Beginners Music Theory/Piano

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Piano[edit | edit source]

Pedal marks[edit | edit source]

Pedal marks appear in music for instruments with sustain pedals, such as the piano, vibraphone and chimes.

Engage pedal
Tells the player to put the sustaining pedal down.
Release pedal
Tells the player to let the sustain pedal up.
Variable pedal mark
More accurately indicates the precise use of the sustain pedal. The extended lower line tells the player to keep the sustain pedal depressed for all notes below which it appears. The shape indicates the pedal is to be momentarily released, then depressed again.
Con sordino, Una corda
Tells the player to put the soft pedal down or, in other instruments, apply the mute.
Senza sordino, Tre corde
Tells the player to let the soft pedal up or, in other instruments, remove the mute.

Other piano notation[edit | edit source]

left hand right hand
English l.h. r.h.
left hand right hand
German l.H r.H
linke Hand rechte Hand
French m.g. m.d.
main gauche main droite
Italian m.s. m.d.
mano sinistra mano destra
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Finger identifications:
1 = thumb
2 = index
3 = middle
4 = ring
5 = little

Old (pre-1940) tutors published in the UK may use "English fingering". + for thumb, then 1 (index), 2 (middle), 3 (ring) and 4 (little).[1]

  1. "Scales-continental/ English Fingering". The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. 20 December 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2015.