First page from Chopin Nocturne in C# minor

How can one tell if the crescendo is for the treble staff or the bass staff?

The excerpt above is from Chopin's Nocturne in C# minor.


3 Answers 3


It is for both.

Having said that, one of the pianist's tasks is to achieve a good balance between the right and left hands, and that balance might change during a crescendo or decrescendo. You should use your ear to decide what works best for you.


In this piece it's in between the staves, indicating both parts are crescendo/decrescendo affected.

To indicate one stave only, it goes above the treble or below the bass.


It really depends on who wrote the sheet music, but in general it should be for both hands if written between the staves. I say it depends because there is free sheet music out there that is of low quality that clearly do not have much effort put into them (wrong fingerings or lack thereof, messed up dynamics, misplaced repeats, etc.)

Best practice is to always cross-reference your music with recordings and other sheet music to compare

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