digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

"Crescendo" redirects here. For other uses, see Crescendo (disambiguation).
"Fortissimo" redirects here. For other uses, see Fortissimo (disambiguation).
'Sforzando' and 'piano' dynamic markings in Beethoven's String Quartet in A major, Op. 18, No. 5, 3rd movement, variation I, m. 7–8.[1] About this sound Play 
Teacher. "And what does ff mean?"
Pupil (after mature deliberation). "Fump-Fump."
Cartoon from Punch magazine October 6, 1920

In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic (staccato, legato etc.) or functional (velocity). The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics. Dynamics are relative and do not refer to specific volume levels.

Relative loudness[edit]

The two basic dynamic indications in music are:

  • p or piano, meaning "soft".[2][3]
  • f or forte, meaning "loud".[2][4]

More subtle degrees of loudness or softness are indicated by:

  • mp, standing for mezzo-piano, meaning "moderately soft".
  • mf, standing for mezzo-forte, meaning "moderately loud".[5]

Beyond f and p, there are also

  • pp, standing for "pianissimo" and meaning "very soft".
  • ff, standing for "fortissimo" and meaning "very loud".[5]

To indicate an even softer dynamic than pianissimo, ppp is marked, with the reading "piano pianissimo" or pianissimo possibile ("softest possible"). The same is done on the loud side of the scale, with fff being "forte fortissimo" or fortissimo possibile ("loudest possible").[6][7]

Note Velocity is a MIDI measurement of the speed that the key travels from its rest position to completely depressed, with 127, the largest value in a 7-bit number, being instantaneous, and meaning as loud as possible.

Few pieces contain dynamic designations with more than three f's or p's. In Holst's The Planets, ffff occurs twice in Mars and once in Uranus often punctuated by organ and fff occurs several times throughout the work. It also appears in Heitor Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 (Prelude). The Norman Dello Joio Suite for Piano ends with a crescendo to a ffff, and Tchaikovsky indicated a bassoon solo pppppp in his Pathétique Symphony and ffff in passages of his 1812 Overture and the 2nd movement of his Fifth Symphony. Igor Stravinsky used ffff at the end of the finale of the Firebird Suite. ffff is also found in a prelude by Rachmaninoff, op.3-2. Shostakovich even went as loud as fffff in his fourth symphony. Gustav Mahler, in the third movement of his Seventh Symphony, gives the celli and basses a marking of fffff, along with a footnote directing 'pluck so hard that the strings hit the wood.' On another extreme, Carl Nielsen, in the second movement of his Symphony No. 5, marked a passage for woodwinds a diminuendo to ppppp. Another more extreme dynamic is in György Ligeti's Études No. 13 (Devil's Staircase), which has at one point a ffffff and progresses to a ffffffff. In Ligeti's Études No. 9, he uses pppppppp. In the baritone passage Era la notte from his opera Otello, Verdi uses pppp. The Florentiner Marsch by Julius Fučík has ffffffff (f8) and later fffffffffffffffffffffffff (f24). Steane (1971) and others suggest that such markings are in reality a strong reminder to less than subtle singers to at least sing softly rather than an instruction to the singer actually to attempt a pppp. Usually, the extra f's or 'ps written reinforce either ff or pp, and are usually only for dramatic effect.

In music for marching band, passages louder than fff are sometimes colloquially referred to by descriptive terms such as "blastissimo"[citation needed].

Dynamic indications are relative, not absolute. mp does not indicate an exact level of volume, it merely indicates that music in a passage so marked should be a little louder than p and a little quieter than mf. Interpretations of dynamic levels are left mostly to the performer; in the Barber Piano Nocturne, a phrase beginning pp is followed by a diminuendo leading to a mp marking. Another instance of performer's discretion in this piece occurs when the left hand is shown to crescendo to a f, and then immediately after marked p while the right hand plays the melody f. It has been speculated that this is used simply to remind the performer to keep the melody louder than the harmonic line in the left hand. In some music notation programs, there are default MIDI key velocity values associated with these indications, but more sophisticated programs allow users to change these as needed. Apple's Logic Pro 9 uses the following values: ppp (16), pp (32), p (48), mp (64), mf (80), f (96), ff (112), fff (127).[8]

Sudden changes and accented notes[edit]

Sudden changes in dynamics may be notated by adding the word subito (Italian for suddenly) as a prefix or suffix to the new dynamic notation. Accented notes (notes to emphasize or play louder compared to surrounding notes) can be notated sforzando, sforzato, forzando or forzato (abbreviated sfz or fz) ("forcing" or "forced"). One particularly noteworthy use of forzando is in the second movement of Joseph Haydn's Surprise Symphony.

Accents can also be notated using the sign >, placed above or below the head of the note. The > sign indicates an accent only, and is neither related to nor derived from the sign for diminuendo, even though the signs are of a roughly similar shape.

Sforzando (sfz) notation

Sforzando (or sforzato or forzando or forzato), indicates a forceful accent and is abbreviated as sf, sfz or fz. There is often confusion surrounding these markings and whether or not there is any difference in the degree of accent. However all of these indicate the same expression, depending on the dynamic level,[9] and the extent of the Sforzando is determined purely by the performer.

The fortepiano notation fp indicates a forte followed immediately by piano. Sforzando piano (sfzp or sfp) indicates a sforzando followed immediately by piano; in general, any two dynamic markings may be treated similarly.

Rinforzando, rfz or rf (literally "reinforcing") indicates that several notes, or a short phrase, are to be emphasized.

Gradual changes[edit]

"Crescendo" redirects here. For other uses, see Crescendo (disambiguation).

In addition, two Italian words are used to show gradual changes in volume. Crescendo, abbreviated cresc., translates as "gradually becoming louder", and diminuendo, abbreviated dim., means "gradually becoming softer". The alternate decrescendo, abbreviated to decresc., also means "gradually becoming softer". Signs sometimes referred to as "hairpins"[10] are also used to stand for these words (See image). If the lines are joined at the left, then the indication is to get louder; if they join at the right, the indication is to get softer. The following notation indicates music starting moderately loud, then becoming gradually louder and then gradually quieter:

Music hairpins.svg

Hairpins are usually written below the staff, but are sometimes found above, especially in music for singers or in music with multiple melody lines being played by a single performer. They tend to be used for dynamic changes over a relatively short space of time, while cresc., decresc. and dim. are generally used for dynamic changes over a longer period. For long stretches, dashes are used to extend the words so that it is clear over what time the event should occur. It is not necessary to draw dynamic marks over more than a few bars, whereas word directions can remain in force for pages if necessary.

For greater changes in dynamics, cresc. molto and dim. molto are often used, where the molto means much. Similarly, for slow changes cresc. poco a poco and dim. poco a poco are used, where poco a poco translates as little by little.[11]

A good example of a piece that uses both gradual changes and quick changes in dynamics is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's fantasy overture, Romeo and Juliet.

Words/phrases indicating changes of dynamics[edit]

"Diminuendo" redirects here. For the album by Lowlife, see Diminuendo (album). For the thoroughbred racehorse, see Diminuendo (horse).

(In Italian unless otherwise indicated)

  • al niente: to nothing; fade to silence. Sometimes written as Music-diminuendo.svgn
  • calando: decreasing; becoming smaller
  • calmando: becoming calmer
  • crescendo: becoming louder
  • dal niente: from nothing; out of silence
  • decrescendo or diminuendo: becoming softer
  • fortepiano: loud and then immediately soft
  • fortissimo piano: very loud and then immediately soft
  • in rilievo: in relief (French en dehors: outwards); indicates that a particular instrument or part is to play louder than the others so as to stand out over the ensemble. In the circle of Arnold Schoenberg, this expression had been replaced by the letter "H" (for German, "Hauptstimme"), with an added horizontal line at the letter's top, pointing to the right, the end of this passage to be marked by the symbol " ".
  • perdendo or perdendosi: losing volume, fading into nothing, dying away
  • mezzoforte piano: moderately strong and then immediately soft
  • morendo: dying away (may also indicate a tempo change)
  • marcato: stressed, pronounced
  • pianoforte: soft and then immediately strong
  • sforzando piano: with marked emphasis, then immediately soft
  • sotto voce: in an undertone (whispered or unvoiced)[12]
  • smorzando: becoming muffled or toned down

History[edit]

The Renaissance composer Giovanni Gabrieli was one of the first to indicate dynamics in music notation, but dynamics were used sparingly by composers until the late 18th century. Bach used some dynamic terms, including forte, piano, più piano, and pianissimo (although written out as full words), and in some cases it may be that ppp was considered to mean pianissimo in this period.

The fact that the harpsichord could play only "terraced" dynamics (either loud or soft, but not in between), and the fact that composers of the period did not mark gradations of dynamics in their scores, has led to the "somewhat misleading suggestion that baroque dynamics are 'terraced dynamics'," writes Robert Donington.[13] In fact, baroque musicians constantly varied dynamics. "Light and shade must be constantly introduced... by the incessant interchange of loud and soft," wrote Johann Joachim Quantz in 1752.[14] In addition to this, the harpsichord in fact becomes louder or softer depending on the thickness of the musical texture (four notes are louder than two). This allowed composers such as Bach to build dynamics directly into their compositions, without the need for notation.

In the Romantic period, composers greatly expanded the vocabulary for describing dynamic changes in their scores. Where Haydn and Mozart specified six levels (pp to ff), Beethoven used also ppp and fff (the latter less frequently), and Brahms used a range of terms to describe the dynamics he wanted. In the slow movement of the trio for violin, waldhorn and piano (Opus 40), he uses the expressions ppp, molto piano, and quasi niente to express different qualities of quiet.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.12. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  2. ^ a b Randel, Don Michael (2003). The Harvard Dictionary of Music (4th ed.). Cambridge, MA, US: Harvard University Press Reference Library. 
  3. ^ "Piano". Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  4. ^ "Forte". Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  5. ^ a b "Dynamics". Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  6. ^ Treblis Software, "Dynamics"
  7. ^ The musical cyclopedia: or, The principles of music considered as a science by William Smith Porter and Lowell Mason (p. 132 "Fortissimo or ff very loud and fff as loud as possible ...")
  8. ^ Apple Logic Pro 9 User Manual for MIDI Step Input Recording. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  9. ^ .Gerou, Tom and.Linda Lusk (1996). Essential Dictionary of Music Notation: The Most Practical and Concise Source for Music Notation. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Music Publishing. pp. 37–38. ISBN 978-0882847306. 
  10. ^ Kennedy, Michael and Bourne, Joyce: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music (1996) → Hairpins
  11. ^ "Poco a poco - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  12. ^ "Sotto voce" in Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1946, New York: The MacMillan Company)
  13. ^ Donington, Robert: Baroque Music (1982) WW Norton, 1982. ISBN 0-393-30052-8. Page 32.
  14. ^ Donington, Robert: Baroque Music (1982) WW Norton, 1982. ISBN 0-393-30052-8. Page 33.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamics_(music) — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
776815 videos foundNext > 

Mr. Greg's Musical Madness - Dynamics

Featured on PBA-30, Atlanta's PBS Station, and featured on the GA PBS KIDS! website, Parents' Choice Award-Winning singer/songwriter, Greg Roth (Mr. Greg) an...

Forte Piano - MusicK8.com

Forte Piano, by Teresa Jennings, is another in her series of songs that teach musical concepts. This fun music video, animated by Bill Belongia, really reinf...

"Dynamics" Episode #13 Preview - Quaver's Marvelous World of Music

Quaver confronts a dynamically challenged heavy metal guitar player with his dynameter, as well as adding dynamics to a boring musical score to bring alive i...

How to Music Theory: Music Theory - Dynamics

See the original video here: http://www.showme.com/sh/?h=SRL68jw Created by San Kim, Bachelor's degree in Music from Columbia University, ex-musician, and fo...

A Novice's Guide to Music- Dynamics (Including: "The World Adventure" from Sonic Unleashed)

The Novice's Guide To Music This is the First level of my guides. Hence "Novice". After I complete the Novice Guides, we will start into the Intermediate and...

'The Loudness War' Dynamics of music

The Loudness War Dynamics of music. Over the last twenty years the loudness of popular recorded music has dramatically increased, with increasing demand from...

Music Theory Lesson - Dynamics

Hi, in this lesson we all sit by the fire and learn about... the terms that describe volume of a musical piece and the dynamics (movement) between loudness a...

The Dynamics - Music

track #9 from the wonderful album Version Excursions - FUNKY!

Teach Dynamics In Music To Kids

Dance Dynamics Music Video 2013

This is what happens when you put 7 dance team members in a basement. Dance Dynamics. Eagle River, Alaska.

776815 videos foundNext > 

We're sorry, but there's no news about "Dynamics (music)" right now.

Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Dynamics (music)

You can talk about Dynamics (music) with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!