Dynamics in Score Sheets

When studying score sheets of classical works, you will often notice how ambiguous dynamic markings are notated. There might be hairpins leading to or from nowhere and other markings that don’t clearly indicate what the desired dynamic actually is supposed to be. Many learning composers or orchestrators working in the field of “session music” unfortnately adapt this technique which will lead to problems or questions during scoring sessions.

With classical works that have been rehearsed and performed many times there is an established way of how to interpret dynamics even when they are not clearly marked. However when musicians see the music for the first time and there was no time of rehearsing (as is common in scoring session situations), unclear dynamic indications should be avoided.

A marking like pp< could mean anything between crescendoing to piano or triple forte. In best case scenarios the context of the piece will be clear enough for the musicians to feel where they should crescendo to, in worst case scenarios you will waste precious seconds of recording time answering questions.

So generally, whenever you’re writing music that is not going to be rehearsed, mark dynamics as clearly as possible in your score sheets. 

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