[Off topic]

Urs Liska-3 wrote
> The sustain pedal of a real (grand) piano is nothing like the 
> MIDI pedal of the same name, but much closer to the MIDI volume pedal 
> ;-) 

To spare the honour of MIDI, half-damper pedals do exist and they act as a
continuous controller. Whether the sound engine used (resp. the sound) can
handle it or not is a different story...

Urs Liska-3 wrote
> The exact pedal position is a function of the imagined sound, the 
> characteristic of the instrument and the acoustics of the room. And it 
> is (should be) only partially controlled consciously, mostly it is a 
> subconscious feeback loop between the ears and the muscles.
> […]

… and, in my opinion, the sustain pedal is one of the most underrated
elements of the piano, it deserves much more attention than it often gets,
at least in non-professional environments.
The subtleties of tastefully dosed damping are an essential part of piano

Urs Liska-3 wrote
> I recall that for example Claudio Arrau went to great length arguing that 
> the distribution of hands is a means of expression and that even if 
> (well, actually *because*) it imposes additional demands on the player 
> it should be faithfully executed. I found this to be a very interesting 
> thought, although I didn't adopt it personally.

A very interesting thought, indeed, I think this also depends on the music
to a certain extent and it is one of the great obstacles and a reason why
one needs a good teacher when learning the piano:
On the one hand (pun!), people are different and should pick the
fingering/hand distribution that suits them best. 
On the other hand, for the learning, everything new feels awkward it needs a
lot of practice to get used to it and you must not duck away from the
So, probably, mostly in educational drills/études, one had better stick to
the instructions, but later, in real life, there is no reason why
experienced pianists should not do it the way it works best for them.

Even the greatest pianists/composers of all time could not always feel their
way into other people, and even the greatest pianists often do things
unconsciously (due to talent or genius) without being able to pass it on to
their disciples. :)

All the best,

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