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1-5 Volume Notation

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Composers frequently provide indications that specify how loudly or how softly a performer is to play or sing which affect the volume of the music. Different levels of volume in music are notated with dynamic markings. Just as with tempo markings, dynamic markings are frequently based on Italian words. Some of the common dynamic signs are included in Table 1-2.

Table 1-2 Common Dynamic Symbols

Symbol Italian English
ff fortissimo very loud
f forte loud
mf mezzo forte moderately loud
mp mezzo piano moderately soft
p piano soft
pp pianissimo very soft
crescendo gradually louder
decrescendo gradually softer