Positions of dynamics

Dynamics are placed below the staff for instruments, where they can be read alongside the notes, and above the staff for voices. This way, they do not clash with lyrics placed below the staff, and are still close enough to the notes to be read simultaneously.

Immediate dynamics, such as or , are centered on the notehead to which they apply. The beginnings of gradual dynamics are centered on the notehead from which they begin, or immediately after an immediate dynamic at the same position. The ends of gradual dynamics are centered on the notehead at which they end, or immediately before an immediate dynamic at the same position.

The placement of dynamics relative to the staff varies, depending on their function and the type of player. For example, dynamics are placed below instrumental staves and above vocal staves by default. This ensures dynamics are kept as close to the staff as possible for legibility but are not placed between noteheads and lyrics on vocal staves. For grand staff instruments, such as piano or harp, dynamics are usually placed between the two staves, but can be placed both above and below when each staff requires separate dynamics.

In general, dynamics are not placed within the staff, as hairpins in particular become very hard to read. They are also not usually placed within tuplet brackets. Dynamics are placed outside of notations such as slurs, which must be kept close to noteheads, but inside pedal lines, which can be placed further from noteheads and still be clearly understood.

You can move dynamics to different rhythmic positions in Write mode. They snap to noteheads and are positioned by default according to your settings in Engraving Options.

You can move dynamics graphically in Engrave mode; however, this does not change the rhythmic positions to which they are attached.

You can change the default positions of all dynamics project-wide, and their positions relative to beats, barlines, system ends, the staff, and other objects on the Dynamics page in Engrave > Engraving Options.