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Just to add some working example to the thread, here goes Prokofiev op. 97, no. 10. An adagio from the Cinderella suite for piano. The complete score for this adagio is available here, page 29. In the first two bars, there are specifications for both staves (forte), and for the upper (piano) and lower (mezzoforte) staves only.


You don't have to state a dynamic immediately before the crescendo unless you want a change there. You DO need to state a dynamic after it though, otherwise how does the player know whether it's a crescendo to mp, f or ff? Computer scoring programs, and the tricks required to get expressive playback out of them, have encouraged a generation of composers to ...


This is obviously not an answer (can't post photos in comments), but here is an example: from Debussy's Des pas sur la neige, bar 1:


I agree with Pete on this one: my German/Russian piano teacher would often talk about how composers of the 19th century wanted to treat the piano as if it were not a percussion instrument, and how one of the most difficult but most important things about piano playing is to produce the illusion that the instrument can act like a wind or string instrument, ...


There's at least one case of these "impossible" crescendi that definitely isn't a mistake: at the end of the Liszt Sonata, the fifth- to third-last chords are marked pp; crescendo; ppp. The only possible realization is through gesture, and certainly Liszt was aware of this.


There are several situations where this notation makes sense in piano music. There is one note in one part, for example the melody, but several notes in the accompaniment (written on the other staff). There is a "symmetrical" arrangement of a two hairpins showing a crescendo and a decrescendo. One of the hairpins is over a single note, the other over ...


I agree with Tab's comment — this is probably an artifact from re-arranging the piece from a wind/other instrument that could indeed alter the volume at will over the duration of a single note. It could also be a poor way of indicating a transition from one volume to another, with the note being a single intermediary volume. However, if the marking ...

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