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A quick Guide To Crescendo In Music

Crescendo In Music

Crescendo In Music

The use of crescendo in music is mainly for performance purposes. The term crescendo in music has to do with musical expression in relation to the volume of the music.

Specifically, the crescendo in music tells the performer how a passage of music should be performed in relation to its volume.

It is a common thing in modern music to perform the music at different volumes. This may be done by gradually increasing the volume of the music or gradually decreasing the volume of the music.

Basically, crescendo is what we do when we increase the volume of a section of music gradually.

On the other hand, decrescendo is a gradual decrease in the volume of the music, and it is the opposite of crescendo.

Note that with the crescendos the volume gradually goes up, while the volume gradually goes down with the decrescendo.

What Is Crescendo In Music?

Crescendo is an Italian word pronounced ” kruh-shen-dow” and used for dynamics in music.

The word crescendo comes from the Italian word “crescere“, which means “to grow” in English. It is used for dynamics in music, and what it grows is the volume of the music.

As a result, we can say the crescendo is slowly growing in volume over a period of time.

But what is the perfect crescendo definition? The crescendo definition is basically a gradual increase in the volume of a musical passage. Therefore, we can describe crescendo as the gradual or subtle increase in loudness of a musical passage.

This means that a musical passage marked with a crescendo should be gradually increased in volume as time goes on.

A crescendo will help every singer and musical performer smoothly go from soft to loud.

How to use Crescendo in Music notation

A crescendo is a gradual increase in the loudness or volume of a musical section.

Composers mark a section of music they want to gradually get louder with a crescendo.

For example, if a section of music begins with pianissimo and changes gradually to piano until it reaches fortissimo, it is marked with crescendo dynamics.

The crescendo as a dynamic marking covers all the notes involved in the crescendo.

For example, let’s assume that the crescendo starts at bar 5 and ends with the last note inside bar 10. All the notes from bar 5 to bar 10 will be marked with a crescendo.

Crescendo can appear on a note or two and can be used on multiple notes and cover multiple measures.

A short crescendo is one on one or two notes, and it creates an effect of sudden loudness.

However, a short crescendo cannot be considered as the crescendo because the volume change cannot be gradual enough.

The crescendo over multiple notes creates a more gradual increase in volume and change in dynamics.

How to Notate a Crescendo in Sheet Music?

Crescendo notation In Music

The crescendo can be notated in sheet music in two different ways. These two ways are the use of the word and the symbols for crescendo.

Symbolic Notation Of Crescendo In Music

Crescendo Marking Sample

The crescendo symbol used in music notation is like a hairpin, which is closed on the left side and open on the right side. The closed side represents lower or softer volume, while the open side represents louder or stronger volume.

In all, the closed left side and open right side of the hairpin are used to specify a gradual increase in volume from the closed side to the opened side.

Also, we can say that the dynamic markings used for crescendo are a widespread less than (<) symbol.

This method places the crescendo dynamics marking at the exact length of the measure that the crescendo takes effect.

Sometimes it shows the defined volume using static dynamics markings at the beginning and end of the musical passage where the crescendo takes effect.

Word Notation Of Crescendo In Music

Crescendo notation with word

The other method we can use to notate a crescendo in sheet music is by using the word “crescendo” itself.

Moreover, the abbreviated form of crescendo, “cres“, can also be used to specify crescendo in sheet music.

Note that both the word and the abbreviation mean the same thing with the symbols but with some little differences.

The word or its abbreviation is usually placed at the point where the crescendo takes effect and starts to increase in volume.

Sometimes composers use other dynamics markings like forte (f) or fortissimo (ff) to specify where the effect of crescendo reaches its peak.

The composer can also leave the performers to interpret the crescendo the way they want by writing only the words (without dynamic markings).

How to Play or Sing Crescendos

Your ability to play or sing crescendo correctly improves your playing or singing skills. The reason is that you will be able to express an idea, thought, or emotion through your playing or singing.

Basically, crescendo, like other dynamics in music, allows the composer to create tension, intensity, and emotion. At the same time, it allows the performer to play the instrument or sing with them as well.

How to play Crescendos

Playing the crescendo should be easy, provided you know what it means to crescendo and how to create that effect.

To achieve a good crescendo, you should know the minimum and maximum volume of your instrument.

This calls for mastery of the dynamic range of your musical instrument.

You play crescendo by gradually increasing the volume and making sure the dynamics shift is not sudden.

All you need to do is shift the dynamics little by little and gradually increase the volume of the musical passage.

You should also extend the change in dynamics through the length of the musical passage marked with the crescendo. 

How Do You Sing Crescendo?

The crescendo is a way of going gradually from soft to loud while singing.

To sing a crescendo from soft to loud, you should not start from your loudest level of voice and then take it up or make it louder.

Doing that will make you yell, and you will not sound good. Always remember that you need to sound good while singing crescendo.

Therefore, start singing at the lowest level of your voice and gradually increase the dynamics.

This is the best way to crescendo because you will be able to go from low to loud easily and sound good at the same time.


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