Musical Notation: "1 C." and "3 C." ?

I have a piano score (The Einaudi Collection since you ask) and on some of the pieces there is every now and then the notation “1 C.” or “3 C.” underneath the stave. They seem to coincide with the start of a new phrase but not every new phrase. Not every piece in the book has them (maybe 3 or 4 out of 20ish)

Any ideas what they mean?

1 C. stands for una corda (‘one string’), indicating use of the soft (left) pedal, and 3 C. cancels the instruction.

You know, I’d have understood that perfectly in Italian, but I’d not seen the abbreviation before.

Nor have I, that I can recall, but I’d been practising a piece with an una corda instruction only a few minutes before, which meant it was the first thing that came to mind!

So thats what the break pedal on my piano’s for.

Thanks GorillaMan

Nah, the una corda is the clutch; it’s the sostenuto that’s the brake.

I guess the fourth pedal on a Fazioli is the hood release.

O dear, I guess I mis-understood. My piano must be and automatic 'cos it’s only got a break and an accelerator - which I guess means I’m out of luck playing *una corda * - do you think it’s possible to retro-fit a clutch?

Don’t worry, what you’re missing is the brake. Just hope that there’s a steep incline when you need it.

Nah, unlike a car, the pedal in the middle is the first one to get cut. The damper, or sustain is on the left, and it is absolutely necessary. (It’s one of the chief differences between a piano and a harpsichord - you just can’t play much post-Haydn/Mozart without one.) The una corda (far left) does different things depending on your piano’s design. On grand pianos, it shifts the hammers over so they only strike one string per note instead of 3. On most uprights, they change the position of the hammers so they are closer to the strings, reducing the amount of force with which they can strike the strings. Less force = softer sound.

The middle pedal is a sostenuto on full grands, which allows the pianist to play a chord, depress the pedal, and only the notes of that chord will be sustained. Some pianos have a middle pedal that will sustain only the bass notes. Some pianos have a middle pedal that’s just there for decoration, and some don’t even have it at all.

ETA: D’oh! Gorilla Man beat me to it again!

So the extra keys on a Bösendorfer are what, the fuse box?

EDIT: Or, for a right-hand-drive, the glove box?

He’s also going to point out your mistake :smiley:

I am doomed, for even my wits abandon me.

I meant the other left, the foot that’s usually in my mouth.

Some (specifically Yamahas) have a “studio” pedal there, which drastically cuts the sound for practicing in less than soundproof areas. It works by dropping a sheet of felt between the hammers and the strings.

The distinctive sound this creates is exploited by Gyorgy Kurtag, performing his own duets alongside Bartok and Bach, on a muted piano which is then subtley amplified. Very much worth hearing, if you ever get the opportunity.

And UIVMM the cheap old upright we had for a while when I was young used this as its only soft-pedal mechanism.