Talk:Dynamics (music)

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Let's get back to the point[edit]

Seriously, I think that no, the pages should not be merged. So there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:02, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree .. sotto voce is more common in most people's experience as a idiom denoting lowering one's voice for effect in conversation and controversy than it is as a musical term. No merge, and I'm going to edit Sotto voce itself because clearly the author of that article didn't quite get it! "Muttering" indeed! :) JacquesDelaguerre (talk) 21:28, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I did some work on Sotto voce and in conjunction with User:Ravpapa's very nice edit of sotto voce on the Dynamics (music) page I think we have aced this one. JacquesDelaguerre (talk) 07:05, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Super loud[edit]

I think those dynamics can be increased to a vague extent. No one says "ffffffffffff" is not allowed, it's just that it is very hard to tell the difference between 6 fs and 8fs so normally composers just put ffff at the most. I mean, its just pointless if you put too many.Kystephkwan3 (talk) 15:39, 19 April 2009 (UTC)Kystephkwan3 (talk) 15:38, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


Do ffffffffffff and/or pppppppppp exist and if so how loud are they? (OK I admit... now I'm being plain stupid) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:43, August 24, 2007 (UTC)


This article is written quite well, but there are literally dozens of musical dyanmic types not described here, most of them rather prominent. Also, this article does not mention baroque dynamics (which were normally not written out, left to the discretion of the performer) and dynamics on gentle instruments such as the harpsichord. John Holly 16:11, 21 February 2007 (UTC)


"Fortississimo" and "pianississimo"?? I thought these were jokes that band directors made up. Unless someone indicates otherwise, I'll shortly be refining this article to indicate that those are facetious words.

UPDATE: Refinement done. Any objections?

SFT 07:52, 2004 Oct 23 (UTC)

"Fortississimo" is how you say 'fff', and pianississimo is how you say 'ppp'.

these are not jokes, maybe neologisms. But you have to say them somehow. This article doesn't mention stuff like: Fermata = to hold as long as desired. Rf. (Rinforzando) = to stress by strength, as opposed to Sfz. (Sforzando) = to stress by pushing, by pressure. Dol. (Dolce) = to play sweetly Smorz poco a poco = to grow softer(?) little by little.

those should be in this article cause like Crescendo (written or as symbol ) should be here. so this is a stub IMHO -- Nkour 14:03, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Be bold! Hyacinth 02:58, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Those aren't dynamics. Dolce and smorz (???) are just musical directions, as are fermata. You might get away with mentioning rf and sfz, but those are more articulationy. SFT | Talk 09:39, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

SFT is correct on this. Quantumobserver (talk) 03:44, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I think you could make a pretty strong case for dolce as a dynamic indication in Mozart, though. Double sharp (talk) 15:08, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Look, they're real words. Musicians use them and they describe a real auditory thing. It's stupid to argue the point. Gingermint (talk) 20:58, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

1812 Overture[edit]

Recent addition to the article in bold:

Tchaikovsky indicated pppppp and ffff in passages of his Pathétique symphony and in the 1812 Overture.

I can't verify that this is wrong, but I am somewhat incredulous that Tchaikovsky would use both five ps and four fs in two separate pieces. Can someone with access to a score verify or debunk this?

Doesn't surprise me, Tchaikovsky had a flair for melodrama. Though it wouldn't hurt to check a score, I suppose. Volunteer Sibelius Salesman 19:10, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, he was melodramatic but also a superb craftsman who knew what he was doing. For all their brazenness the first and fourth movements of Symphony no 4 both start ff only. In both movements he is reserving fff for later on. In Symphony no 6 he writes pppp just before the coda in the first movement (starting with double basses in bar 325) and at the very end of the symphony. And he uses ffff at bar 312 of the third movement. After all, he was about to commit suicide, wasn't he?

I haven't got the score of 1812 to hand. Hikitsurisan 22:41, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

See [1], page 79. Stannered 12:56, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
And [2], page 19, second system, bassoon line. Stannered 13:00, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Those links are bad. Look at these from the 6th symphony (source: Petrucci music library):

Ppp in Tchaikovsky sym.png Tch 4 ffff.png

and this from the 1812 overture (source: Petrucci Music Library):

Tchaikovsky 1812 overture fragment.png

Couldn't find a pppppp example in 1812, and I doubt it's there. —Wahoofive (talk) 19:33, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Articles being merged[edit]

I'm all for them to be merged, and I think mezzo piano etc need doing too.

ME TOO!!! ;-)

Done Conrad Irwin 23:56, 30 December 2006 (UTC)


What is up with saying piano is soft and forte is loud? Most people need details. If anyone has even more than that , I'd like to here it. It is needed for anyone and everyone who doesn't have a clue!

How would you propose adding more detail? For example, a p sung by an opera singer is probably louder than a f from a violin. They are all totally relative quantities and so I think we have given virtually all we can. Conrad Irwin 23:59, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Nothing stopping us from adding audio samples of an Opera singer male and female hitting the pitches at certain volumes.--I'll bring the food (Talk - Contribs - My Watchlist) 02:18, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Or, we could add just one sample with instructions on how to adjust the speaker volume for ppp and fff. Swooch (talk) 13:30, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Difference between two terms[edit]

Can someone explain to me the difference between calando and crescendo, as they're both described as "becoming softer"? 07:25, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Well, crescendo is becoming louder. Diminuendo is becoming softer. Calando is better translated as drooping, and means "[dying] away in volume and sometimes tempo". [3] Stannered 12:40, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

A different approach[edit]

Can someone explain to me what this section of the article is about? It makes no sense to me. Does it have any source? --Ravpapa (talk) 16:31, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Undid revision by[edit] deleted the See also section, as well as all the foreign language cross-references. I don't know if this was intentional, a mistake or vandalism., if you had a reason for doing this, please tell us on the talk page. Thanks. --Ravpapa (talk) 04:43, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Tchaikovsky fact[edit]

1812 Overture is not the only one piece to have a extreme loud dynamic! I think it goes as loud as ffff. However, there are other pieces from Tchaikovsky that, indeed, have a even more stronger dynamic and that is not mentioned on the article. The tempest is a clear example of that. When the orchestra its almost reaching the coda, theres a climax with the full orchestra, with the main melody. That part goes as far as fffff! Pitty is not mentioned tough. Anyway, sotto voce must be added as a musical dynamic part because sotto voce means that the instrument should play in a lower and sweet volume...that doesn´t mean pianissimo or even piano, but indeed represents a modification in the orchestral volume and melody. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Unicode representations?[edit]

p and f are represented in Unicode as 𝆏 and 𝆑 (may need to increase font size to show correctly). Should we show this in the article or somewhere? --Geopgeop (T) 09:05, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps include it, with other details of music typography, in History_of_music_publishing#Modern_technology? --Ravpapa (talk) 10:43, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Speaking of "Words/phrases indicating changes of dynamics..."[edit]

I'm just wondering; is there a word/phrase that indicates when a different dynamic is used when notes are repeated? Let me clarify. Imagine that in a certain musical piece, there is a left repeat sign, and a group of notes with the dynamic "mf" following it. And later in the piece, there is a right repeat sign that goes back to the aforementioned left repeat sign. Now imagine that when the group of notes labeled "mf" is repeated, they are supposed to be played with the dynamic "mp," rather than "mf." Is there a word/phrase that indicates when this happens? Hananoshi (talk) 15:26, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Never mind, I Googled it, and found out the answer. And now I will add this new piece of info to this article. Hananoshi (talk) 15:27, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
I saw your addition, and your reference to the book by McGrain. McGrain does indeed write this, but I have never seen this notation. In every case that I know that the composer wants a repeated passage played differently, he writes an explicit instruction in text. In the Schubert "Death and the Maiden" quartet (Op. post), for example, in the Andante Con Moto movement, in the fifth variation, Schubert (well, his editor, actually) writes "La repetizione poco a poco crescendo sin' al FF". And in the minuet movement of quartet opus 18 number 4 (C minor), Beethoven wants the repeat of the minuet section to be played faster. So at the end of the trio he writes, "Las seconda volta si prende il Tempo piu Allegro/"
So you might want to qualify or expand on your addition. Regards, --Ravpapa (talk) 17:19, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Seeing as how he did not edit it, and as I have never seen this usage in any piece of music ever, I feel that it lacks notability, therefore, I'm going to be bold and remove this section. Marky1991 (talk) 04:13, 17 June 2009 (UTC)


Edit warring is not the best way to resolve problems like the case at hand - discussion on the talk page is the prescribed method., could you please provide a citation of a published piece of music that uses the notation RFL? That could go a long way to resolving the issue. --Ravpapa (talk) 16:26, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Published?? Probably not....custom charts handed out to a drum corps? Oh yes...had that a few times in Sr Corps....along with other interesting notations such as "kill the tree" (which came out of a brass rehearsal where there was a young sapling in front of the arc). I put a mushroom cloud on an arrangement one time when I wanted the horn line to "nuke" the crowd. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:02, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

'pn' and 'fo'?[edit]

Who ever uses pn and fo for piano and forte? It is always just p and f (unless it is more so, as in ff) --zzo38() 01:50, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

In 400 years of "modern" western classical music lots of interesting notations have been used. JacquesDelaguerre (talk) 14:24, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

writing italian[edit]

cresc. molto, dim. molto, cresc. poco a poco and dim. poco a poco are correct italian

molto cresc., molto dim., poco a poco cresc. and poco a poco dim. are not correct italian.

In music notation the function must come first, otherwise the player sees the most important part of the instruction too late. --Käkki2 (talk) 19:00, 28 December 2010 (UTC)


The phrase "rinforte is also available" is pointless. It says nothing about what rinforte means, and does not relate to the previous section. If anyone could give a definition for it, it would be appreciated.

I agree. I would like to know what "rinforte" is also. I haven't been able to find a definition on the Web; doesn't translate it properly, and I'm writing about music dynamics. What is it? --Tim Sabin (talk) 03:30, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Too many examples of fff...f/pppp...p[edit]

I don't see the need for all those examples. We're here to explain what it is, not list where it is. Perhaps one on each to show that they are not entirely uneard of. If noone objects, I'll shorten that section a bit. Swooch (talk) 13:39, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Definition of f and p[edit]

The last while there has been a revision war changing the definition of f and p. In one camp are people saying they mean "loud" and "soft" - the camp I agree with. In the other camp are people (IP users) who say they mean "strong" and "weak". Is there a way we can get what the accepted definition is (preferably Italian) and keep people from reverting these definitions? --Tim Sabin (talk) 15:11, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Calling it a war might be overstating the situation a bit. There have been several edits from similar IPs making these changes; this is probably the same person, and I did warn the most recent IP. If they continue, we can seek semiprotection for the page. The accepted definitions are loud and soft (or quiet), respectively; this is verifiable using any and every conceivable source and is so basic that it defies credibility to think that there's a legitimate difference of interpretation here. It's not a question of the accepted definition in Italian but rather of the accepted definition period (basic musical notation being standard across a multitude of languages, including both Italian and English). In other words, it really makes no difference what various meanings each word has in Italian. In music, they each have one meaning, and edits suggesting otherwise are unconstructive. Rivertorch (talk) 19:51, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
After another round of it, I have left a note at WikiProject Music theory requesting additional watchers. Further disruption may require page protection. Note to the dynamic IP user: if you're serious about this and not attempting to be disruptive, please discuss your edits here. Rivertorch (talk) 17:57, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for the notice. None of us active at WP:MTH are at the level where we can protect the page, but I thank you for your note so we can watch the page. It appears that we need to fix the sourcing of the article a little bit. I suggest that we as a community find sources that specifically say "soft" and "loud". I know that it seems like common knowledge, but it will only ensure the safety of this definition. On the other hand, if a source is found with the "strong" and "weak", I think it should also be included in the article. This can be made as a side note. I think common convention says that the terminology is "loud" and "soft" but I definitely do not think it is the only way to interpret those definitions. Anyway, long story short, this article needs more sourcing. Devin.chaloux (chat) 18:36, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, interpretations of a definition are one thing—lots of adjectives can be used to indicate the (subjective) mood accompanying the (objective) relative loudness—but the basic definition is still what it is. I'm happy to source the terms, of course, and perhaps I should have done that already. (Every reliable source says "soft" and "loud", afaik.) I doubt that will stop the problem, however, so I'm glad for new watchers. Thanks! Rivertorch (talk) 22:14, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
I could see the alternative where weak/strong refers to emphasis. It's more of a linguistics approach to music. I've heard the terms before, usually as a way of thinking about dynamics differently. But I agree, the most standard definition by far is soft/loud. If whoever is reverting the page sources weak/strong, I wouldn't be opposed to mentioning it at some point in the article though. Devin.chaloux (chat) 23:55, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. It's not that "strong" and "weak" aren't valid interpretations (they are—especially the former), but replacing the basic definitions obfuscates the meaning. Incidentally, I fixed one I'd missed where an actual quote from the source had been changed. Rivertorch (talk) 07:00, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I have looked through dictionaries. The original meaning of piano and forte are "weak" (or "soft") and "strong", respectively. Those refer to the strength of the pianist pressing to the keys on the piano (again, piano is short for pianoforte). These apply to most other instruments too. However, these terms are generalized in music to "soft" and "loud". (talk) 09:36, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I can't let this baloney slide. These terms were in use long before the invention of the piano. —Wahoofive (talk) 06:25, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
It does seem to be putting the cart before the horse, doesn't it? Nonetheless, IP user, thank you for joining the discussion. Wahoofive is correct, of course: the instrument known as the piano(forte) was so named because of its capacity for dynamic expression; the terms were commonly used in musical notation before the invention of the instrument. Rivertorch (talk) 07:19, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
I changed it back again -- IP editors and one (simultaneous!) new user are trying to insert "strong" and "weak" even these are quite non-standard. Additionally, the change removes cited content. Please don't do that unless you can find a superior source. Antandrus (talk) 06:36, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Requested move: "Musical scale" → "Scale (music)"[edit]

I have initiated a formal RM action to move Musical scale to Scale (music). Contributions and comments would be very welcome; decisions of this kind could affect the choice of title for many music theory articles.

NoeticaTea? 00:11, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

About the Barber example[edit]

It is my understanding that, when a diminuendo leads to a louder dynamic than was previously marked (for example: pp > mp), it is expected that the performer do the diminuendo, then, at the mezzo piano, play a normal mezzo piano; not a "philosophical" mezzo piano. The same if it's the other way around, of course (a crescendo leading to a softer dynamic). Does anyone have a reliable notation book, like Kurt Stone's, to settle this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:48, 18 February 2013 (UTC)