Every pedal except the sostenuto pedal also has an English name. Sostenuto means "sustained" in Italian, according to Wikipedia.

Another reason for an English word to replace the word "sostenuto" is that it has 4 syllables while the other pedal names have fewer (the soft pedal has 1, the damper pedal has 2)

Every other pedal has an English name. What's another name for the sostenuto? (Please make sure the name is in English.)

  • 1
    Soft pedal is the una corda pedal.(4 syllables!). Damper pedal actually does the opposite - it undamps the strings. Also called sustain pedal. Have never heard another name for the sostenuto pedal, which many uprights and some grands don't possess. Some have a practice pedal in the middle.
    – Tim
    Dec 2, 2018 at 10:51
  • If you want to innovate, you could try the keepdown pedal, the rare pedal, the sos pedal (for short: "the sauce"), the [Claire de] Lune pedal... :) Dec 2, 2018 at 13:34

3 Answers 3


I've heard it referred to as the "sustain pedal" plenty of times.

(This looks like way too short of an answer, but I don't see how to beef it up...)

  • 2
    If the middle pedal is the sustain, then what's the right hand (foot!) one called?
    – Tim
    Dec 2, 2018 at 10:41
  • @Tim Yikes, I just realized that I completely misunderstood the question! Part of me wants to delete my answer, but apparently at least three people also call the middle pedal the sustain pedal...?!
    – Richard
    Dec 2, 2018 at 23:49

Nope, just 'Sostenuto pedal'. The only alternative might be 'middle pedal' - but a middle pedal can be other things.


•Our beloved Chopin called the right pedal the “grande/grand pédale” and the left pedal the “petite/petit pédale.” He may have called the pedal release sign * the “petite/petit signe de convention” which I found in a French treatise of that period, but I wouldn't think he would call is that all the time.

•I believe Italians of that period, liked to call the right pedal the “pedale di sordino” and the left pedal the “pedale di una corda.” They might have called the pedal release sign “Il segno di sordino.”

-The right pedal might be called “Il pedale di tonale” or “Il pedale centrale”.

•By no means am I a PhD or a DMA in Piano Performance (yet) but you can for sure be certain called the right pedal the “grande/grand pédal” and the left pedal the “petite/petit pédal.” This is solid fact in accordance with Chopin’s pupils scores.

-Potato, Po-TAH-to, taters.

-Tomato, To-MAH-to, maters.

•They are one and same except the name and the spelling.

•It is certainly good to know the name of these signs which I have researched with verdant passion but what is more important to me is: do you know what they mean and how to interpret them? That is so much more important. How do you read them?

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