Dynamics indicate the loudness of the music, and can be combined with other instructions to give the performer a detailed understanding of how to perform the music, while also leaving room for interpretation.

Dynamics can indicate an immediate change in volume or a gradual change over a specified duration. By default, they are placed below the staff for instruments and above the staff for voices.

Figure 1. A phrase with multiple different dynamics

You can add modifiers to dynamics that can give stylistic direction context alongside the volume level, such as espressivo, which indicates that a passage is played loudly but also with expressive feeling.

While almost all expression text is written in italics, dynamics such as and use a bold italic font.