Questions tagged [dynamics]

For questions related to the intensity, or loudness, of sound.

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34
votes
4answers
67k views

How necessary is a USB Audio Interface?

I'm currently recording songs on my computer and the quality of my microphone is awful and the microphone is very quiet. That doesn't surprise me, because it's a 20$ karaoke microphone... I got into a ...
22
votes
5answers
7k views

Why crescendo or decrescendo over one long note in piano music?

That C-chord on measure 6 of the system, from Grieg Piano Sonata, Op. 7, IV. Finale - Molto Allegro: Why couldn't they just mark that D7 chord with a p? That G chord is marked pp. Once you press a ...
18
votes
4answers
8k views

Tell pianist to play entire piece softly, except one part

I've composed a short melody, however I'm very new to all this piano theory, how would I tell the pianist to play the entire piece softly? (mp, not pp), and how would I write exceptions for specific ...
18
votes
9answers
19k views

Playing one hand loudly and the other quietly

I'm currently learning to play Comptine d'un autre été from Yann Tiersen (Sheet music(pdf) - youtube video) and when I play starting from the 13th bar I barely hear the notes my right hand plays. ...
17
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4answers
26k views

What are the feelings & emotions behind chords?

I studied some different books on Music Theory and all were too much scientific and definitely very helpful to some point. Now that I have started writing some songs, I feel I need to know more ...
15
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4answers
4k views

How do pianists reach extremely loud dynamics?

This question of mine started when I heard the piano score of Mars by Gustav Holst. Here is the piano score: How do the pianists even reach triple f? I myself have ...
15
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6answers
3k views

Techniques for "Dynamics" with Distortion on Electric Guitar

Recently I went to a workshop on electric guitar. Between several subjects, the presenter talked about dynamics with distortion. He said that you can use palm mute to create the effect of a "growing ...
14
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3answers
3k views

Dynamic marking "f-p"

I know that: The dynamic marking f means forte, or play loud. And that p means piano, or play soft. The dynamic marking fp means fortepiano, or play this note loud, and play the following notes ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the name, and symbol, for the "normal" dynamic volume? (between mp and mf)

Let's say I'm singing and there's no dynamic mark at the start. I'll sing at my default "normal" volume. Then there's an mp so i get a bit quieter. If there had been an mf I would have got a bit ...
11
votes
5answers
17k views

Can I make Electronic Drums even more quiet?

I live in an apartment and recently bought a Yamaha dtxtreme III. Luckily I live on the bottom floor and have no one under me, however the drums are facing a wall that I share with my neighbors. The ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Duration of staccato

Is there such a thing as a duration of a staccato note? I mean if you play a whole note staccato and an eighth note staccato, should the duration be the same? What if somebody needs an extra short ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

What staff affected by a dynamic mark?

If I see in piano sheet music, say, "mp" mark between bass and treble staves, which staff should be played in "mp" dynamics? Reverse question: if I want to apply a dynamic mark to a specified staff, ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Dynamics using m, r, s, and z. What do they mean?

I've seen these dynamics that are notated with: 'm', 'r', 's', and 'z', but I don't know what the mean. I might have an idea to what 'm' means, which might mean 'medium' like in mp or mf, but I don't ...
9
votes
2answers
382 views

Dynamic markings in harpsichord music

I have come across books similar to L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin, but written by English Composers. One such book "The Art of Playing the Harpsichord" IMSLP page and similar works have ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Why can't oboes play softly while clarinets can?

Clarinets are famed for being able to play diminuendo and crescendo to and from niente. Oboes, however, have trouble playing in very low dynamics. The difference in construction of oboe and clarinet ...
9
votes
5answers
5k views

How to play fast and very quietly on piano

So at the moment I'm learning the first movement of the Pathétique Sonata by Beethoven. The main problem I'm having is with the left-hand accompaniment which is similar throughout much of the piece, ...
9
votes
2answers
270 views

How to add verse-specific dynamic to sheet music

I have lyrics of two verses below the staves. Now I want the second verse to get the fortissimo (ff) dynamic. Now how do I do that? How is that written down in sheet music?
9
votes
3answers
3k views

How much louder can a singer go safely above the conversation voice ?

It seems that some increase in loudness is inevitable when going to higher notes. Is there any widely known recommendation or rule of thumb from the voice experts as to how many decibels can a singer ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

How does one read very loud or very soft dynamic markings (e.g. ffff, ppp)?

Sometimes, scores contain notations like "fff", which presumably indicates that the section in question should be one dynamic level louder than "ff", or "fortissimo". In my limited musical ...
8
votes
8answers
2k views

Limits of Fortissimo and Pianissimo

How far can pianissimo/fortissimo go? I have heard both the limit is 4 and 2 of each. Meaning pppp/ffff or pp/ff. What is the actual limit?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Piano both hands, different forces exercises

I'm practicing piano for almost a year now and I'm getting very good especially at playing with both hands. But for the first time I met a piece that requires me to apply different forces on both ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Do contemporary singers sound “wrong” without a microphone?

When I play guitar and sing, it isn’t very loud because I mix my head voice with falsetto. It’s impossible for me to know what this sounds like without recording my voice- but the only way to record ...
8
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2answers
2k views

What is the difference between accent and sforzando?

In particular, on cello. I got the impression that both are strong (either by pressure or speed) at the beginning of the note, followed by quick release of pressure/speed. What is the difference ...
7
votes
4answers
981 views

How is a Compressor different from Gain/Fader riding?

Compressor reduces a signal's dynamic range but the same can also be done by riding/automating the volume fader. Compressors add coloration but other than that is it any different from fader riding?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Have a note stand out in a pianissimo chord (piano)

This is the last chord of Francis Poulenc's Mélancolie for piano. It occurs while a piano D♭ major chord is still resonating in the bass. How would you have the B♭♭ be perceptible, surprising, and ...
7
votes
1answer
101 views

Is there a specific term for the orchestral bursts in The Firebird?

In Stravinsky's Firebird, during the Danse Infernale section, there are several very short, jarring bursts from the orchestra. These bursts have an unusual dynamic quality in that the attack is not at ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you make high notes softer and low notes louder on the C flute?

I have trouble controlling my dynamics on the flute, especially on high and low notes. People told me that if you blow harder, the note will get louder, but when I try to do that on low notes, they ...
7
votes
2answers
165 views

If my music is very dynamic, should I run it through a compressor after recording?

I am finishing the recording of a song which starts out with gentle piano, builds up to a fairly "loud" bridge with several more instruments, then gradually goes back to the same arrangement as the ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Do you always play the melody louder than the accompaniment, unless specified?

The moonlight sonata 1st movement by Beethoven, for example, has a melody on top with an accompaniment with the left AND right hand (starts at measure 5). People usually say that you play the melody ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

"crescendo" vs hair pin

symphony no.1 movement 1 page 16 by the string sections Working on Peter I. Tchaikovsky first symphony manuscript Conductor score. I came to a interesting observation. On the same page all ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Home recording: Preamp or Dynamic Mic?

I've been recording songs for almost a year now but I still don't know all the secrets of a good home recording. I'm currently using a Rode NT1-A condenser microphone, a Focusrite Saffire 6 audio ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

What makes a wind instrument sound louder or softer?

So obviously we can say "if you want to play louder, blow harder." However, is the connection really as simple as "more air means more volume," or is there a secondary effect which can permit louder ...
6
votes
4answers
569 views

How can I make sure my mix is not "bricked" before sending it to be professionally mastered?

In the instructions provided to me by the service I'm using to have my album mastered, the engineers include this advice: Include any desired processing, such as compression and equalization, but be ...
6
votes
1answer
160 views

Is this fortissimo passage in the flute possible?

I am writing this piece for a piano flute duet to represent Spring and it has 3 main sections. Those sections are: A - Quiet, Molto adagio, A minor, very melodic, rocking fifths in the bass, melody ...
6
votes
1answer
175 views

Is there a difference between Espirando and Mancando?

I've seen both these terms listed in online music glossaries as meaning "dying away", but neither entry ever refers to the other. Are there any real-world differences in how these are interpreted?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Are single coil pickups better at catching picking dynamics?

I've seen mention of dynamics on the Internet generally associated with single coil pickups, and it seems that people assume that those have more dynamics. However, there is an interesting forum ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does photography promote high dynamic range whereas music production tends to reduce it?

On my phone, for example, HDR is a feature. Whereas in music production, a good compressor is seen as essential. Why the apparent discrepancy?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why were dynamic markings not really used in the Baroque and Classical period?

Why is it that dynamics only really began to be frequently used from the Romantic period onward? Also what was the first recorded use of dynamics because I read on Wikipedia that it was first century ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What does *fp* mean in terms of volume to play?

I'm working on a piece where the volume is specified as fp. From what I can tell, this means "forte piano", which to me is meaningless. This is a piano piece, so: 1) Is it meaningless? 2) Do they ...
5
votes
3answers
689 views

Is it necessary to put nuances indication at the start and end of a crescendo/decrescendo?

On one song I'm writing, I'd like to finish the song with a decrescendo on two measures. My question is, is it better (or at least useful) to add a nuance at the end of the decrescendo like in the ...
5
votes
3answers
464 views

How to be consistent in studio performance?

Every time I hear myself playing in a studio recording setup, I feel like my playing is inconsistent in terms of tempo and dynamics, regardless of the instrument (drums or guitar). I know I can ...
5
votes
2answers
153 views

Did Chopin use hairpins (adjacent crescendo and decrescendo) to indicate rubato rather than dynamics?

In her answer to Liszt's B minor sonata crescendo, user @Madeleine writes: In many places in Chopin's music, he wrote hairpins ... to indicate rubato rather than a crescendo or decrescendo. The ...
5
votes
2answers
282 views

Is there a dynamics equivalent of the marking "a tempo"?

Is there a marking (or a term) that means "go back to the dynamic played at before the last (de)crescendo"? I'd prefer to not specify a particular dynamic immediately before the crescendo (in order to ...
5
votes
2answers
240 views

What is the point of repeating the same dynamic mark?

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:...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to play forte-piano chord on piano?

In Beethoven's Pathetique, how do you play the fortepiano chords in the third movement (rondo)? I can easily do this on a wind instrument by changing wind speed, but on piano, I have no idea how to ...
5
votes
5answers
107 views

Can an offbeat note be loudest when playing Bach?

My primitive understanding of Bach's music tells me that an offbeat note cannot be the most accented or the most important note in a phrase. But in the last gesture of the ubiquitous C major prelude, ...
5
votes
2answers
164 views

Midi Volume "Compression"?

Suppose your midi instrument, say a piano vst, has 16 "layers". When you input a note at velocity "1", you'll hear a very quiet ppp note. When you input the same note at velocity "127", you'll hear a ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

How does mezzopiano relate to piano?

I just came across the sonatas a quattro by Rossini in the Schott edition and in 2nd movement of first sonata directly follow three decrescendos: from mf to p from p to mp from mp to pp This ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

How should I notate an intermediate dynamic between mp and mf?

I know this is a question that’s been asked before, but I haven’t found an answer that suits my needs. Consider the following example [edit: new excerpt, to include all swells and to remove other ...
4
votes
2answers
146 views

countering the "softer = slower" problem?

My choir has a consistent tendency -- absent a metrenome or vigorous conducting -- to slow down for quieter dynamics (and then never regain the original pace). We have several individuals with good ...