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The sustain pedal

Let’s talk about the right-hand pedal, i.e. the damper pedal or sustain pedal. The purpose of this pedal is to hold the chord you just played while you move your hands away to play the next one, in order to avoid cutting off the sound after each chord.


Follow the steps below to use this pedal

  1. Depress the pedal
  2. Play the chord
  3. Lift your hands and position them to play the next chord
  4. Play the next chord without lifting your hands back up
  5. Meanwhile, take your foot off the pedal and then depress it again quickly
  6. Take your hands off the keyboard while holding the pedal down

Be careful, if the chords are similar or the same, there’s no need to take your foot off the pedal… You only need to do this when there may be a clash with the previous chords.


Here’s a little diagram to sum up what we’ve just said:


example score

prolongs the note when you lift up your hand:


the sound is cut off whenever the pianist lifts up their hands:



If you have a « real » piano you may want to know how to use the other two pedals (the left and central pedals). Here’s a bonus lesson on the topic.


The pedal board  
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Gregory Widmer
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