I’m a self-taught amateur composer, and whilst the standard dynamics of ppp to fff go a long way, over time I’ve wanted to use some additional instructions to indicate incremental dynamics between existing ones. For instance, if a Player 1 is playing p and Player 2 is playing pp, what would I write if I want Player 3 to play at a loudness level between the other two? (This is assuming all play the same instrument – I don’t wish to compare triangles to timpanis or anything.)
Presently this is how I use qualifiers with dynamics:
Più = “more”, so that più p = “more p”, aka “slightly quieter than p” (between p and pp)
Meno = “less”, so that meno p = “less p”, aka “slightly louder than p” (between p and mp)
To be clear, I mean for these to be non-relative instructions, so that a player would know that più p (or whatever the best way to write it) specifically means to play at a loudness between p and pp and not just “more softly relative to whatever dynamic you’re playing presently”. In other words, if a musician is playing f and they see più p, I don’t want them to play “more softly” as mf, but rather to drop down to something between p and pp. (I know this isn’t the most realistic or practical example, but it illustrates the idea.)
That said, if più and meno don’t work in the way I describe above, would using poco (“a little/slightly”) and molto (“much/very”) work better for this purpose?
EDIT: Here’s a rough & quick illustration of the sort of scenario where this would apply:
So Vln 1 has a dim. hairpin down to p and Vln 3 goes down to pp. What would I write in the space of the red question mark to indicate I want Vln 2 to start playing at a dynamic between the other two at that spot?