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Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
#2889945 09/13/19 12:04 PM
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When you have a command to crescendo or diminuendo, when does that end? Do you go on crescendo or diminuendo until you find a "forte" or "piano" command, or do you only cresc/dim in that one line? Thanks! (sorry my technical language is not good, but I hope you understand what I mean)

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Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
SarahGeoffrey #2889952 09/13/19 12:13 PM
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There are no "commands" in a musical score.

Instead of understanding them as commands, try to get a sense of what the composer's intention was. Why does the score say "crescendo" or "diminuendo" there?

Once you answer that, you will know what to do.

(In general, I would say keep crescendo-ing until there's a reason to stop, notated or otherwise. The end of the line has nothing to do with it. That's just a matter of how the publisher decided to fit the music onto the page.)

Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
SarahGeoffrey #2890245 09/14/19 10:56 AM
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Hi Sarah,
Can you show us a specific score where you are unsure?


Consolation No.2 E maj, F.Liszt
Nocturne C# minor, FChopin
Clair de Lune, C.Debussy



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Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
MichaelJK #2890251 09/14/19 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
There are no "commands" in a musical score.
If one intends to follow the composer's marking I definitely think those markings are the equivalent of commands. Why do you think otherwise? If you could take a lesson with Chopin on one of his pieces and he wrote pp in your score would you play that dynamic?

Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
pianoloverus #2890334 09/14/19 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
There are no "commands" in a musical score.
If one intends to follow the composer's marking I definitely think those markings are the equivalent of commands. Why do you think otherwise? If you could take a lesson with Chopin on one of his pieces and he wrote pp in your score would you play that dynamic?


Tell me why you ask those questions, and I'll try to answer them.

Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
SarahGeoffrey #2890358 09/14/19 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SarahGeoffrey
When you have a command to crescendo or diminuendo, when does that end? Do you go on crescendo or diminuendo until you find a "forte" or "piano" command, or do you only cresc/dim in that one line? Thanks! (sorry my technical language is not good, but I hope you understand what I mean)


There is no simple, straight answer. To a great extent it depends on the level of accuracy in the composer's notation. Some are pretty accurate and some others provide just basic indications. Also assuming you do have lets say a Cresc sign and a p some time later does not mean necessarily that you suddenly go from loud to soft immediately (sometimes it is the case); usually, in particular in classic music, you would have to give some time to decrease the volume even if decresc is not indicated. You just need to understand the context and the melodic outline to decide what is the high point and where you need to start decreasing. It just takes time and experience and a good knowledge of the composer's style.

Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
MichaelJK #2890365 09/14/19 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
There are no "commands" in a musical score.
If one intends to follow the composer's marking I definitely think those markings are the equivalent of commands. Why do you think otherwise? If you could take a lesson with Chopin on one of his pieces and he wrote pp in your score would you play that dynamic?
Tell me why you ask those questions, and I'll try to answer them.
I'm afraid you'll just have to answer the question as is or not.

Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
MichaelJK #2890564 09/15/19 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
There are no "commands" in a musical score.

Instead of understanding them as commands, try to get a sense of what the composer's intention was. Why does the score say "crescendo" or "diminuendo" there?

Once you answer that, you will know what to do.

(In general, I would say keep crescendo-ing until there's a reason to stop, notated or otherwise. The end of the line has nothing to do with it. That's just a matter of how the publisher decided to fit the music onto the page.)



"Commands" is perhaps a rather inappropriate term in this context, and I agree with Michael's response. So military, so rigid.

Interpreting a music score is not a mechanical, black and white process. So much depends on the context of the music, the musical period when the piece was written, the composer, the piece in question.

Of course, if the score indicates to play forte, that's what we would do. But I would say that all fortes are not created equal. A forte in Haydn is not the same as a Beethoven forte is not the same as a Chopin forte and so on. And not all Haydn fortes are necessarily the same either, or Chopin's and so on. Depends on the piece.

This is where our experience and interpretative powers as musicians come to the rescue.

Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
CharlesXX #2890668 09/15/19 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlesXX
"Commands" is perhaps a rather inappropriate term in this context, and I agree with Michael's response. So military, so rigid.

Interpreting a music score is not a mechanical, black and white process. So much depends on the context of the music, the musical period when the piece was written, the composer, the piece in question.

Of course, if the score indicates to play forte, that's what we would do. But I would say that all fortes are not created equal. A forte in Haydn is not the same as a Beethoven forte is not the same as a Chopin forte and so on. And not all Haydn fortes are necessarily the same either, or Chopin's and so on. Depends on the piece.

This is where our experience and interpretative powers as musicians come to the rescue.


I don't think the OP was using "commands" in a military sense but just as a slightly awkward substitute or synonym for the "composer's markings". So I think Michael's response made little sense unless he intended not to follow the composer's indications.

It's certainly true that a forte marking is not absolute in the sense that all fortes are equal, but I don't think the OP's question was at all about that.

Re: Ask new help to read score - Crescendo/diminuendo
SarahGeoffrey #2890812 09/16/19 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SarahGeoffrey
(sorry my technical language is not good, but I hope you understand what I mean)

Sarah says her technical language is not good, so could we please cut her some slack for chosing the word command?

Originally Posted by SarahGeoffrey
When you have a command to crescendo or diminuendo, when does that end? Do you go on crescendo or diminuendo until you find a "forte" or "piano" command, or do you only cresc/dim in that one line?

Generally, yes, when you see the words crescendo or diminuendo, you continue until there comes a new dynamic marking. However, when it is done with hairpins, it is much shorter, and finishes where the hairpin finishes.


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