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Dynamics

 In music, dynamics means how loud or quiet the music is.

In written music the dynamics are shown by letters which stand for Italian  words for the dynamic levels. They are listed in the table below. Notice that  is pronounced in the Italian way

ABBREVIATION ITALIAN WORD ENGLISH MEANING
  • pp
  • p
  • mp
  • mf
  • f
  • ff
  • < ( cresc )
  • > ( dim. )
pianissimo
piano
mezzo piano
mezzo forte
forte
fortissimo
crescendo
decrescendo
very soft
Soft
medium soft
medium loud
Loud
very loud
getting louder
getting softer

Dynamic levels are not something that can be measured exactly. Exactly how loud mp should be depends on several things: what is happening in the music, the instrument, the size of the room in which the music is being played etc. The important thing is that dynamic levels should be correct in relation to one another.

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