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In this extract from the “Ent’racte” (sic) from John Crook’s score to Peter Pan, how far does the pedal pattern indicated by “simile” last? Looking at the score I can imagine any of these possibilities:

  • It lasts for the three measures which have the bass-line rhythm 3 quavers + 1 quaver rest;
  • It lasts for all measures where the bass-line comprises eighth notes/rests (i.e., until the last two measures before the double bar); or
  • It lasts until the double bar.

(And, of course, the answer might be something I haven’t imagined.)

Extract from “Ent’racte”, from Peter Pan

(The score is available at https://books.google.com/books?id=J-wQAAAAYAAJ Page 19 et seq., if more context is needed than I’ve given.)

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What I've seen is that the "simile" is in force until explicitly changed. Given that the double bar is followed by the same figure in the piano, I think it continues. The end of a movement is an easy marker. Probably, were there a change in the figuration for the piano, that would be a place to change pedaling style. For example, in the measure before the key change in the piece above, there is a single measure change which immediately continues with the original figure. I'd pedal that measure differently (though that's not necessary) and continue with the original pedaling style in the next section.

To some extent, pedaling may have to be changed from what's written because of acoustics of venue. Rachmaninoff used the pedal extensively in his performances but his scores of those pieces indicate little pedal marking.

  • “… were there a change in the figuration for the piano …”—meaning what? When the bass line completely stops that 3+1 rhythm? – J. C. Salomon Dec 9 '16 at 7:20
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simile. =similarly =similar to the above pedaling pattern.

So it seems to suggest that pedal ought to be raised and pressed every measure. But this looks unlikely, for example measure 6 in the example shown has two chords (resp., borrowed V and I of e minor both superimposed on borrowed tonic "e"), that are strange if mixed together (given the dissonance level of other part of the excerpt). Same can be said of measures 7 and 8. Thus the score does not seem well-edited.

Pedal is one part of piano playing of which great freedom is allowed for good reasons. For example, Chopin was careful in notating pedal marks, but even so, few take his markings seriously, not because we dismiss Chopin's indication, but because his piano is very different from modern grand. On the other hand, Schumann often wrote "pedal." only, indicating the pedal is used, but executed at you will.

In short, respect, and try to understand, the composer's intention, but if you disagree, then do it your way.

  • I’ve been told this score has the look of a piano reduction, which might explain some of the oddities. OTOH, I’ve listened to the MIDI generated by LilyPond as I re-typeset this, and it sounds alright. – J. C. Salomon Dec 9 '16 at 14:03
  • It's written in a typically pianistic style. Nothing odd about it at all. – Laurence Payne Dec 11 '16 at 11:28

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