I am trying to understand Romantic music. I came across this extract from Beethoven's Piano Sonata op.110 from the Allegro man non troppo part.

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I want to understand what the words "Recitativo" and "tutte le corde" mean? The internet explained "recitativo" as recitative, and I couldn't find the meaning for "tutte le corde". Examples to understand these terms would help.

2 Answers 2


Tutte Le Corde tells you to release the left pedal. The earlier marking Una Corda tells you to press down the left pedal. The left pedal is sometimes called the “soft” pedal. It makes the sound softer by shifting the piano hammers so they only strike one string at a time (hence Una Corda, which is Italian for “one string”). Tutta Le Corde is Italian for “all the strings”, which you achieve by lifting the left pedal.

  • 1
    The mechanism of the left pedal on upright pianos is apparently that it puts a screen between the hammers and the strings instead of shifting the hammers.
    – Dekkadeci
    Aug 25, 2019 at 14:44
  • 1
    @Dekkadeci in my experience, the more common mechanism on uprights is a bar behind the hammers, on which they rest, which is moved closer to the strings when the left pedal is used, so the hammers have less room to accelerate and therefore strike the strings with a lower velocity.
    – phoog
    Aug 26, 2019 at 5:36

From the ever-reliable Dolmetsch page, which really ought to be where every question submitted here should redirect :-=) ,

recitative can be: recitativo secco or recativo parlante literally 'dry' (seco) or 'spoken' (parlante with only a very simple chordal accompaniment
this is a rapid dialogue which carries forward the plot, particularly in comic operas

recitativo accompagnato recitativo stromentato
literally 'accompanied' with the active involvement of the orchestra used to accompany more emphatic phrases such as the declamatory introduction to an aria


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