[It., one string]
In piano music, this directive indicates that the soft pedal is to be used. The words "una corda" are shown under the bass staff where the soft pedal is to be depressed and the words "tre corde" (three strings) under the bass staff where the soft pedal is to be released.
Una corda is the Italian term meaning "one string", and is used because depressing the soft pedal shifts the entire hammer mechanism to the left so the hammer only hits two of the three strings in the upper register of the piano and one string in the bass register. The effect is a softer sound since fewer strings are being struck.
More about Piano Pedal Markings
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