Position of the Una Corda Pedal:
The Una Corda is Played With:
Soft pedal, “piano” pedal
Effects of the Una Corda Pedal:
The una corda pedal is used to enhance the timbre of softly played notes, and exaggerate a low volume. The soft pedal should be used with notes that are already played softly, and will not produce the desired effect on louder notes.
History of the Una Corda Pedal:
The una corda was the first mechanism to modify the piano’s sound, and was originally operated by hand. It was invented in 1722 by Bartolomeo Cristifori, and quickly became a standard addition to the piano.
How the Una Corda Pedal Works:
Most treble keys are attached to two or three strings. The una corda shifts the strings so that the hammers only strike one or two of them, creating a softened sound.
Some bass keys are only attached to one string. In this case, the pedal creates a shift so that the hammer strikes on a lesser-used portion of the string.
Una Corda Pedal Marks:
In piano notation, use of the soft pedal begins with the words una corda (meaning “one string”), and is released by the words tre corde (meaning “three strings”).
Interesting Facts About the Una Corda Pedal:
- Most upright pianos use a “piano” pedal instead of a true una corda pedal. The piano pedal moves the hammers closer to the strings, preventing them from striking with full force. This produces a similar affect on volume as the original una corda.