part of the entertainer

Am I supposed to hold the chord with the right hand and also play the melody with the right hand?

  • 1
    I dont have my joplin at hand now, but i can't remember to have seen this in my scores. Is this for sure Urtext?
    – tommsch
    May 16, 2020 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


There's a pedal on the right just for this kind of scenario! Since the harmony doesn't change throughout the bar, it's o.k. to press that pedal just after you play the chord, to keep it going through the bar. Then lift the pedal just as you play the first notes in the following bar.

If you happen to have a piano with three pedals, and the middle one is a sostenuto pedal (rather than a practice pedal) that will do the job as well - possibly better, as you will elongate only the chord in question. Along with the bass note, of course!

Knowing where in the world you are would make the answer make more sense, regarding the middle pedal.

  • I understand that the middle pedal does different things on different pianos (mutes the piano or sustains only specific notes) — though I’m on a digital piano with just a sustain pedal, so not many options for me :/
    – Michael MK
    May 16, 2020 at 17:23
  • There are quite a few digitals that have a switchable system - the 'soft' pedal on a few of mine can be routed to be sotenutos. No need for a soft pedal, though - just drop the volume...
    – Tim
    May 16, 2020 at 17:35
  • Some uprights treat the middle pedal as a bass-only damper pedal, which is simpler mechanically than a sostenuto but would work well for this kind of thing. I wonder what Joplin's piano did?
    – supercat
    May 17, 2020 at 1:23

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