When you hear a great song played on the piano, you can be assured the pianist know her dynamics marks! This article will describes four of the most popularly used dynamic marks that define the character of a piano piece.
The Drama of a Crescendo
Nothing builds the drama in a musical piece like a well placed crescendo! A crescendo is a building of the music in volume and intensity. As the drama builds, or if a pianist is accompanying a vocalist, it is very important for the volume to build along at the appropriate time. The crescendo is a basic dynamic that is widely used.
The Suspense of the Decrescendo
While the crescendo is a gradual build in volume, the decrescendo, as you can probably guess, is just the opposite. It brings the music and intensity down, by decreasing the volume. Don’t be fooled, the decrescendo can add plenty of drama, also-it’s just more of the suspense variety!
The Liveliness of the Staccato
Little dots above or below a note are staccato markings. They indicate that the note should be played with a quick touch. This makes for a bouncy and lively sound. The staccato style of music is commonly used in music. Think of “yakety yak, don’t talk back” and the nice bouncy feel that goes with it. The piano playing the lively staccato accompaniment really helps set the catchy tone!
Legato Line, The Character Of A Piano
One of my favorite melody’s is “Music Box Dancer.” The smooth flowing line of that melody is something we call legato. It makes a connected sound, and the mark looks like a big arc over many notes. The legato style is beautiful and makes things smooth and fluid.
Knowing these four most basic musical symbols is key to really making the most of expressing yourself through music. When hearing someone play or sing a song with great expression and feeling, you can rest assured that somewhere along the way they understood the importance of dynamics and the dynamic markings in music!