Dynamics are symbols written under the staff which indicate how loud or soft music is to be played.

Figure 1: Dynamic symbols indicating a different loudness for each bar.

The following is a list of different dynamic symbols:

Dynamic Description Diagram
Fortississimo Extremely loud
Fortissimo Very loud
Forte Loud
Mezzo Forte Half-loud
Mezzo Piano Half-soft
Piano Soft, quiet
Pianissimo Very softly
Pianississimo Extremely softly
Sforzando Loud and accented with accent mark
Sforzato Loud and accented with legato
Rinforzando Several notes or a short phrase are to be emphasized


Hairpin are arrow shaped symbols which indicate the gradual increasing or decreasing of dynamic. There are two types of hairpins: crescendo and diminuendo.

Figure 2: A crescendo placed under two bars of music.

Figure 3: A diminuendo from forte to pianissimo.

Also see Expression Marks | Slur.

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