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55 votes
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Why is there no indication of relative loudness on sheet music?

There are actually many markings in music notation that have to do with dynamics. Whether it is setting the overall level, such as Piano (p = quiet) or fortissimo(ff = loud), or a crescendo (<) or ...
b3ko's user avatar
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54 votes

Tell pianist to play entire piece softly, except one part

Another approach would be to simply state the instructions either in a blob of text preceding the music page or perhaps somewhere between the title and the music: This though would require ...
thrig's user avatar
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51 votes

Tell pianist to play entire piece softly, except one part

Why are we making such a fuss over this? If you want the piece to start mp, write 'mp' in the first bar. If you want a particular section played mf, write 'mf' at that point. Then 'mp' again. A ...
Laurence's user avatar
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46 votes

Why is there no indication of relative loudness on sheet music?

There are lots of indications - explicit loudness markings (from ppp, pianississimo - very very soft - to fff - fortississimo - very very loud). crescendo and diminuendo marks (which can be textual ...
Нет войне's user avatar
39 votes
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Tell pianist to play entire piece softly, except one part

The conventional method is to write sempre mp in the first measure. Sempre means always. The exceptional measure could be marked as più forte ("louder"), followed by sempre mp again. Another ...
Andrew Woods's user avatar
37 votes
Accepted

Dynamic marking "f-p"

It means play forte the first time through, and piano on the repeat.
the-baby-is-you's user avatar
32 votes
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Dynamics using m, r, s, and z. What do they mean?

mp and mf are mezzo-piano and mezzo-forte, respectively. Mezzo means "middle" or "medium", and so they're more towards the middle than piano and forte. So from softest to loudest, we have pp (...
MattPutnam's user avatar
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21 votes

What is this "<>" thing above a note

"It looks like a crescendo and a decrescendo on one note, but I don't think that's it:" That's EXACTLY what it is. Think of it perhaps as a soft-attack accent. 'Lean on' the note. You'll ...
Laurence's user avatar
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20 votes
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Strange dynamic marking 'fmo' in Clementi sonata

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: ...
Aaron's user avatar
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17 votes
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What does *fp* mean in terms of volume to play?

Forte, followed immediately by piano. On a wind or bowed string instrument, you can do this on a single note. On the piano, you can't change dynamics of a note once it's been struck, but you can ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
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16 votes
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Can you bass boost a song repeatedly?

Yes, you can feed back processed audio into the same system that processed it originally, again and again. However, whenever you feed back audio into a non-idempotent system, the audio will always ...
enharmonic's user avatar
16 votes

meaning of the small circle at the end of the decrescendo?

Al niente. The decrescendo applies to the note length concerned (here a tied crotchet), and as the singer reaches the second beat, the decrescendo should just have finished, down to silence.
Tim's user avatar
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16 votes
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Are different dynamics for different hands on piano permissible?

Yes, of course!! Each and every note on a piano - upright, grand, and most electronics these days, are separate entities, with their own dynamics. There are some pieces which need the l.h. to play the ...
Tim's user avatar
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15 votes
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Why does photography promote high dynamic range whereas music production tends to reduce it?

Sound compression is used to respect the signal limits of microphones and/or speakers. Proper compression prevents sound distortion and also helps ensure across tracks that the dynamic ranges are ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 90.1k
14 votes

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

Related: How does one describe the level of playing that is neither piano nor forte? As I see it, you're assuming that all mp are the same, and that an mp written in a Wagnerian music drama is the ...
Richard's user avatar
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14 votes

Tell pianist to play entire piece softly, except one part

You can instruct the pianist to use the soft pedal by writing una corda above the score, at the very beginning. Mark the louder passage with tutte le corde or tre corde to indicate normal volume. ...
John Wu's user avatar
  • 1,967
14 votes

How to know which areas of a new song to sing softly and which areas to sing loudly?

There are some "obvious answers"; let's not spend too much time on those, but let's mention them just in case: If you have instructions, follow them. If you're reading from notated music, ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 17.9k
12 votes

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

There is a possibility of addressing this question historically... My understanding (which is possibly apocryphal) is that mf came before mp, and originally meant "normal volume". To explain, "forte" ...
Nick's user avatar
  • 121
12 votes

Dynamic marking "f-p"

It gets played as a sort of echo effect. 'f-p' is written to tell the player that it's forte for the first time through, and the repeat is piano. So your third idea is just right. It couldn't be ...
Tim's user avatar
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12 votes
Accepted

What does 'sostenuto (come IVa corda di violino)' instruct a keyboard player to do?

First of all, you should be aware that this is not Galuppi's marking. I'm guessing you're reading from this IMSLP file (the passage in question appears on p 17). This is a 1920 edition, edited by ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
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11 votes

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

There isn't one. The composer must specify a dynamic at the outset. Neither mf or mp mean a great deal out of context. I guess mf is a bit nearer to "ordinary" than mp.
Laurence's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why were dynamic markings not really used in the Baroque and Classical period?

A short history of dynamics in music: If you look at the Baroque period, it is about conventions. Composers did not see the need to add dynamics and the players did not miss them. Not writing them ...
ghellquist's user avatar
  • 2,121
11 votes

Which version of notating dynamics for woodwinds is more clear?

No.2 if you want the 'p' to start exactly on the third beat.
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
10 votes

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

There's at least one case of these "impossible" crescendi that definitely isn't a mistake: at the end of the Liszt Sonata, the fifth- to third-last chords are marked pp; crescendo; ppp. The only ...
Pete's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes

Can you bass boost a song repeatedly?

Applying an equalizer twice gives (to a good approximation, at least in case of digital EQs) the same result as applying it only once with the controls cranked twice as far from neutral. I.e. there's ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Notation for rapid diminuendo

The amount of annotation you can put in does of course depend on how much horizontal space you have in this bar (this can drastically limit the amount of ps you might put there). Writing molto dim ...
Lazy's user avatar
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