I remember being told by a teacher to change the pedal every time a chord changed. That was very good, basic advice.
When playing traditional gospel songs (ie: Power in the Blood), you will have your three basic/primary chords: I, IV, and V.
If you apply the basic principle of pedaling for every chord change, you won’t pedal overly much.
But if you add anything remotely extra, like any stepwise in either hand or even changing bass octaves within a measure (like moving from Bb to D on a Bb chord), you will want to lift the pedal more often.
I always try to listen for any “muddling” and negate that by lifting the pedal more frequently.
Any stepwise I usually “flutter” the pedal or “half-pedal”. Just a quick lift to clear the air.
Overall, I would rather have less pedal when playing hymns. If they are a little dry that’s ok. A heavy pedal just causes muddles and blurs everything together.
Oh, and while I’m on the subject, basic pedaling technique includes the following:
1. Heel on the floor (always, at all times)
2. Play then pedal (have the pedal up when playing the first note(s) of a new chord, then put the pedal down)
Anything you would add? I love hearing your comments!
This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!