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Dynamics The term dynamics refers to changes in volume. Dynamics are commonly written in Italian, the first piece to use dynamics was the “Sonata piano e forte” by Giovanni Gabrieli in the early 1600’s • The basic dynamic markings include piano (soft), forte (loud) and mezzo (medium). • The ending -issimo pushes the dynamic away from the center of the continuum, and adds an extra letter (e.g. pianissimo is softer than piano, pp.) • pppp ppp pp p mp mf f ff fff ffff ________________________________ In the “Romantic Era” of music, composers were Especially fond of extreme dynamic levels (Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Mahler, Strauss). When there is a change in dynamic level, we use a few terms to describe the change. • When the dynamics get louder, this is called a Crescendo which means “Growing” in Italian. • When the dynamics get softer, this is called a Decrescendo or Diminuendo, and this means “getting smaller” in Italian. Crescendo and Decrescendo are also represented visually by these symbols. Conductors always try to be as faithful as possible to composers dynamic markings, and a more varied dynamic range makes for a more interesting performance! The actual name for a piano is the pianoforte and it was the first keyboard instrument that was able to play a large dynamic range. Which composer was the first one to use the pianoforte to its full dynamic capability???