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Dynamic Markings


In music, p stands for the Italian word piano, which means "quiet."

The letter f  stands for the Italian word forte, which means "loud."

The composer adds these types of instructions to help the musician to portray the mood of the music.  


A double p, pp, stands for pianissimo, which means "extra quiet."

A double f, ff , stands for fortissimo, which means "very loud."


The Italian word crescendo means "becoming gradually louder." The word diminuendo means "becoming gradually quieter."  These two markings can also be shown with symbols.  















A small dot directly above or below the notehead is called a staccato.  This tells the musician to play the note very detached, making a quick pop of sound that does not flow into the next note. Warning: a dot added on the side of a notehead makes it longer.










A curved line that looks like a smile is a called a slur which instructs to smoothly connect the notes, making the sound flow from one tone into another.










An accent mark placed above or below the staff designates an extra weight or emphasis on a particular note.

dynamic markings, slur

crescendo                                                 diminuendo

less                            more))))  volume   ((((more                             less

dynamic markings, staccato


not staccato (dotted quarter note)


dynamic markings, accent


Read Music Method workbook

Read Music Method, the graph to staff approach, provides an unforgettably fun and easy way to teach and learn how to read music.

How to Read Music

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