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pedal on one note?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bobalu, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. bobalu

    bobalu Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    What does "pedal on one note" mean? (aside from the obvious of playing one note).
  2. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    It means you just play one note in the bass, while chords move on top of it.
  3. In case you are interested I believe the term comes from the organ. When you are playing one of those huge church organs, along with the keyboard(s) there are also a number of large pedals by your feet. Pressing down one of these gives a sustained drone or "pedal note". If you listen most church music you will here these pedal notes in the background, often going on for 16 bars without changing. In a more modern context it is used to refer to any sustained or repeated note over which a melody is played.

    In case you're not interested, I appologise for wasting your time.

  4. And all this time I thought it had something to do with the Tour De France. :bag:
  5. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    With an upright bass, you can bow it. For pedal notes on a bass guitar, what I do is very lightly flick the string with the tips of my fingers, very fast. Kind of a fluttering against the string.
  6. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Well, all these posts are interesting, but practically speaking, if you're playing jazz or rock & roll or R&B or something, you probably just want to play quarter notes, or whatever rythm you're playing the rest of the tune, except you just play the pedal, instead of the roots of the changes.

    In jazz, if you pedal a note, a lot of times people will play on two and four, instead of every beat. This creates a lot of tension.

  7. To add, usually whole notes are used and you wouldn't walk, you'd use that pedal point as the rhythm device or pulse. In fact the pedal tone itself is typically being used in compositions as the tension device itself. But you can as mentioned above play on offbeats, it's cool to use in some progressions like the typical ii V jazz progression. The fifth under the ii chord makes it a Vsus which is pretty dissonant but is just down right pleasurable when used right (it resolves in next chord change).
    But usually use it to emphasize the dominant so at the end it resolves naturally but there's no 'right' answer to doing this, just different applications. So anyways, whichever you choose, after using the pedal tone for a while or so you can release the tension and everyone's happy.
  8. barthanatos

    barthanatos Insert witty comment here

    Feb 8, 2006
    South Carolina
    Sounds like an appropriate use for an EBow
  9. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Walking would imply motion in the bass. But I think (just talking about jazz here) that there's probably a lot more examples of bassists playing quarter notes over a pedal rather than whole notes. Maybe whole notes if it's part of an introduction, but I think in most instances the bassist would continue to play in four, or in two either on the downbeats or the backbeats.

  10. Sorry if my post was confusing. I wasn't correcting anything of yours; I was just adding an analysis of what it does (as in it's a pulse and adds tension a lot of times) to your definition of what it is (the pedal point). The second part dealing with jazz was just a specific example of its use, I wasn't trying to say it's always whole notes in jazz. Probably bringing up the word "walk" in the first part made the post confusing.

    But to add to your most recent post I totally agree and that's a great rule of thumb for faster upright jazz where the sustain is less on upright and pulse is faster (a generalization of course). Now slow the pulse down as in a ballad or add an electric bass in where the EB can maintain a strong presence, and you'll find the quarter note thing to be less true (a generalization of course). "but then again, you can do whatever the hell you want". Cheers.
  11. Peddling is basicly a little phrase played really fast over and over again. So peddling on one not is probobly just rapidly playing on one note.
  12. There is some misinformation in this thread.. Not trying to be cocky, just trying to give a straight answer.

    Pedaling on a note is holding that ONE note while a chord progression happens on top of it, or just one chord on top of it. An example of a pedal is as follows: Say you take the jazz tune "Impressions" which goes from Dm to Eb. I can a walking line on top of the Dm. Or, I can Pedal on it which means I would hold the root note (D in this case) for the bars that the Dm is on. The rhythm of the pedal isnt important. You can hit it on 1, 2 & 4, 1 and the and of 2, or anything else as long has you hold on to the note. There is not "technique" for pedaling other than plucking the note.

    Pedaling creates musical tension and allows the soloist to "open up" and go crazy on top of the chords.

    There are also examples where there is a moving chord progression but you can still pedal on one note but thats going into another theory lesson.
  13. bobalu

    bobalu Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    Thank-you all!!!!!!!! I didn't know if it referred to a specific technique to "hold" the note or not. I also thought about the organ-bass pedal-drone type note and wondered if that's where it came from.

    You answered my question thoroughly! I'm liking the bass more and more and really appreciate this forum as a source of information AND that you treat people here with respect, even if they used to play guitar!:smug:

  14. DLM


    May 25, 2004
    Aside from playing one note, I though pedaling also assumed a type of rhythm. For instance, when someone told me to pedal on the E string, I started playing eighth notes on the E string. I guess I was thinking that pedaling a note is similar to the rhythm of riding a bike in that there is a constant rhythm to it such as eight notes, quarter notes, etc. (in addition to playing that one note).

    Is this an incorrrect understanding?
  15. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    There's a post earlier in this thread that correctly notes that the term came from the world of pipe organ playing.

    The musical context and your taste as a player will determine whether or not this is a long sustained note or has some kind of rhythm involved with it.

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