See this video

The audio is the orchestral version of Shosty 7, but the video shows a two piano arrangement, which is what the question is about. If you look at 1:06:17 through 1:07:46, you will see that the first piano gets told to play pp no less than four times, and the second piano four times as well. It is even sempre pp every now and then, which to me seems only to further stress that the volume should stay the same. There are also no crescendos or diminuendos in that segment.

I was working on arranging that bit for solo piano for my own purposes. Should I take over every repeated instance of pp, even when they do not seem to change the dynamics?

  • 1
    The point is that musicians' memories are limited, and adding a theoretically redundant mark costs nothing and helps them a lot. The secret to creating good performing scores is to make it easy to do follow the instructions, not just possible. Jun 14, 2019 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


It's not strictly required; that's the composer's way of saying " you may think it would be nice to {crescendo / decrescendo} here, but don't do that" .

In some of the solo parts for concerto or sonatas I've played, there are spots where one starts with a pp and may briefly swell, so the composer emphasizes that you need to return to pp (even tho' the crescendo wasn't explicitly marked).

  • Alright, that makes sense. Thank you for your answer!
    – KeizerHarm
    Jun 14, 2019 at 21:28

In the original orchestral score, there are passages in the OP's time interval that were for different groups of instruments, and therefore each would need its own dynamic marking.

It is standard practice to repeat dynamic marks in orchestral scores and parts after a player has had long rest, simply to make it clear that a change in dynamics has not been left out by accident. Both the player and the conductor need the information right in front of them - a conductor has enough things to think about, without remembering that the third horn had a ff mark 10 pages ago and it still applies, even though everybody else is playing pp!

Also, in orchestral rehearsals the playing is frequently stopped and started from different points, and you don't want to waste time while the players search out where the previous dynamic was, or start playing at the wrong dynamic level.

Most likely some of those markings got copied into the two piano arrangement along with the notes. They don't do any harm.

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