Extreme dynamics

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erelievonen
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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by erelievonen » 08 Mar 2016, 21:18

This is off topic, I know, but maybe a good moment to ask John this question that has been puzzling me for some time.
You abbreviate forte and piano dynamics in capital letters (F, P, mF, mP and so on). Why is that? We do not normally write them out as mezzoForte or mezzoPiano, or else capitalize forte or piano, do we? Also, the traditional dynamic glyphs used for :forte and :piano are clearly intended to be small (minuscule) letters, not capitals.
I know that some 19th-century publishers did abbreviate dynamics in capital letters (often all capitals, such as MF). But it would seem odd to me to be following such an obsolete practice.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by John Ruggero » 09 Mar 2016, 00:16

erelievonon wrote:
...it would seem odd to me to be following such an obsolete practice...
I guess my bad reputation precedes me.

Nothing intentional, I assure you. Just my way of dealing with the problem of notating musical symbols in these posts. It is more trouble than I want to expend to embolden and italicize small letters to make them sufficiently significant to look like a music font, and since it seems to get the point across, and I didn't think that anyone really cared about it, that is what I do.
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DatOrganistTho
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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by DatOrganistTho » 09 Mar 2016, 02:53

To be fair, I believe it is a bit much, precisely because of references already made.

But the serious consideration I have is that any amount of relative dynamics beyond the typical pppp and ffff begs a serious logical question:
  • What is the point of dynamics anyway, if it were so pernicious to challenge the convention of their relativity?
Given what I've said before, I don't believe dynamics are something hard-wired or programmed to be interpreted "literally." It is germane to the idea of dynamics that they be given relative to the space, time, occasion, and performers. Thus it makes dynamics as difficult to understand as mfp and sffffpp the product of their eccentricity and hipster-ness rather than their actual usefulness.

Disclaimer: I happen to be one of those people that believes that mf/mp where never designed to be used on a scale, but rather as transitional dynamics between p and f.

I can't create a beautiful post with aligned symbols, so I've replaced them with text instead. ;)
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OCTO
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Re: RE: Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by OCTO » 09 Mar 2016, 05:45

John Ruggero wrote:più F or più forte is the standard way to express a dynamic between F and FF.

niente — PPPP — PPP — PP — più P — P — meno P — mP — mF — meno F — F — più F — FF — FFF — FFFF — tutta forza = 16 standard dynamic levels

supplemented by sotto voce, mezza voce and rinforzando

"Es ist genug"???
You have forgotten 'mezzo niente' and 'poco tutta forza'
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Callasmaniac
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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by Callasmaniac » 09 Mar 2016, 10:57

Also "poco f" "molto f" and "ben f" are sometimes used...

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John Ruggero
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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by John Ruggero » 09 Mar 2016, 13:36

OCTO. wrote:
mezzo niente' and 'poco tutta forza
Hmmmm…. :) and "molto tutta forza"? R. Schumann tempo marking: "As fast as possible!" Then later: "Faster!"

Callasmaniac wrote:
"poco f" "molto f" and "ben f"
I was trying to list the most common ones, and only recall poco F used with any frequency. Maybe poco F is better than meno F for the list? poco F is less situational.
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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by MJCube » 11 Mar 2016, 18:19

At Eastman I was taught that poco f means not “a little bit loud” but actually “not so loud.”

It’s like the difference between “a little” and “little” in English.

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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by John Ruggero » 11 Mar 2016, 23:39

MJCube, I believe that your teacher at Eastman was correct. poco f = not quite as loud as f = probably something between mf and f, if one interprets mf to have quite a different feel than f.

I have always assumed that mf is the neutral dynamic; just the simple healthy projected sound that one makes on an instrument. It is the dynamic that the Classical composers expected when they placed no initial dynamic marking in a piece.

I think of meno f as a situational dynamic, i.e. play a little softer than you were. So poco f would seem to be a better choice in the dynamic scheme above than meno f

Well, erelievonon, I bit the bullet and wrestled with the interface to create those dynamics, but couldn't put additional line space after them. Maybe there is a blank character to use? But I think I have a distaste for all the code in the body of the post so I really can't see what I am writing, and that is another reason that I use my makeshift system. I may investigate MJCube's system next time. It does look a lot nicer, but the effort involved does not quite meet my work/reward test.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 12 Mar 2016, 14:16, edited 1 time in total.
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DatOrganistTho
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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by DatOrganistTho » 12 Mar 2016, 12:45

John Ruggero wrote:MJCube, I believe that your teacher at Eastman was correct. poco f = not quite as loud as f = probably something between mf and f, if one interprets mf to have quite a different feel than f.

I have always assumed that mf is the neutral dynamic; just the simple healthy projected sound that one makes on an instrument. It is the dynamic that the Classical composers expected when they placed no initial dynamic marking in a piece.

I think of meno f as a situational dynamic, i.e. play a little softer than you were. So poco f would seem to be a better choice in the dynamic scheme above than meno f

Well, erelievonon, I bit the bullet and wrestled with the interface to create those dynamics, but couldn't put additional line space after them. Maybe there is a blank character to use? But I think I have a distaste for all the code in the body of the post so I really can't see what I am writing, and that is another reason that I use my makeshift system. I may investigate MJCube's system next time. It does look a lot nicer, but the effort involved does not quite meet my work/reward test.
It is the dynamic that the Classical composers expected when they placed no initial dynamic marking in a piece.
Not true. Not until Bartok did anyone see this happen.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Extreme dynamics

Post by John Ruggero » 12 Mar 2016, 15:19

John Ruggero wrote
It is the dynamic that the Classical composers expected when they placed no initial dynamic marking in a piece.
DatOrganistTho wrote:
Not true. Not until Bartok did anyone see this happen.
Sorry, I don't quite understand your objection. I hope I am applying to the right comment in my post.

Is it about Classical composers omitting initial dynamic markings? if so, check any authentic edition of the Haydn Piano Sonatas;

Or that this situation should be interpreted as mF? Some might argue F instead of mF and show cases where F is a better choice. I think it varies with the character of the music. Sometimes a later repetition of the same material clarifies the intended dynamic.

I am intrigued about Bartok. Omitting markings is not something I associate with Bartok. Where does Bartok omit initial dynamics other than in a a few educational pieces like the first few in Microcosmos?
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