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Question on dynamics, as displayed in a score sheet
How should I interpret this ?
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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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June 19, 2015 - 8:55 am
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I suddenly feel stupid ( not uncommon ) - but I've got my mind completely lost - for the life of me I cannot resolve this "mental confusion" - here's a couple of bars scored up.  Vln 2 STARTS pp, with a crescendo shown, developing over the first two bars - 

cresc.JPGImage Enlarger

  Right - this is where I've "lost the plot" - in the sense of just exactly "which way round would this work" - is it 

(a) Start off, playing pp WHERE it tells us to (first note), and develop the cresc, so what happens come bar 3 (without any indications) - are we now, well, sort of "mp" ish and continuing to play "mp" or, return to pp (now, that just sounds silly when I write it out and I think I've answered my own question )

- or - ( which I think it is )

(b) Although indicated pp, THAT'S what the Vln2 part should NORMALLY be played as until advertised otherwise, and the cresc really tells us to develop our intensity from something LESS than pp, and ending up by bar 3 simply playing "pp"

Go on, put me out of my misery....roflol

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Jim Dunleavy
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June 19, 2015 - 11:03 am
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You should start pp then increase to a level that you judge to be appropriate (you wouldn't want to go louder than the tune for example). You often get up and down hairpins where the player has to decide how far to rise up.

Those markings seem a bit odd to me though - why would the accompaniment rise in volume and not the melody? Who knows. Maybe it's meant to be a special effect.

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BillyG
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June 19, 2015 - 11:13 am
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@Jim Dunleavy - OK - thanks for the input there Jim.  My "sheet reading" is limited ( I can easily follow the notes and timings, albeit, slowly - I'm getting better - but some of the more subtle "indications" on sheet sometimes escape me... LOL ).  

Actually, this was my own score, it is the opening to "The Hanging Tree".  The melody/lead line was taken from an external source, and I was trying to put together a multi-part violin arrangement - and I very specifically wanted Vln2 to "come in slowly" and build up underneath the lead ( but to REMAIN softer throughout )

Oh - and it was I who put the "mp" and "pp" indications - again - because "that's what I wanted it to be like" LOL - 

I appreciate the feedback - I'm still not sure about it though ! LOL   Man, what am I like?   So, if I wanted to return Vln2 to pp, from what you suggest - following the END of the cresc in bar 2, then at the start of bar 3, I would indicate pp again ?   

Aha... you may have a point.  I didn't consider that possibility.  Speak to me ! LOL 

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Jim Dunleavy
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June 19, 2015 - 11:24 am
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Ah, right, I see!

If you want the accompaniment to 'creep in' under the melody then crescendo do you not want it to stay at the new level unless the melody changes volume later on? I would suggest putting a single p at the end of the hairpin so that you come in at pp then rise to p over a couple of bars.

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BillyG
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June 19, 2015 - 11:34 am
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Jim Dunleavy said
Ah, right, I see!

If you want the accompaniment to 'creep in' under the melody then crescendo do you not want it to stay at the new level unless the melody changes volume later on? I would suggest putting a single p at the end of the hairpin so that you come in at pp then rise to p over a couple of bars.

  Yes!  ( I mean no - I do NOT want it to remain at the same level come bar 3 - but, yes, you got it.   EDIT:  I wrote that and reading it now, I didn't understand it myself - I meant "no" I don't want it to remain pp, and "yes" I want it to remain at "p" but not competing with the main-line)

  Right.  On Vln2 - pp to start with, cresc over a couple of of bars, then indicate p on bar 3 ( to continue until advised otherwise).  That indeed is what I want to do with this ( there will be other parts to be added, easy to do with the volume mixer in MuseScore, not so easy to transcribe to sheet for players...)

  Thanks again for talking through this...

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Fiddlerman
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June 22, 2015 - 10:28 am
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I would guess that the crescendo from pp would rise to a mp judging from the score but I mostly feel that one should, based on their experience and personal taste, form their own opinion on the dynamics but that opinion will best be based on matching and or accompanying the first violin part. Dynamics in music are like colors on a canvas and are subject to personal taste and opinion.
You wouldn't want to over power the melody so perhaps a plain p would be more appropriate.
Also, dynamics are written by the arranger and or composer and should be used as guidelines. Your ideas could be even better. 🙂

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BillyG
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June 23, 2015 - 1:34 am
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Fiddlerman said
I would guess that the crescendo from pp would rise to a mp judging from the score but I mostly feel that one should, based on their experience and personal taste, form their own opinion on the dynamics but that opinion will best be based on matching and or accompanying the first violin part. Dynamics in music are like colors on a canvas and are subject to personal taste and opinion.
You wouldn't want to over power the melody so perhaps a plain p would be more appropriate.
Also, dynamics are written by the arranger and or composer and should be used as guidelines. Your ideas could be even better. 🙂

  Yes, thanks Pierre.   It really WAS my internal confusion - as I say I scored it, and in retrospect, a more obvious solution would have been for me to show a "p" at the end of the crescendo - so now Vln1 is mp (as it was), and vln2 starts super soft, and by bar 3 is still below the lead line in terms of its "presence" ( I plan to add two more vln parts to harmonize or form chords along with the vln2 part, so the overall presence of the 3 additional parts don't compete with the main-line lead ).

  And your other comments are helpful - I get the point - dynamics are open for interpretation and are guidelines - I like the "colors on a canvas" analogy....

  Thanks!
 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 24, 2015 - 12:26 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Anytime!!!

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but the one who needs the least."

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