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I have come across an odd dynamics marking 'fmo' whilst studying at a copy of Clementi's Sonata in Bb major, Op. 24, No. 2, dated c1790. The below image shows mvmt. 1, mm. 90–94.

mm. 90–94 from Clementi Sonata in Bb Op. 24, No. 2, mvmt. 1

Newer editions have the marking as ff, although ff is used elsewhere in this score, what is intended with this particular marking?

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  • On the page containing the "fmo", are there any other "f" symbols after the "fmo"?
    – Aaron
    Jun 7 at 7:26
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    @Aaron Yes there are, there are "f" and "ff" symbols on this same page. The score seems to use "fmo" and "pmo" interchangeably with "ff" and "pp".
    – NBoss
    Jun 7 at 8:20
  • Is this edition available online? The only 18th century editions I see on IMSLP are of #1 (and they use a different z in fz as well as a square bracket instead of a curly brace to group the staves into systems). In particular I'd be interested to see some examples of ff in this edition.
    – phoog
    Jun 7 at 10:51
  • Just to confirm, there are "f"s that occur on that page after the "fmo"?
    – Aaron
    Jun 7 at 14:02
  • This edition can be viewed online at the british library's website, and yes there are f's and ff's that occur after this marking in the score.
    – NBoss
    Jun 24 at 0:13

1 Answer 1

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It's an abbreviation for "fortissimo" – i.e., fortissimo.

It (fmo) can be found as an abbreviation for fortissimo in A Dictionary of Terms Used in Music 3rd ed., by Thomas Valentine (London: S. Chappell, 1833), page 66 (Google Books).

Image from p. 66 of "A Dictionary of Terms..." showing "fmo" for "fortissimo"

Why the Clementi score uses the abbreviations inconsistently (since a later comment mentions that ff also appears on the same page of the score) is not clear.

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  • 2
    I've seen some older scores that use fmo as a substitute for fff, so it might be they expect fmo to be even louder than ff? Jun 7 at 17:13
  • 4
    Inconsistent dynamic markings is nothing special in older music (printed or manuscript). In one J.S: Bach work that I edited piano, p. and pia were used interchangeably in the manuscript, and similarly f., forte and fort.
    – Ole V.V.
    Jun 7 at 18:55

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