Properties of Sound – LOUDNESS

I hope you had a thought of the properties of Sound and had a little experiment with Pitch. Today let’s have a look at Loudness.

Photo by Johanna Vogt on Unsplash

How forte or piano you play, loud or soft and all the dynamics in between, above and below. In music these terms are relative as we know. Relative to the instrument, to the piece, to the room or hall we are performing in, even to the piece we are playing. Piano can mean soft, or restrained, or gently and depending on the phrase and the era of the composition the intention of our soft playing will be different.

Perhaps it is more evident to try with forte which depending the context it might mean or strong, with force, heavy…

There is game where you have to say the same phrase in as many ways as you can think of. Find a small passage from what you are practicing right now and play it forte. Now, continue playing f but change your intention playing it with force, heavy, punchy, with nerve. How would your angry self say it and how would your calm self say it but keeping it loud and the same tempo. The changes might be very small but audible. It will help if you mimiced some thing or some one, like an animal, a neighbour or the sea. This is one of the attributes of playing an acoustic instrument or writing for acoustic instruments. There is the powerful tool of intent that gives character to the music.

Photo by Pao Edu on Unsplash

Try the same game with piano as well and then try it with the “in between – above – and – below – ones ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff, piu. Don’t forget the accents sf, or sfz (***HOT TIP FOR COMPOSING –>) that don’t have to exist only in f environments. And last but not least (I hope I haven’t left any dynamics out) crescendi and diminuendi, the hairpins otherwise known. Make them small, make them big, make them sudden, go to extremes and go to the step right next to where you started and work on that difference, find the intent behind it.

So now adding on to the game I introduced last week in the post about Pitch, try your small passage exaggerating the dynamics (chromatisms I would say in Greek and it always confuses me when I have to say it in English). Play the ‘wrong’ dynamics and mix them up.

All thoughts and ideas writen here are through my own experience and observation.

© Rania Chrysostomou, 2020

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