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Dynamics & Expressive Techniques

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on 12 March 2015

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Transcript of Dynamics & Expressive Techniques

Dynamics
Analysing the volume of sound which includes:
how loud or soft the music is
how the volume changes during the piece
where the emphasis (accent) is placed on particular sounds
the impact the volume has on the music
Stylistic Indications
Instrumental & Vocal Techniques
Use of instrumental and vocal techniques is one of the most effective ways of expressing or interpreting a musical style.
Instrumental Techniques for Orchestral Strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass)
Dynamic Levels
Dynamic levels are the volume levels in a piece of music. there are varying degrees of softness and loudness and many italian terms are commonly used to express these:
Tempo
Definition:

Dynamics & Expressive Techniques
the speed at which a piece of music is performed (although tempo falls under the concept of duration, tempo may also affect the expressive quality of the music).
It is important that students gain an understanding of the effects the tempo and tempo changes have on a piece of music.
Students must be able to recognise and describe the overall tempo of a piece of music as well as:

changes in tempo
whether a change is sudden or gradual
how the change affects the music
Terms to describe changes in tempo include:

gradually getting faster
gradually getting slower
immediately slowing down
immediately getting faster
return to the original speed
Definition:

Stylistic indications for the performer affect the style of music, giving the musical genre its particular qualities. IT is one aspect of the many expressive elements that help shape the genre of the piece of music. Specific stylistic indications are typically written in Italian, German, French or English.
Legato (smooth)
Rubato (with freedom)
Some phrases can also be used in a score or a song as a stylistic indication:

excited
passionate
slowly with expression
lightly
graceful
expressively
majestic
moderately bright
General Instrumental Techniques
Accent:
Some expressive techniques are general and some are specific to the capacities of a particular instrument.
Glissando:
Harmonics:
Legato:
Slur:
Staccato:
TEnuto:
tremolo:
vibrato:
notes are attacked strongly with emphasis.
a slide from one note to another.
played smoothly.
two different notes are joined.
held for the full value of the note.
a rapid repetition of the same note (most relevant to string instruments, although also possible on other instruments, such as marimba).
notes are short and detached.
sound vibrations (usually related to string instruments) whose frequencies create tones that are multiples of the fundamental tone.
vibrating or shaking on a note; a change in pitch or tonal intensity.
with the bow.
arco:
Double stopping:
Pizzicato:
tremolo:
vibrato:
produced by moving the bow back and forth rapidly on the string.
a shaking of the note. On a string instrument (except for the harp due to this instrument's structural limitations), vibrato is produced by a shaking movement of the left hand, creating a change in pitch or tonal intensity.
the strings are plucked; an 'arco' sign cancels out this pizzicato sound.
playing two notes at the same time.
Instrumental Techniques for guitar and guitar-like instruments
Bends:
effects pedal:
popping:
distortion:
hammer on:
Slap:
TEnuto:
harmonic:
double stopping:
three fingers are used to bend the pitch; that is, moving from one pitch to another.
a pedal attached to the guitar by an audio cable, allowing the performer to distort the sound. On an effects pedal, there may be several sounds and effects to choose from, depending on the musical effect desired.
changing the sound so that it is distorted, an effect usually created using an effects pedal through an amplifier.
hammering, or heavily placing your finger on an already ringing string to create a new higher tone.
held for the full value of the note.
based on the harmonic series, a light touch halfway along a string produces the 2nd harmonic, which is one octave higher than the fundamental tone.
usually related to the bass guitar, when the musician hits the strings with such emphasis as to produce a note.
the opposite to slapping; popping is created by pulling the string and releasing so that it drops and 'pops'; almost like a forceful pluck.
playing two notes at the same time.
strumming:
a playing technique whereby the right playing hand is scraped across the strings of the instrument to produce a sound; usually used for playing the chords.
finger picking:
the opposite of strumming; the musician picks the individual strings of the guitar, choosing the desired note(s). The equivalent for the violin is pizzicato or plucking.
vibrato:
a shaking of the note. On the guitar or guitar-like instrument vibrato is produced by the shaking movement of the left hand to produce a change in pitch or tonal intensity.
Expressive Techniques
Details and additions that a composer or performer applies in a piece of music to enhance its style. Expressive techniques can include the tempo, style, articulation, ornamentation, instrumental techniques and electronic manipulation
Instrumental Techniques for Percussion
double stroke:
rim shot:
with mallets:
Grace notes:
with brushes:
with hard sticks:
rolls:
single stroke:
drum roll:
rapid succession of double strokes alternating the left and right hands, involving no particular rhythm.
playing the rim of the drum at the same time as the head.
a short note that is crushed or squashed a little before the main note. This rhythmic feature can also be called a crushed note and is easily achieved using drum sticks.
sticks ending in bristles, or brushes, that create a softer sound than hard drum sticks; used frequently in jazz music.
fast alternation of left and right hand, producing a roll sound.
a rapid succession of alternate strokes with both left and right hands.
drum sticks producing a hard, almost sharp sound
sticks with padded tips specifically designed for the percussion instrument; for example, timpani mallets have a soft quality.
rolling effect created by rapid left then right strokes on a drum. A drum roll is usually, although not always, heard on the snare drum.
Instrumental Techniques for Woodwind
slurred:
key-clicking:
multiphonics:
flutter-tonguing:
pitch bending:
singing/speaking into the instrument:
tonguing:
a smooth movement from one note to another, the opposite of tonguing.
a percussive hammering of the keys of a wind instrument to produce a clicking sound.
use of the tongue to articulate a note on a wind instrument. More specifically, flutter-tonguing is a rapid movement, creating a flutter, usually an 'r' sound.
making a note temporarily sharp or flat.
singing or speaking into a wind instrument instead of blowing. This technique was developed in twentieth-century art music.
producing two or more notes simultaneously on a wind instrument. This sound is produced by forcefully blowing into the instrument, or blowing and vocalising at the same time.
each note played separately, as each is tongued using an 'f' sound.
Instrumental Techniques for Brass
mute:
multiphonics:
flutter-tonguing:
pitch bending:
singing/speaking into the instrument:
a device placed in the bell that dampens or alters the sound of the instrument. Mutes include straight mute, wah wah (or harmon) mute and cap mute.
use of the tongue to articulate a note on a brass instrument. More specifically, flutter-tonguing is a rapid movement, creating a flutter, usually an 'r' sound.
making a note temporarily sharp or flat.
singing or speaking into a brass instrument instead of blowing. This technique was developed in twentieth-century art music.
producing two or more notes simultaneously on a brass instrument. This sound is produced by forcefully blowing into the instrument, or blowing and vocalising at the same time.
vibrato:
a shaking of the note, changing its pitch or tonal intensity.
Vocal Techniques
bend:
Falsetto:
syllabic/melismatic (lick):
speaking, screaming, whispering, panting, breathing, yelling, laughing, growling:
scat:
Sprechstimme:
Rap:
distorting the correct pitch by sliding around it.
most relevant to Jazz

the upper register of a male's vocal range or 'high/head voice.'
common in Art Music, Popular Music
all vocal sounds within the capabilities of the human voice, apart from singing, fall into this category. These are only some of the vocal effects that could be heard in a piece of music.
common in 20th and 21st Century Art Music, occasionally Pop music
improvised 'nonsense' syllables that are sung.
common in Jazz music.
speech with melodic contours.
common in 20th Century Art Music.
several notes in one syllable. Melisma and lick have the same meaning but are appropriate to different styles of music: melisma is common to the Medieval period; lick, as in a 'guitar lick', is used in much popular music (e.g. Beyonce and Alicia Keys use this feature often).
common in Medieval music, Art music and Pop music.
speaking in rhythm, in time with a backing beat.
common in rap music and hip-hop.
As well as singing voices, a composer might include speaking or whispering in a piece of music
When a composer uses a solo voice in a piece, it is usually to carry the melody, and the vocal effects and techniques are obvious to the listener. But there are many different styles of singing. For example:
Classical voice performing- Aria from an Opera
Different types of voice (mainly sternum or chest voice)- Popular Music
The singing voice differs among world cultures. Traditional Maori calls, for example, have a somewhat nasal pitch and use microtones.
vibrato:
a quiver of the voice, for expression, usually at the end of phrases or long notes in popular singing; a characteristic feature of classical singing.
common in most musical genres
Electronic Manipulation
distortion:
decay:
vocoder:
panning:
delay:
Attack:
changing the sound so that it is distorted. This effect is usually created using an effects pedal, or an amplifier.
the dying away of a sound or sounds.
effect by which sound moves from one speaker to another.
the repeat of a sound or sounds.
an audio effect on the voice that almost distorts the sound. Initially designed to synthesise speech, it was used by artists such as Stevie Wonder and Daft Punk.
the first part of a sound or sounds
Creating an electronic effect on an instrument to enhance the musical style. It is one of the expressive techniques that creates the style of the piece of music.
effects pedal:
a pedal attached to a guitar by an audio cable, used for distorting the sound. An effects pedal may also offer other sounds and effects, depending on the effect desired and pedal used.
Terms for Softness
Piano:
pianississimo:
pianissimo:
mezzo piano:
pianissississimo:
soft (symbol= p)
very very soft (symbol= ppp)
very soft (symbol= pp)
moderately soft (symbol= mp)
very very very soft (symbol= pppp)
Terms for Loudness
forte:
fortississimo:
fortissimo:
mezzo forte:
fortissississimo:
loud (symbol= f)
very very loud (symbol= fff)
very loud (symbol= ff)
moderately loud (symbol= mf)
very very very loud (symbol= ffff)
Terms for changes in Dynamic Levels and emphasis on Sounds
crescendo:
Diminuendo:
descrescendo:
subito piano:
subito:
gradually getting louder (cresc. <)
gradually getting softer (dim. >)
gradually getting softer (decresc. >)
suddenly softer (sub.p.)

suddenly (sub.)
subito forte:
suddenly louder (sub.f.)
sforzando:
with sudden emphasis (sfz)

sforzando-piano:
with sudden emphasis then suddenly decreasing in loudness (sfp)
Articulation
accent:
sforzando-piano:
sforzando:
slur:
staccato:
forte-piano:
notes attacked strongly with emphasis.
with sudden emphasis, then immediately at a soft volume- (sfp)
with sudden emphasis- (sfz)
notes are joined (must be two different notes)
notes short and detached
attack loudly, then immediately soft- (fp)
Articulation signifies the expressive details added to the music and the way in which specific parts or notes in a piece of music are played.
tenuto:
notes held for their entire value
Ornamentation
Definition:

the decoration of the notes in a melody or harmony with special features to add interest and expressive qualities.
Glissando:
a slide from one note to another- (Common in Western Art Music)
trills:
rapid alternation between two notes- (Common in Western Art Music; particularly Baroque and Classical)
acciaccatura:
a 'crushed' note: a note played at the same time as, and crushed into, the following note, where the value does not change- (Common in Western Art Music; particularly Baroque and Classical. Also Jazz (usually in the form of a 'grace note')
appoggiatura:
a 'leaning' note: a note that leans into the following note, changing the note value- (Common in Western Art Music; particularly Baroque and Classical)
Mordent:
upper mordent: we hear a note, then the one above it, then the first note. Lower mordent: we hear a note, then the one below it, then the first note- (Common in Western Art Music; particularly Baroque and Classical)
Turn:
notes turn around a note: we hear a note, then one higher, then one lower than the first note, and then the first note- (Common in Western Art Music; particularly Baroque and Classical)
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