with the pedal down, what would be a reasonable amount of time it would take a pianist to bring the pedal up, and then back down again?

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This is motivated by lilypond (as of 2.18.2) putting zero-time pedal changes into its MIDI output via c1\sustainOff\sustainOn:

['set_tempo', 0, 500000],
['note_on', 1536, 0, 60, 0],       # the second C4
['control_change', 0, 0, 64, 0],   # and at the same time, pedal up
['control_change', 0, 0, 64, 127], # and at the same time, pedal down

I would imagine that the pedal up must happen at least _____ (some number of milliseconds, on average) before the pedal down.

  • I would guess around 250ms on average. But I'm not sure how realistic this is going to sound no matter what you do, so I wouldn't sweat it too much.
    – MattPutnam
    Oct 29, 2015 at 15:45
  • Depends on the pedal too. My grand piano has a spring that makes bringing it up and down kind of labourious, but my electric piano's pedal is slick. Nov 6, 2015 at 20:15

1 Answer 1


I just timed myself using a millisecond stopwatch over ten repetitions, and got an average of about 500ms (502 to be exact). I don't have any data on how much that varies from person to person, though.


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