Podcast Episode 21: Playing Pedal Point and Pedal Tones

Podcast Episode 21: Playing Pedal Point and Pedal Tones

Podcast Episode 21: Playing Pedal Point and Pedal Tones

A pedal point in music is a sustained or repeated note sounded against chord progressions and melodies. Pedal points are also called pedal tones and simply, pedals. The term originates from organ music where the player sustains a low tonic or dominant pitch with the foot pedals allowing them to easily play chords and melodies above this note on the keyboards.

Pedal points can add new chord tones to basic chord changes. This technique can help make a harmonically richer sound and musical texture. It can also create harmonic tension that increases a chord progression’s push back to the tonic, lending a sense of excitement to the music. Sometimes the pedalled notes are added to a chord’s shape; sometimes the pedals are played by other instruments. Bass players will often pedal the tonic or dominant pitch, or play a melodic figuration that supports a set of chord changes.

The pedal point technique is a signature feature of both U2 and Blink 182. Learn about some of their songs plus others in my guitar theory podcast episode 21.

Guitar Theory podcast at iTunes

This information comes from the book Fretboard Theory Volume II Chapter 10. https://www.guitarmusictheory.com/fretboard-theory/fretboard-theory-volume-ii/


Comments ( 2 )

  • Matt Valbusa

    This was really great. I had purchased the book earlier, but its been sitting on the shelf, while I have been working with other materials. However as soon as I started to listen to the Podcast and heard your first piece- my ears perked up as it sounded like something from ZZ Top (my altime favorite band). So I pulled the book off the shelf, flipped to Chap. 10 and followed on. Super helpful. Like to see a video based on the book and like this podcast. That would be the complete package.
    Any chance of getting the tab to your opening music for this Podcast??? Sounded like the ZZ Top piece.
    Many thanks

  • The opening example was a bit of