What will we learn?
Today, we will focus on what dynamics are in music and understand how dynamics can change your
emotions about a piece of music.
This can take 20 minutes to complete but we recommend spending around 30-35 minutes on it.
What are dynamics?
Simply, dynamics is how LOUD or quiet a piece of music is and dynamics can make you feel plenty of different emotions depending on how quiet or loudly musicians play.
If you look at a piece of music, you might see different letters and strangle symbols on it. This tells the musician what dynamics they need to play.
In written music, we usually use Italian words to tell us what dynamics to play – are you ready to learn a new language?!
p – piano (PYAN-oh) means ‘quiet’
f – forte (FOR-tay) means ‘loud’
Listen to the pieces of music below - are they piano or forte? How do they make you feel?
If you see more than one 'p' then this means extra soft.
If you see more than one 'f' that means extra loud!
Some pieces of music are loud and quiet all of the way through. But sometimes, the dynamics change in a piece of music which might change the way that you feel.
Listen to this piece of music by Holst. Does it start piano or forte? What happens during the piece of music? How does this make you feel?
You will have noticed that the piece of music started extremely quietly then grew louder and LOUDER and LOUDER. This is called a ‘crescendo’.
crescendo (cresh-en-doh) means ‘gradually getting louder
diminuendo (dim-in-you-en-doh) means ‘gradually getting quieter’
Now let's think about some songs...
Listen to these pieces of music. Are they piano or forte? Can you hear any crescendos or diminuendos? Did you enjoy the pieces of music? How did the dynamics change your feelings?
Using the last video of In the Hall of the Mountain King, can you create a timeline of how the music changes as the time goes on? You could use really bold colours for LOUD and really gentle colours for soft.
Say what dynamics are?
Explain what piano and forte are?
Explain the difference between crescendo and diminuendo?
Are you ready to learn about texture?