In some musical dimensions, termini and notation for continuous changes are common:
- Melodic (pitch): glissando, portamento, doit, fall
- Dynamic (volume): crescendo, diminuendo (alias decrescendo)
- Agogic (tempo): accelerando, rallentando (alias ritardando)
1st question: Do more of these terms for specific continuous changes exist?
They are useful by specificity. Once the termini are learned as vocabulary, they can easily be read and understood, without wasting much thought on them. Yet, specificity also limits usefulness. New terms would need to be defined and learned for each dimension, where smooth changes are possible. E.g. a smooth transition in articulation from staccato to legato; or contiuous variations in timbre (e.g. by shifting the point of attack on stringed instruments). In this situation, inflation of terminology seems undesirable. Especially since these new terms would be used rarely anyway. Instead, a generalized indication would be helpful.
2nd question: Is there an established generalized indication for continuous change?
almost self-answer: But this generalization is constructed – I do not know wheter it is established as notation – and potentially etymologically incorrect (Music-Italian pidgin).
The lengthy formulations poco a poco più
*, poco a poco meno
*, with the placeholder
*, might be the correct Italian musical terms.
The severe shortcoming of these terms is the needless freedom of choice, which renders them unpractical.
poco a poco più forte and poco a poco meno piano would both mean increasing volume.
A flip of the direction (più–meno) alongside a negation of the argument (forte–piano) leaves the statement invariant.
Therefore these terms burden the readers by requiring too much thought when converting the words into meaning.
Moreover "poco a poco" is a relatively large protion of the text to only convey the information of continuous change. And it is not easy to abbreviate.
A clear, positive definiton is necessary; preferrably one which allows for abbreviation.
* have same notion of continuity? Is it correct as a prefix, or should it be postfix,
* graduale? Is the abbreviation grad. conflicting with other established terms?
cresc. = poco a poco più forte = grad. f ?
rall. = poco a poco meno rapido = graduale lento ?
I do not seek to replace crescendo etc. with a generalized construction. I am searching for a way to consistently construct pendants of crescendo etc. in dimensions, where the respective terms have not been coined so far. I only chose dynamics as an example here to demonstrate, how the generalization would work in other dimensions. Of course a consistent generalization must work as well in all dimensions eventually.