Definition of una corda in English:

una corda

Pronunciation /ˌo͞onə ˈkôrdə/ /ˌunə ˈkɔrdə/


  • (especially as a direction) using the soft pedal on a piano.

    ‘the slow movement of the variations do not have to be played una corda’
    • ‘It seems doubtful whether this is an acoustically defensible explanation; in any case, in many pianos nowadays the una corda pedal strikes all three strings, though with a softer part of the hammer.’
    • ‘Indeed, the more percussive Graf, but still the more intimate in its true una corda shades, seemed to have influenced Battersby's approach to the piece on the Steinway.’
    • ‘The instrument is available with four pedals, the original disposition of the Yale piano: damping, moderator, bassoon, and una corda.’
    • ‘What is the notation for the una corda pedal in music?’
    • ‘I was wondering if uprights with una corda pedal are being manufactured nowadays.’


  • Performed using the soft pedal on a piano.

    • ‘there are stupendous moments, such as the una corda passage’


  • A device in a grand piano that shifts the mechanism slightly to one side when the soft pedal is depressed, so that the hammers do not strike all of the strings when sounding each note and the tone is therefore quieter.

    ‘Later pianos, after it became normal to have three strings for each note instead of two, sometimes had a due corde pedal as well as an una corda, allowing greater variety of tone.’
    • ‘Other techniques include the una corda, similar in principle to the harpsichord's lute stop.’
    • ‘In England, the only pedals generally used were the una corda and sustaining.’
    • ‘Americas Backers was probably the first to use the sustaining pedal and the una corda,’
    • ‘By the time of the bigger 6.5-octave pianos circa 1820, the geometry of the stringband and the hammer size made it almost impossible to achieve a true una corda on the Viennese instruments, so eventually the ‘extra’ shift pedal was dropped, but unfortunately the name ‘una corda’ was kept.’
    • ‘I think, that the change in timbre when using una corda is maybe not enough perceivable.’


Italian, literally ‘one string’.