Dynamics on the violin

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Dynamic marks

  • ppp piano pianissimo (very very soft)
  • pp pianissimo (very soft)
  • p piano (soft)
  • mp mezzopiano (half soft)
  • mf mezzoforte (half loud)
  • f forte (loud)
  • ff fortissimo (very loud)
  • fff forte fortissimo (very very loud)

Gradual change from soft to loud play is crescendo. The opposite change from loud to soft is decrescendo or diminuendo. The words may be used in the abbreviated forms cresc., decresc. and dim. The gradual change may be also shown with hairpins in the notation. The sudden change is indicated by the word subito. The gradual change may also be indicated with the words

  • morendo
  • smorzando
  • calando
  • perdendosi

The strong accent may be indicated by the words sforzato sf, sforzando sfz or rinforzando rfz or the accent signs.

Notation examples

Examples of dynamic marks in the score

%{ Examples of dynamic marks in the score %} \relative c' 
{ \key c \major \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"violin"  c2\ppp d e\pp f | g\p a | b\mp  c c\mf b a\f g f\ff e d\fff c \bar "|." }


Examples of crescendo/decrescendo marks in the score

%{ Examples of crescendo/decrescendo marks in the score %} \relative c'' 
{ \key c \major \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"violin" \crescTextCresc c4\< d e f\! | \dimTextDecresc f4\> e d c\! | \dimTextDecr e4\> d c b\! | \dimTextDim d4\> c b a\! | \crescHairpin \dimHairpin c2\< d\! d\> c\! | \bar "|." }


Examples of accent marks in the score

%{ Examples of accent marks in the score %} \relative c' 
{ \key c \major \set Staff.midiInstrument = #"violin"  c2\sf d e\sfz f | g\rfz a | b\fp  c c\sff b a\sp g f\spp e d-> c \bar "|." }

Execution

The dynamics is not only about the differences in the loudness, it is also about the contrast and phrasing. The beginning and end of the phrase will be less loud than its summit.

Dynamics on the violin is determined by three factors

  • used bow length
  • bow weight
  • sounding point
  • bow speed

The long bows are louder than the short bows. The more weight is used the louder sound is produced. The sounding point closer to the bridge is louder than the sounding point closer to the fingerboard.