I am trying to figure out whether, and how much, Prince uses the sustain pedal in playing the main riff here. To me, it sounds like there are notes from the opening chord(s) that sustain through the entire four chord progression (e.g. from 00:00 to 00:06). But, the sound doesn't get muddy, and the bass notes he is playing don't seem to be sustaining.

Am I missing something here? Is he just lifting the pedal very subtly with each chord change, and it's only an illusion that the notes from the first chord are sustaining through the progression? Is it sympathetic resonance from unplayed strings? (That seems unlikely to me.)

Any insight would be appreciated!


I hear no tricks with the pedal here. In the right conditions this could well have been played with the unaided fingers. I think your impression is caused by the change of harmony at the start of the second bar sharing some notes with the chord in the second half of the first bar.

  • Thank you! I'm sure you are probably correct about the reason - I am relatively new to the piano and my ear isn't totally developed yet.
    – Kiril
    Mar 14 '19 at 4:47

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