Should We Use Sustain Pedals for Baroque Pieces Recordings?

Should we use sustain pedals for Baroque pieces?

PRSLondon brings you a great piece of advise for those lovers of Baroque music recordings!

When piano students gain more experience with the piano and start to inquire about a more specific stylistic approach for the pieces they are studying, piano teachers should be prepared to answer this question, as the answer is far from simple. Never the truth regarding the addition of not of the sustain pedal that we know very well adapted for romantic and modern pieces should be introduced in the Baroque and Classical era pieces or not.

The sustain pedal is one of the most characteristic features of the modern piano.

Still, in the case of the pieces composed the Romantic period, this concept was totally foreign and impossible.

The two ancestors of the modern piano are first, the harpsichord, which mechanical essence is totally different from the former; and the fortepiano, or also called firstly:”gravicembalo col piano e forte ” built by Cristofori in 1709.

Both instruments didn’t have any sustain pedals, so the music that was created to be played on them adapted to the instrument, but that is a half-truth, as we can see that during Bach’s years had spanned from 1685 to 1750. Through most of these years, we can see clearly the possibility of using sustain in pieces had existed in his lifetime. In Bach’s time, creating a seamless legato on keyboards and organ was solely dependent on the fingers. Nevertheless, there was a pedal keyboard that could be attached to the clavichord or harpsichord. 


We can see that although the pedal itself didn’t exist, the idea of binding notes and chord did exist and we can take advantage of it with the modern piano and take the pieces of a bygone era and “upgrade” them to another completely higher level of performance and audition.

Learn also all about the history of piano with WKMT’s latest post.