Jul. 2, 2016

Heel Or Toe, Part II

(con't from Part I)
Organ music with an independent pedal part is written on 3 staves with the right hand notated on the top staff, the left hand on the middle staff, and the bottom staff is reserved for the pedal line taken by the feet.
In the days of Bach and even earlier, polyphonic organ music was often notated on 2 staves only, where the performer was free to employ either the left hand or the pedals to supply the bass line.
Marks are placed by editors, either above or below the pedal notes written on the bottom staff in the score, to indicate whether a heel or toe is to be used; a "point" sign (^) indicates toe, and a half circle (U) indicates heel; a small circle (O) might also be used to indicate heels.
When the ^ and U signs are written above the pedal note, it indicates that the right foot is to be employed; when written below the pedal note, the left foot is indicated (photo).
When only 2 staves are used to notate the music, the pedaling indications are written either above or below the bass line in the score (or above the tenor line when the bass and tenor are close together).
Organists will recognize this excerpt from Bach's organ Toccata in F as an example; it illustrates how the editor's pedal markings for heels and toes in this edition were used to indicate how this passage is to be performed using both feet with minimum motion, but in a uniform legato which employs the heels [See blog, Touch, Part I].
For playing Bach and all other music from before 1800, toes only pedaling using articulate legato is now considered the only stylistically appropriate way to perform this type of music.
Using this authentic historical style of playing from Bach's day, this passage would be performed in an articulate legato with alternating toes only.
(con't in Part III).