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 ?
This two-disc set also has some very deep pedal notes and again the VTF-2 showed its stuff by doing a fine job.
In fact it proved to be an accordion trio, pedal notes supplied by a tuba, giving a remarkably polished account of this masterpiece.
Finally subterranean trombone pedal notes added to a rich dazzle of colours allowing the imagination to fly in all directions.
This was created when the first pedale de combinaison, known as the "orage" on most instruments, was depressed to sound several of the lowest pedal notes.
In homage to the composer's centenary Lumsden gave a bravely swift account of Walton's Crown Imperial, demanding (and receiving) exemplary articulation of the rapidly-repeated pedal notes, and concluded with Durufle's succulent Suite - but did no one ever teach this composer when and how to stop?
Profoundest 32-foot pedal notes manage to combine gruffness with clarity, and there is no hint of distortion at either end of the sound-spectrum - and what a glorious range of colours unfolds from these resourceful registrations