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Dynamics February 17, 2009

Posted by mumudsokay in Music.
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Dynamics is another word for how loud or soft to play. The base words to
remember for dynamics are piano (quiet) and forte (loud). All of the
dynamic markings are variations of these two words. You’ll see what I
mean. Often in music, you’ll see an abbreviation of the dynamic, shown
in the following chart in parentheses.

DYNAMIC MARKING MEANING

pianissimo (pp) very quiet
piano (p) quiet
mezzo piano (mp) medium quiet
mezzo forte (mf) medium loud
forte (f) loud
fortissimo (ff) very loud

Grow Gradually
In the Romantic era—around 1800—composers began writing music
which contained sections that would grow gradually louder or softer.
Up until this time, dynamic changes were usually abrupt. This new
technique needed a name. What did they do? They used Italian of
course.
To grow gradually louder is to crescendo (kra-SHEN-doe), and to
grow gradually softer is to decrescendo (DEE-kra-SHEN-doe). Below
are the symbols used to show this

Another term for becoming gradually quieter is diminuendo (dim.).

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