Importance of Tempo and Dynamics when playing the piano

Importance of Tempo and Dynamics when playing the piano


If you are among the piano students that stood in front of a music sheet, trying to make sense out of lots of foreign words and weird symbols, this is your article!

Traditionally in Classical music, speed and dynamics are written in Italian. This is an ancient tradition that started in the Baroque period (c. 1660), so as you can see, it is very old!

Italy was a significant country in the arts, not only music, especially in the North of Italy, where Florence was the pinnacle.

All piano tutors know very well that when approaching the study of any piece of music, not only the notes and values are essential, but the way we play them gives the right character to the music.

In order to express the composer's intention, we need to study the dynamics and speed thoroughly. 


Dynamics reinforce a significant passage within a piece or the directional motion we desire to achieve towards a climax within a section or a phrase.

Conversely, a soft dynamic passage can mean various things: an echo of a phrase, an afterthought of an idea, or merely the calm that precedes the storm.

The speed or "Tempo" (which in Italian means literally "Time) also provides the character. In times when the metronome had not been invented yet, the speed was given with indications such as "Andante" (at a walking speed), or "Presto" (fast and lively), even "moderato" (moderated". All these indications are both useful to give a relative speed and the personality as well.

As you can imagine, there is a long list of terms that we need to cover, but every one of them as a specific way to portray the intention within a piece. Studying these words is paramount for every performer. However, the correct pronunciation is not relevant, at least to recognize them in the music sheet and translate them into music definitively is!

Go to the links aforementioned to learn more about these two subjects on our website. Tempo and Dynamics explained deeply for you all.


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