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Definition of a Crescendo

Referencing Styles : MLA | Pages : 1

Definition of Crescendo:

The way by which music composers indicate the gradual increase in the loudness of music in a passage over time is known as Crescendo. A Crescendo is an opposite to the decrease in volume which is termed as Decrescendo. Crescendo is also used in non-musical contexts so as to describe the situation in which the volume of music gradually increases. For example, while attending an event, when one or more people enter, the pitch of conversation gradually gets louder as is well described as a situation of Crescendo. Crescendos can be identified easily as they can be seen prominently within a passage of music. Crescendo is usually denoted by the symbol of fortissimo which means playing very loudly.

Origin of Crescendo:

The word Crescendo is derived from the Italian word meaning becoming louder or gradually growing. The effect of Crescendo remains the same in almost all types of music performances however the specific indication of Crescendo is not often used in musical notations around the 17th century. Crescendo was broadly a part of the trend of composing music where the composers started controlling their performances on music more through dynamic markings in association with more specific performances. The hair pin symbol that is used to indicate a crescendo has started becoming standardized from 18th century.  A crescendo looks like a long V sign on its side starting with a small end at its left and opening towards the right.

Notation of Crescendo:

Crescendo is basically indicated by musical notation within the same space as that of the dynamic markings of the score. The word Crescendo can be written in its abbreviation form “cresc” or in other words meaning the use of hair pin. A crescendo continues until the forte at the end of 4th measure. The hair pin is alternatively written for the word crescendo directly in the score and is generally utilized in order to identify the increase in the volume of musical passage within a shorter duration of time.  However the duration of hair pins can be extended over several measures and in some cases it can last over only in a little measure.

Duration of Crescendo:

The duration of a crescendo is directly dependent on the distance between the markings of the initial indication of crescendo to that of the establishment of the level of the new volume via a dynamic mark. The dynamic mark is usually higher or louder than that of the dynamic starting of Crescendo at the initial moment. However for passages with longer duration a dash line gets extended from the word which is used to remind the performer about the continuous increase in the volume until the end of the line. On the other hand, if a hair pin gets used in case of a Crescendo then it is used to indicate the duration of the crescendo which generally lasts until the end of the hair pin regardless of the existence of the dynamic existence of the marking.

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