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A while ago I acquired the sheet music to Monster Hunter's "Rotten Vale". The arranger has a video playing the piece here:

However, what's written, and how it's played in the video don't seem to match up.

In measure six, there's this whole note played in the right hand while doing some arrpegios. I don't know if it's just my lack of skill or flexibility, but it seems impossible to play the sixteenth notes while holding the F.

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And, indeed, if you look in the video @ 10 seconds in, the performer hits the F, and does not hold it. Why is this? How is this intended to be played? And why might it use the whole note if it's not intended to be played as a whole note?

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Listening to the video, she has the sustain pedal down for the whole of each bar, so there is no need to hold the keys down as well.

Notice that she plays the whole note louder than the 16th notes.

It's always to dangerous to say something is "impossible" because somebody will have hands big enough to play that bar as written without pedal, but for normal pianists it isn't practical at that tempo. Playing the first beat Gb Ab Gb Ab with 1 and 2 might be just about possible, but that puts your hand in completely the wrong position to get to the Bb C in the second beat (and normal pianists couldn't finger those notes 3 and 4).

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  • Forgive my own ignorance once again, but you're implying the sustain pedal has a bigger impact the louder you play a note? Pedal work was one thing I was never taught while taking piano lessons. – Raven Dreamer Dec 21 '19 at 20:32
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    @RavenDreamer: It's not that the sustain pedal behaves differently when playing louder, but if you want a note to still be noticeable for a full bar duration, you may want to play it louder (whether using the sustain pedal or not), as once a note is struck on the piano, it will begin to decay (i.e., get softer). Playing a single note louder may be even more important when attempting to make that note stand out against a jumble of notes created by holding the sustain pedal. – Athanasius Dec 21 '19 at 20:49
  • Isn't it G Ab G Ab, not Gb Ab Gb Ab? – Dekkadeci Dec 22 '19 at 11:13
  • Playing it with the fingering 1-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-1-3 should be more than feasible at relatively high speeds for most pianists (perhaps with a bit of practice if unused to less common fingering). – WillRoss1 Dec 22 '19 at 17:27
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It's less than an octave spread, and you have enough fingers to both hold the F and play the fast notes underneath. Perfectly possible, and it might have been more effective if the pianist had taken notice of it.

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  • I can handle the spread fine, it's trying to play the rest of the phrase while keeping my thumb on the low G that I find untenable. – Raven Dreamer Dec 22 '19 at 15:59
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    While possible for some pianists, the fourth between C and F is going to feel pretty uncomfortable for most if played with 4 and 5. – WillRoss1 Dec 22 '19 at 17:57
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I am a big proponent of strictly legato fingering. That is, being able to play it smoothly without the sustain pedal, then adding the pedal to blend things out. If you depend on the pedal to hold notes to their full duration it can still make things less fluid and requires extra attention to pedal work (you CANNOT release the pedal until the end of the note, even if it muddles up the rest).

That said, there is a substantial amount of music out there that DOES require using the sustain pedal in this way, especially in more recent (relatively speaking) works. In these cases the composer was certainly aware of this and likely notated pedal markings explicitly (though not necessarily).

Of course, individual physical ability can affect this as well, making a passage impossible to play as written and necessitating adaptations and "tricks", if you will, such as using the sustain pedal to "stretch" notes to their full duration.

As far as the passage in question, the fingering 1-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-1-2-1-3-1-2-1-3 while holding the F with the pinky should be more than practical at relatively high speeds for most pianists (though it might take a bit of getting used to of you aren't familiar with somewhat less common fingering techniques).

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F= > pinky finger

GABC = > 1212

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