How Musicians Use Pedal Points In Their Music

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Some tricks in music become evergreen… that is, even if they have been invented centuries ago, we still use them today and they still sound good and – surprisingly – fresh.

The pedal point is one of these tricks. It’s been invented (at least) in the Baroque era (if not even earlier), it was old news at the time of Bach… and yet we are still writing songs with it, and these songs still sound original!

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(Ever heard of that song "Wonderwall"? Yup, it uses a pedal point…)

To make things even more interesting, there are several kinds of pedal points too (more on this below)… but what is a pedal point exactly?

A pedal point is simply playing the same note while the chord changes multiple time. The note and the chord ‘contrast’ with each other in interesting ways, and this create an effect that it’s simply irresistible.

Pedal points are used in all styles of music, so in the video below I made it a point (pun intended) to take examples from a wide variety of styles:

If after seeing these examples you also want a more in-depth explanation of how to use pedal points not only in chord progressions but also in lead guitar, then check out also this lesson here:

Enjoy!

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and teacher with a passion for Music Theory applied to Guitar. To know more do not forget to subscribe to his youtube channel.

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