Dynamics By Sharon Wilson


Listen to this song composed by Eric Whitacre and performed by his choir "The Eric Whitacre Singers". While listening to this song be thinking of this question: "When does the music get loud and soft?"


What are dynamics? This is an important question to answer before we even progress. Dynamics are when the music changes from loud to soft or soft to loud. Music is constantly changing. For a more of a definition this website has all the history behind dynamics: http://www.zarukin.com/homework/dynamics/terms.html


Four Symbols

Let's talk about the different symbols that are found in music that show you when to get loud or soft.


First, we have "Forte", in music this is shown as the cursive "F" we see above. This symbol means loud in English.


Second, we have "piano" in music. Not the same as the actual musical piano instrument. This term "piano" is show through a cursive "P" in the music. Piano means to be quiet.


The next symbols we have are mezzo piano and mezzo forte. These two symbols are shown by a cursive "M" and "P" for mezzo piano and a cursive "M" and "F" for mezzo forte. Mezzo means to be half. For these terms to be half soft and half loud.

For more information on understanding out these four symbols check out this website for more information: http://www.dummies.com/art-center/music/how-to-deal-with-dynamics-in-music-theory/

Crescendo and Decresendo

Next, now that we have learned the basic four symbols of dynamics lets learn two more tools that aid in this process.


This symbol is called a crescendo. This sign will always be facing to the right and that is how you know it is a crescendo. Crescendo means to grow or get louder. When you see this in the music you want to go from soft to loud.


This symbol is called a decrescendo. This sign will always be facing to the left and that is how you know it is a decrescendo. Decrescendo means to get quieter. When you see this in the music you want to go form loud to soft.

Here is another resource that can better help you understand crescendos and decrescendo:


Real World Examples

Here are some examples of actual music with dynamics and what it looks like:


Listen to this example of music now by Eric Whitacre. See if you can pick up on the different dynamics in the music.

Why Does It Matter?

Why does it all matter? Dynamics is a way that we can express the different emotions in a piece. It is a way for us to show parts of our soul with the audience and expression. With dynamics we are able to show ourselves to the world.


Created with images by OnceCaptured - "Piano keys" • MIH83 - "background old fashioned music" • MIH83 - "background old fashioned music" • MIH83 - "background old fashioned music" • MIH83 - "background old fashioned music" • MIH83 - "background old fashioned music" • MIH83 - "background old fashioned music" • MIH83 - "background old fashioned music"

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