- Paul M. Walker
A long, sustained note held through many bars while movement continues in other parts of the piece. The expression is derived from organ playing, where the technique exploits the organist’s ability to hold down a low pedal note indefinitely while playing above it with the hands. ‘Pedal point’ generally refers to a low bass note, but it may also be applied to a long-held note elsewhere in the texture. The note most commonly note chosen for pedal point is the dominant, but the tonic is also sometimes used. As is to be expected, examples abound in organ music. One of the most celebrated outside that idiom is the low D held throughout the fugue ‘Die Gerechten Seelen sind in Gottes Hand’, which concludes the third movement of Brahms’s ...