I've noticed an effect that I use when playing acoustic piano. Play a note or chord staccato, and quite quickly after playing it, press the damper pedal. The effect is rather like an echo which continues until the pedal is released. It's not the normal 'ped.' effect, where you hold keys down, and then press the pedal.

Is there a specific term for this effect, and does anybody out there use it? Sadly, it doesn't work with electronic keyboards - it's purely mechanical.

  • 1
    It does work with some Roland virtual piano's. If you tried it with a Yamaha, I'm not surprised.
    – 11684
    Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 18:53
  • It's how we do the "fortepiano" ... Play a note forte and 'catch' it with the pedal and it becomes piano immediately ... for example see the first chord of the Beethoven Pathetique sonata ... I'm not sure though
    – Kartik
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 3:56

3 Answers 3


I know exactly the technique you're talking about--pedaling a staccato chord at the end of the attack. I've done some searching, and the closest thing I can find is 'liquid staccato', a term described in a book by Leonard Bernstein and Heinrich Gebhard called The Art of Pedaling: A Manual for the Use of Piano Pedals. This term simply refers to pedaling a staccato phrase, and it would similarly apply to pedaling a single staccato chord.

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So given all this, I think the closest term available is liquid staccato, but I don't think this term quite captures the idea of pedaling at the end of the attack. I've heard this technique used in solo jazz piano (maybe Chick Corea?), but I can't pin down where I've heard it.

  • 2
    Thankyou for the time and effort. You're right, it's not the same effect - I'd probably do what Lenny says with half pedal - but my effect is more of a sfortzando with an echo. Difficult to do the first few times - it can depend on the piano - and difficult to describe (for me!). +1.
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 6:51

I don't think I have ever seen that effect notated. There have been plenty of composers doing all kinds of things to the piano over the last few decades, and so someone may have used this in a piece. But if nobody else speaks up, you get to name it and claim it.


Because the sound of the effect is suddenly loud, then suddenly quiet, easy on a wind instrument, and string/bowed instruments, the best I can come up with is fortepiano, which is an effect Beethoven asked for in some of his works. I don't believe the effect was so, er, effective using the pianos of his day, but fp seems to fit the bill.

  • 1
    I'm sure OP will love this answer!
    – user45266
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 16:02

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