Dynamics tell us how load or quiet the music is. The Italian terms we use are too long to write out on music, so we use letters to show the dynamic levels of our music.
There is no set volume of a dynamic as it is all relative to the rest of the dynamics used in the piece of music.
Try and learn the terms below or use the poster to imagine how loud you should be playing.
pp Pianissimo – very soft
p Piano – soft
mp Mezzopiano – moderately soft
mf Mezzoforte – moderately loud
f Forte – loud
ff Fortissimo – very loud
sf sforzando – play with a sudden emphasis
crescendo (cresc.) – gradually get louder
diminuendo (dim.) – gradually getting quieter
Free Flash Cards (basic dynamic markings)
Simply print out the page and cut across so you have four wide cards. Fold across the dotted line and stick together, so that the picture and word is on the back of the dynamic symbol. You can use these to test yourself on the words or challenge yourself to put them in the right order.