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There is a possibility of addressing this question historically... My understanding (which is possibly apocryphal) is that mf came before mp, and originally meant "normal volume". To explain, "forte" has two meanings, in the same way that the English word "loud" can both Mean "high volume" — as in "play it loud" — and Refer to the concept of loudness more ...


There isn't one. The composer must specify a dynamic at the outset. Neither mf or mp mean a great deal out of context. I guess mf is a bit nearer to "ordinary" than mp.


Related: How does one describe the level of playing that is neither piano nor forte? As I see it, you're assuming that all mp are the same, and that an mp written in a Wagnerian music drama is the same as the mp written in a Britten opera, which is the same as an mp written in a Chopin polonaise, which is the same as the mp written in a transcription to a ...

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