What is Finger Pedaling

Finger Pedaling or sustaining notes is an advanced technique that originated from the piano.

You can see from the diagram it’s represented notionally by placing two of the same identical notes side by side

With one being a quarter note and the other being the same note of another time value.

The Finger Pedaling technique has been around since the dawn of modern western music.

This technique is predominantly used in piano as a substitute for the sostenuto or sustaining pedal

This notation was actually developed before the piano pedals had been invented hence it’s origins

Piano pedals were only introduced/invented in the 1700s and has since replaced Finger Pedaling for most modern pieces.

The Finger Pedaling technique has made it’s way to sheet music of other bass and treble instruments such as guitar, violin etc.

Most likely as a result of these instruments playing piano sheet music.

However on these instruments the Finger Pedaling technique is known as sustaining notes.

What Does The Finger Pedaling Technique Require

What is Finger Pedaling

What is Finger Pedaling

The Finger Pedaling technique requires you to hold down the identical neighbouring note (circled in red) for the time value as indicated by the note on the left while playing the remaining notes in the bar.

In this diagram example you’d hold down the D (bass clef) for 4 counts while playing the remaining notes of the bar.

Sorry treble instrument players, I haven’t added an example in the treble clef but you get the idea, the same concept will apply should you see it in the treble.

I know some of you are thinking that this notation of Finger Pedaling it’s not needed anymore

As you can use the sostenuto pedal, sustaining pedal or write music in 2 parts to achieve the same objective

And to be honest I don’t think I’ve seen it in recent sheet music, however it does exist and it can give a different dynamic to how music can sound.

At the very least now when you see this notation on any sheet music you’ll know what to do

You may even want to try it out on new compositions.

If you have any questions or comments on Finger Pedaling please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.