Gradual dynamics

Gradual dynamics indicate a change in volume that happens incrementally over the specified duration. They usually appear either as hairpins or as text instructions, such as cresc. or dim..

The change in volume indicated by individual hairpins is shown in the distance between the two diverging lines at their apertures.

Hairpins typically have a closed end and an open end. If the hairpin crosses a system or frame break, the closed end appears with a small gap so that the hairpin is not misread as two separate hairpins.

A pair of hairpins without an immediate dynamic in the middle is known as a messa di voce.

Figure 1. A phrase containing multiple gradual dynamics

In Dorico Pro, gradual dynamics appear as hairpins by default. You can change the appearance of individual gradual dynamics and their default appearance project-wide. For example, if you want to show a particularly long crescendo using cresc. text rather than a hairpin.

You can show gradual dynamic text in the following ways:

  • cresc. or dim.: Abbreviated text with no continuation line

  • cresc... or dim...: Abbreviated text with a dotted continuation line

  • cre-scen-do or di-mi-nuen-do: The full word spread out across the duration of the gradual dynamic

You can also show two or more consecutive hairpins of the same direction that are separated by immediate dynamics as a single, continuous hairpin.

In Write mode, ungrouped gradual dynamics each have start and end handles that show their duration.

Gradual dynamic in Write mode showing start and end handles
  • Pairs of separate hairpins are treated differently than messa di voce hairpins. For example, separate hairpins each have start and end handles in Write mode, whereas messa di voce hairpins share a single center handle.

  • You can find options for the default appearance and position of all gradual dynamics project-wide on the Dynamics page in Engraving Options.