A brass player I know plays fp by applying it to a single note. For the piano this is not possible. Reading a recent question and some comments below it, I wonder: are there examples of fp in music pieces for the piano?

I can‘t remember that I have seen this dynamic sign in piano music.

Maybe it could arise in a fast movement (e.g. a passage of 16th notes)?

  • 3
    Does this answer your question? What does *fp* mean in terms of volume to play? Jan 27, 2020 at 21:15
  • Ok, yes, this is the answer. It was clear to me that it can‘t be played different than described (while brass- wind- and string Instruments can play fp on a single note.) But I wondered whether there are piano pieces requesting this dynamic assignment. But the other question I‘m referring to doesn‘t answer mine. I‘m not asking how to play fp but my question was: „are there examples of written music for pianos requiring a fortepiano.“ Jan 27, 2020 at 21:31
  • 1
    I've attempted to bring your question into clearer focus -- but please roll back any or all edits that don't feel true to what you were trying to ask. Jan 28, 2020 at 1:21
  • As there are no other examples yet, I have copied the intro of the "pathetique" to show I am not asking how to play it but I am asking for examples in music literature. that's why I have edited also the titel of my question now. Jan 28, 2020 at 15:20
  • It's either a duplicate or off topic . Finding peices of music that fit a category is off topic.
    – Dom
    Jan 30, 2020 at 5:35

3 Answers 3


I think 'fp' is sort of possible on piano. Fp is a loud sound very quickly going quiet. On brass and stringed instruments it's very easy to play.

On piano, I play a loud note or chord, staccato often, and then straight after lifting fingers off the keys, press the sustain pedal fully - before the sound has left the piano. It 'catches' the note/s with a kind of echo. So the overall effect is a loud sound immediately going to a quiet one, on the same note/s. That's as close to fp as a piano can produce. Fp refers to one note/chord, rather than a note/chord and its following note/chord. Never found a recognised term for the action though.

  • 1
    I remember hearing this effect specified by Stockhausen in one of his piano pieces but don't know how he notated it. But it's not a real fp as the 'caught' notes have a completely different timbre from the struck note. More of a special effect. You can sort of get an fp by putting the right pedal down, striking the notes and while holding it with the finger, releasing the pedal. This removes the resonances, but it's more like a fmf than an fp if you see what I mean.
    – Peter
    Jan 28, 2020 at 10:15
  • @ Tim: Wouldn't this rather go in direction of harmonics? And could this fit for play e.g. the opening of the pathetique? Anyway, it might be an interesting and nice effect, and your answer is an alternativ answer to the others like the original link above and this one here music.stackexchange.com/questions/58272/… .... +1 Jan 28, 2020 at 15:28
  • @AlbrechtHügli “would this fit (...)” that’s a matter of taste. Is this what Beethoven intended? No.
    – 11684
    Jan 28, 2020 at 17:22

Yes, it exists:


and it has to be played as it was suggested in the other question:

Forte! next chord subito piano:

enter image description here


'fp' on a single note is, as you say, meaningless for piano. Though it's not unknown for composers to write 'impossible' instructions like cresc. or dim. on a long note. They indicate a musical intention rather than an actual technique. Some would say it's possible to convey it in performance. Maybe...

'f' on one note, 'p' on the next is possible of course. Then there's 'f-p', used on a repeated passage to indicate forte first time through, piano second.

I'm sure it's also possible to find examples in the literature of wrongly-used or misprinted dynamics.

  • Have you seen the example in my answer? „La Pathétique“ by Beethoven :) What a surprise! Jan 27, 2020 at 21:46
  • 1
    Indeed! Both the fp and the sf>p. Beethoven thinking orchestrally. And we know EXACTLY what he wants!
    – Laurence
    Jan 27, 2020 at 21:51

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