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I am confused about how to play the left hand; I know that we have three sounds here but in the 3rd beat how can I hold the B and play another B? It makes sense for the first beat: hold the E and play the B, but how to play the rest?

  • This is an “easy piano” arrangement of Chopin’s Etude in E you can only play on a grand piano with a 3rd pedal (sustain pedal). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustain_pedal – Albrecht Hügli Feb 14 '20 at 6:27
  • @AlbrechtHügli - doesn't every piano come with the sustain pedal? Do you mean the sostenuto pedal (middle one on some pianos - not to be confused with the middle practice pedal on others)? – Tim Feb 14 '20 at 7:39
  • Yes, Tim, you are correct. I wasn’t quite woken up when writing it ;) – Albrecht Hügli Feb 14 '20 at 7:42

In reality, because the sustain pedal is holding the 1st E, and later in the bar, the B, there's no need to keep a finger on either - the pedal's job takes over.

It is often confusing seeing piano music written like this - but consider the stem direction - it's written in parts, as if for two different instruments to play the bass clef notes, and technically needs all the notes written in to fulfil the sums for note values in each bar. Play each part separately, and it may make more sense - but of course on piano, it just looks incomprehensible from the music.


In the 2nd bar it doesn't matter as the half note B is hold - like Tim says. But in some other chords with non-chord tones I think the sustain pedal isn't a good solution and I would use it carefully. If you consider the arrangement as a 3 voice piece of the melody and chords in the r.h. and in the left hand you have a bass line and a rhythmic accompaniment I wouldn't use the sustain pedal if not necessary when the bass line and the accompaniment are not the same note and only a 5th between.

It would also be reasonable to play the bass note B 8vb (an octave lower) ... but someone may say: Using the pedal must be trained too!

  • Except the piece is heavily marked with ped. signs, so the composer seems to want it used - a lot. – Tim Feb 14 '20 at 10:17
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    As this is not an original edition of the composer I was wondering whether Chopin wrote this pedal marks. I looked in my own sheet music and it is as you say full of pedal marks. (Breitkopf Edition). Now I found this comment or question: pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=38739.0 Also the wiki research confirms my intention: In regard to the pedal Cortot recommends pedal changes synchronized with the bass line (six changes per bar), although many critics say this is too much to be necessary. No pedal indication by Chopin is found in manuscripts or original editions.[22] – Albrecht Hügli Feb 14 '20 at 14:24

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