How to Read Music: Dynamic Markings

Dynamics (how loudly or softly something is played) is a huge component of the expressive power of music, making key contributions to establishing moods and expectations.

Piano & Forte

The two most commonly-used indications are “piano” and “forte” as well as their variations…


Piano trivia: The indications “piano” and “forte” are the namesakes of the piano, which was invented in the early 1700s in Florence by an Italian named Bartolomeo Cristofori. The name piano is a shortened version of its original Italian name: piano-forte (literally “soft-loud”). The ability to play soft and loud required a mechanical action of revolutionary complexity and was a major advance in keyboard instrument design at the time.

Crescendo & Diminuendo

Gradual increases and decreases in volume are indicated with diverging or converging lines, respectively…



  1. The next article should be “Time & Rhythm: The First Lesson” instead of “Aural Comprehension: The Why & What of Ear Training”. At least that is the way how they are sorted in course outline.

    1. Hey there, Alex. Thanks so much for pointing this out. It is a frustration of mine that wordpress uses a blog/database model that forces each posting to be named using the date of publishing. I looked into, but failed to find, a way to override this feature. Alas, the order of publishing is not typically the order one should follow. Perhaps there is a way to eliminate navigation links in question so as not to cause any confusion. Any thoughts?

      1. Quick google search haven’t found any WordPress plugin, that can change they way how Prev/Next links are built. Since you’re not showing post publish date anywhere you can set them in a way, that represent desired order. For example:

        sub-section 1: january 2018 months
        page 1 in sub-section 1: 1st of january 2018
        page 2 in sub-section 1: 2nd of january 2018
        sub-section 2: february 2018 months
        page 1 in sub-section 2: 1st of february 2018
        page 2 in sub-section 2: 2nd of february 2018

        If wordpress allows hours/minutes to be specified during publishing then this approach would allow to insert new pages in the middle of the list without need to update publishing dates of all posts. If you have more sub-sections, then months in one year, then you can always use additional year and so on.

        Hope that helps.

        1. Thanks so much for the engagement, Alex. In the interest of making things easier to navigate without confusion, your suggestion is spot on! I really like the idea of grouping similar material under one date and sequencing each lesson by time. Thanks a bunch for caring, man, and for contributing to my principle of continuous improvement. It will take me some time to go back and fix existing links, but I can certainly start immediately by grouping new postings by date and time!

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