Pedal Point

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pedal point

[′ped·əl ‚pȯint]
The fixed point with respect to which a pedal curve is defined.
The fixed point with respect to which the pedal coordinates of a curve are defined.

Pedal Point


(organ point; pedal), a sustained bass note, against which the upper voices move freely, often into distant keys. Its harmonic concord with the other voices is established at or not long before its cessation.

The term “pedal point” (or “organ point”) reflects the frequent use of the device in organ music. It originated in folk instrumental music. The pedal point heightens or diminishes the tension in a composition and unifies diverse elements in the development of the upper voices. The tonic (I) and the dominant (V) are most commonly used as pedal points. Characteristic of the folk music of various peoples is a pedal point that sounds the tonic and the dominant simultaneously (volynka basses). Pedal points are also encountered in the middle and upper voices. A pedal point may consist of a repeated sound or a short melodic phrase, as well as a single, sustained note.

References in periodicals archive ?
It helps draw attention to the use of pedal points in other parts of the piece.
In the episodes, however, Harrison finds rhythmic equivalents to other compositional procedures traditionally found in fugal episodes, namely subject development, sequences, and the establishment of pedal points.
In "Silently She's Combing," Rands extends a basic structure out from the pedal point, F, which is tonal and symmetrical at the same time--the F Dorian scale.
246 to the end, all of the materials freely recombine except for the pedal points.
The bass soloist returns with long lyrical passages eventually punctuated by Scotch snaps marked sfp, and the movement builds to a grand fortissimo, dropping at once to a quiet pedal point in the low strings over which the bass executes a second cadenza, less frenzied and more lyrical than the one heard in the first movement.
From the churning maelstrom of Clipper to the pounding pedal points of Dawn Patrol, from the fragility of Line to the anthemic ensemble of the title track, Isla is an album whose contents reveal fresh nuances and facets on each listen.
In Paradisum 1998 by the choir's conductor is a work of real beauty of expression, with it's extended pedal points, delicate textures and strongly made contrasts, particularly that between the floating, ethereal solo soprano fragments which were sung expressively by Chris Lockley and the powerful central declamatory choral outburst.
As a sometime organist, Ruders often uses pedal points in the score, supporting rather than competing with the vocal line, and as an unabashed eclectic, he uses as well a wide range of complementary materials, from New Age minimalism to underline the hollowness of the theocratic society to quotations from the old hymn "Amazing Grace" to introduce a note of spiritual irony.