Talk:Pedal keyboard

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Various issues[edit]

In my experience the term pedal clavier is more formal and pedalboard is more of an informal usage, but that may be changing. Further, I would like to point out that the pedalboard is not "unique" to the organ, as at times harpsichords were also built with them, though that model is no longer common. It originated in organs, but was at one point viewed as a method for extending keyboard instruments in general. Not all organs even have a pedalboard; historically I believe Italian and French organs were late to adopt pedals compared to the Germans. Perhaps more research should be put into this article to avoid incorrect generalizations

  • I have removed the phrase "The pedalboard is a distinctive feature of the organ and adds to its mystique, differentiating it from other keyboard instruments", since this is blatantly untrue given that the "mystique" of the organ is subjective, and that (as stated above) numerous harpsichords even today are built with pedalboards, and also that in Bach's time a double set of clavichords with a pedal clavichord was often used as a practice instrument for organists in the absence of an organ. This shows that contrary to the statement, the organ is not alone in its posessing a pedalboard. Furthermore, as the above poster stated, many organ-building traditions neglected the innovation of the pedalboard well past Bach's era (see for example the English organ school of composition, which totally ignored the idea of a pedalboard until well into the 19th century). I may edit more at a later date.
Doshea3 16:37, 29 July 2006 (UTC)


it must be necessary to say what is the first[edit]

I'm a little bit surprised to read at the same level pedal board for electronic and for pipe organ...

In fact, pedalboard was invented for pipe organ and only for it. Pedalboard for electronic organ arrived very very later. So I think it should be better to speak about pedalboard for true pipe organ only. And after give indication about shortest pedalboard found on electronic organ, mostly not comparable with large pipe organ pedal board.

In many case, pedalboard of electronic organ is only one octave (13 keys), but pipe organ pedalboard is almost 30 and often 32 keys. Sonusfaber 20:47, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I think you may be used to "Classically"-oriented music reference works, like the Grove's Encyclopedia, which has a bias towards Western Art Music. For example, there is an entry for 100s of local and regional UK musicians and organists, who are unknown outside of their region and area of expertise...in contrast, very influential rock musicians, such as members of bands such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath go unmentioned.....................Wikipedia does not have any such bias. Thus the Wikipedia article will discuss all of the applications. The general Wikipedia rule is that the most notable examples and cases should get the most space. Since the art music use of pedal keyboards is much better documented, and has a much more developed literature/pedagogy, I agree that the art music (Baroque/ church music) usage of the pedal keyboard should have the lion's share of the article. But the rock and jazz use of the pedal keyboard also deserves to be in this article. The rock use of the pedal keyboard was part of rock's attempt at art music in the 1970s: progressive rock. The musicians wanted to perform more complex compositions with more voices, and so the keyboardists (and sometimes bassists or guitarists) would use pedal keyboards to free up their hands for other tasks (playing upper manuals, playing guitar, operating effects devices, etc.)..................The use of pedal keyboards in jazz also has had a part in the organ technique used with Hammond organs in styles such as soul jazz and hard bop........Back to the point....the article discusses art music, rock, and jazz. The lede's role is to summarize the article, and so the lede also refers to the three genres of music. Thanks!Nazamo (talk) 20:47, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
You're replying to a very old commnent that predates most of the current article. Somehow (presumably an editing goof on my part) my name and a more recent date were appended by accident. MrRK (talk) 20:08, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Disambiguation Page?[edit]

pedalboard has at least one other meaning, a board or tray designed to hold effects pedals. For example: [1] [2] [3]

As a quick web search will show, this has actually become the more common usage, simply because there is a bigger market for guitar effects than for pedal claviers.

If no one objects, I'd like to create a dab for pedalboard. 65.204.170.66 22:06, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Good idea, I say go for it. Doshea3 00:19, 3 January 2007 (UTC)


Here's the plan:
1) Rename this page Pedal Clavier
2) Create a dab page for Pedalboard that points to Pedal Clavierand Effects pedal
Will do later today if no objections. (By the way, I finally registered!) MrRK 17:46, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Done. MrRK 03:13, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
If you insist that pedalboards are more commonly referred to for guitar effects pedals, you should also realise the historical implications of the Pedal clavier. Historically (ie going back to its development in the 17th/18th century) the pedal clavier was not the physical keyboard played by the feet, but actually the complete instrument. It was a term initially used for either the organ with pedals, or harpsichord/clavichord...they were all types of pedal clavier. Maybe Pedal clavier is now used in America to mean the an organ pedalboard, but certainly not in britain and the rest of Europe. Instead of moving the whole page, surely a disambig link at the top of the Pedalboard would have sufficed saying (This article refers to a musical keyboard played with the feet. For guitar effects pedals, see effect pedal). There is even more reason for doing this, because to move a large article due to a 1.5 line section in another article seems silly. In my opinion, the only reason that a google search of pedalboard brings up several articles on effects pedals is that they are the sort of item that can be bought seperately, therefore there is a need for greater marketing, hence the greater volume of webpages.

Please consider reverting the move.

Best wishes, Mdcollins1984 10:25, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Believe me, I agonized over this. I based my choice on convenience for the user. What I asked myself was what a typical user coming to wikipedia for information about "pedalboards" was more likely to be looking for. If the clear majority would be looking for organ pedals, then the dab link at the top of this page would indeed be the thing to do, but I think that, statistically, that user is more likely to be interested in rock music/electric guitar than organ pedals. I personally don't really like that idea, but I had to set that aside. In my web search, I factored out all the hits that were sales related and looked only at discussions. I thought about appending a clarifying suffix (such as "Pedalboard (effects)" and "Pedalboard (organ)", but decided against that since pedalboards aren't really unique to organs. "Pedalboard (real music)" and "Pedalboard (noise)" was a bit too POV.  :) I think having Pedalboard as a dab is the right thing to do here. If you've got a better name for this page than "Pedal Clavier" other than "Pedalboard", please suggest it.
Point noted about "pedal clavier" referring to the entire instrument and perhaps I'll update this page to talk about that. MrRK 21:05, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
All in all, I would agree with User:Mdcollins1984, but I would also offer yet another alternative: is there any objection to renaming the article "Pedal keyboard"? This is the most NPOV solution I can come up with. —Cor anglais 16 22:16, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Excellent idea! And here it is! MrRK 09:15, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. A good compromise. I have just put the article into some sections, incorporating lots of information from the French article. Mdcollins1984 11:30, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Very good, thanks. MrRK 17:15, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Overhauled some of the text[edit]

I reworded the first several paragraphs, to consolidate some redundant text, to describe instruments other than pipe organs (sorry, Sonusfaber!), and to (IMO) smooth out some of the prose. Let me know if you think I missed (or just plain botched) anything. 65.204.170.66 18:53, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Did some more. It's still not wonderful, but I think it's better. MrRK 17:47, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

"Dancing"?[edit]

A person playing the pedalboard can almost appear to be dancing, making the performance more engaging visually as well as musically.

This sentence, at least the first half of it, seems to me to be trite. It also seems inaccurate, as I have never connected someone's pedal technique with a dance performance. There is, however, the commonly-used phrase (especially popular with newspaper critics): "His feet danced across the pedals." Nevertheless, I don't believe that this means that the person "appear[s] to be dancing." It also bothers me that this sentence is set off in its own paragraph. I don't want to delete it because some people do make that connection, as evidenced by the quote above. Can we think of any way to improve this?
(Also, and slightly off-topic, does anyone know where I can find the Wikipedia convention on quoting an article on its talk page? Did I do it correctly just now?) —Cor anglais 16 22:29, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I thought I deleted this sentence when I removed the stuff about how the organ was a "mystical" instrument. Perhaps it could be changed to something like "some people connect..." to remove the latent subjectivity. As far as making the performace "more engaging visually", surely every musical performance is visually engaging in its own way—think of the pianist thumping the keys, the violinist swaying about the stage. Therefore, surely such a remark is irrelevant in this context. —Doshea3 08:20, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm not the original author of the sentence in question, but I did rather like the sentiment, even if its placement in the article is rather awkward. I would still argue that a performer who is moving both his hands and feet is more visually engaging that one who is moving his hands alone, all else being equal, but it's all admittedly quite subjective and non-encyclopaedic. Maybe we should just scrap this sentence after all. MrRK 18:53, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Usage of "Accidental"[edit]

Is it correct to refer to the black keys as "accidentals"? I know that's a fairly common usage, but is it right? The Musical keyboard article says so, but see Talk:Accidental (music), top of the page. That's also what I was taught, that strictly speaking, "accidental" should only be used to refer to a note not in the key signature. An accidental often is, in fact, a natural note (e.g., C natural in D major). I don't have access to my books at the moment. What, for example, does Grove say? MrRK 20:53, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

From http://www.grovemusic.com, the online New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians:
The rest of the article does not address the question you raise. Therefore, it seems that you are correct. Furthermore, now that I think about it, the term "sharp" is used to refer to the keys themselves in harpsichord and organ building (at least, it has in my experience). Organ builders will also refer to specific pipes as "C-sharp 2" (written c#'') or "double A-sharp" (written AA#), for example, rather than "D-flat 2" or "double B-flat" (again, in my experience), even writing or embossing these names on the pipes themselves. I encourage changing all occurrences of "accidental" to "sharp" when it refers to the key itself. Where do we recommend this be adopted as an official Wikipedia standard? —Cor anglais 16 23:13, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Before we do that, I will look into any material I have too, obviously 'accidental' is wrong: rudimentarily I would call them black notes, but obviously this is probably a bit unencyclopaedic.
Also bear in mind that, in Britain at least, double flats and sharps are refered to as A Double-sharp (Ax) or B double-flat (Bbb) (excuse the lack of decent double flat/sharps signs).
I'll be back! Mdcollins1984 23:20, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
MDCollins seems to have gotten busy elsewhere. Well, in the meantime, I've replaced "accidentals" with "sharps and flats". MrRK 22:00, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
Oops - side tracked! I'll have a look now. Maybe sharps is ok (with a link to something, somewhere!)... Mdcollins1984 10:36, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
I think perhaps the best way forward is to keep to white and black notes, with a note somewhere that this is used for convenience and in reality the colours may be reversed on historical instruments... What do you reckon? I've rejigged Musical keyboard thus wikifying it and making it consistent at least. Mdcollins1984 10:51, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Merger from AGO pedalboard[edit]

Re.: the proposed merger of AGO pedalboard into the Design section of this article

Agree. The AGO pedalboard does not require its own article when an extensive design section incorporating all pedalboard forms could be incorporated into Pedal keyboard. —Cor anglais 16 (talk) 12:27, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Agree. Perhaps we would need a separate AGO pedalboard article if the AGO pedalboard article was a hulking, 30-page article with a detailed history, photos, etc. But it's not. The AGO article is short enough to be a prominent section in the "Pedal Keyboard" article.Nazamo 20:43, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

History - length of pedals[edit]

Following on from the edit made by Cor anglais 16, referring to the heel-toe technique in works of Bach, I continued this on and removed the sentence that said that some of Bach's works are 'obviously and technically written so that the features of pedal are carried out by both the toes and the heel'. Aside from the poor prose, this led me to question the validity of the history section as well, as I was always taught, maybe incorrectly, that German pedalboards were, and often still are short in length, requiring excellent toe-toe technique. That is added by the view that 'one must never use the heel when performing Bach'. Although it is something I don't always subscribe to, it is an oft heard comment.

Basically, does anyone have any verifiable sources that Bach/German organists had full length keys?

MDCollins (talk) 08:35, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I believe there are pictures... one or two of the Bach organs still exist, I think, and there are several historic organs from that time period that are still around. The pedals may have been shorter, but the playable portion of the pedals did not extend under the keyboards; they protruded towards the bench from an imaginary plumb line dropped from the front edge of the lowest manual. Thus, extensive heel use was much more difficult, but not impossible. I can't point us to any specific sources, though... I guess we just have to go there and look. As I recall, you're in England, so that makes you closer than I am :-). —Cor anglais 16 00:23, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
An interesting note on this subject: http://www.bachorgan.com/Comps/Pedalexercitium.pdf MrRK (talk) 17:34, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

I haven't looked in for a while, but... is anyone else less than satisfied with the changes made by Piercetheorganist?

I have to confess, that's exactly what I was tempted to do to him... :) MrRK (talk) 21:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Count me also as less than satisfied, but not necessarily unhappy... I for one would rather not see the preponderance of information on jazz organists in this article, but I suppose a bit of it has to be there. The gallery seems a bit redundant... there must be a better way to include this information: perhaps a history section? I think something on technique should be included as well. —Cor anglais 16 00:14, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
He seems to have arbitrarily ripped out a lot of useful information. BTW, is there a WP guideline that would justify removing the list of synonyms from the first line? MrRK (talk) 17:45, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Hi, The WIkipedia Manual of Style states that articles should have a list of synonyms in the lede. Piercethe Org should not have removed them.Nazamo (talk) 20:49, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
I put them back. I also removed "bass pedalboard", which is neither a correct term nor a commonly used incorrect one. MrRK (talk) 20:11, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Removal of claim that organ pedals are there because there is no sustain pedal[edit]

Hi, I removed the claim that organ pedal keyboards are because the organ has no sustain pedal like the piano. This appears to be original research (a personal theory) on the part of the author. A casual glance at the history of music will reveal that organs predate pianos by a number of centuries (depending on how you define "organ"). When organs first started having crude pedal mechanisms in the 1300s, it was just a latch, hook, or lever that held down a low manual key to get a drone bass. So it would make more sense, historically, to say that pedals are useful on the organ because the organ literature has asked for three parts (left hand, right hand, and a sustained bass part, such as a low drone) since its earliest history................................................The statement that was removed was problematic because it implies that organ builders thought "Hmmm...organs don't have a sustain pedal....golly gee...i better add some sort of device to help the instrument to sustain notes" : )Nazamo (talk) 20:36, 16 April 2008 (UTC)