Dynamics refers to the volume that a sound or note. The ax is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to suggest dynamics. Dynamics space relative and also do no refer to details volume levels.

You are watching: The volume of this excerpt is an example of decrescendo.

Traditionally, dynamic markings are based upon Italian words, although over there is nothing dorn with merely writing things prefer “quietly” or “louder” in the music. Forte way loud and also piano way soft. The instrument typically called the “piano,” by the way, to be originally called a “pianoforte” because it might play dynamics, unlike earlier popular keyboard instruments such as the harpsichord and spinet.

Dynamic Markings

The key dynamic level are:

p or piano, which means “soft”f or forte, i beg your pardon means “loud”

More subtle degrees of loudness or soft are suggested by:

mp, standing because that mezzo-piano, i m sorry means “moderately soft”mf, standing because that mezzo-forte, i m sorry means “moderately loud”

Beyond f and also p, there are also:

pp, which stands for pianissimo and also means “very soft”ff, which stands for fortissimo and means “very loud”

Listen: Dynamic changes and Markings

Listen come the dynamic transforms in W.A. Mozart’s Overture to The marriage of Figaro. Look for the dynamic markings (pppff, and p) in the score prior to you begin listening.

Dynamic Changes

To gradually change the dynamics, composers use crescendo and diminuendo (also decrescendo).

Listen: Dynamic Changes

Listen to the dynamic alters in Ludwig valve Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, 3rd Movement, Menuetto, together with the score.



Common Accents

A composer might want a particular note to be louder than all the remainder or might want the very beginning the a keep in mind to it is in loudest. Accents room markings the are supplied to suggest these particularly strong-sounding notes. There space a couple of different varieties of written accents, but, choose dynamics, the proper method to execute a provided accent additionally depends on the instrument play it, as well as the layout and duration of the music. Some accents may also be played by make the note much longer or much shorter than the other notes, in enhancement to, or even instead the being, louder.

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The specific performance that each kind of accent depends on the instrument and also the layout and duration of the music, however the sforzando- and fortepiano-type accents room usually louder and also longer, and more likely to be provided in a lengthy note that starts loudly and then all of sudden gets much softer. Caret-type accents are an ext likely come be offered to mark shorter notes that have to be stronger than unmarked notes.