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This chapter will introduce the notion of Dynamics and how to use them in Harmony-Melody.


The sound made by a musical instrument can be louder or softer. On a piano, for example, the sound will be louder when the performer hits the keys hard than when he touches them lightly.
In musical computing, this notion is called note velocity.
In Harmony-Melody, a note velocity can vary from 0 (no sound at all) to 127 (loudest note).

There are several ways to change note velocity:

  • Changing the velocity of a single note: double-click on the note and edit its velocity numerically.

  • Changing the velocity for the whole selection range: select a group of notes and choose "Edit>Actions>Change velocities". You can then set the velocity of all notes in the selected range to a given value, or subtract or add a value to these velocities...

  • Editing staff velocities graphically: switch the staff to velocity editing mode by clicking on the Edit velocities icon to the left of the staff. Click on the red curve to edit graphically the velocities of notes in this staff.
The actions above permanently change the velocity value of a note.

Some note effects also permanently alter the velocity value of a note, for example staccato.

Dynamics can then change the played velocity of a note. These do not permanently change the velocity value of a note in the score, but only the way the note is played.
These options are grouped in the "Dynamics" palette.

A dynamics indicator applies to the staff it is drawn on, and remains active 'till the end of the staff or the next dynamics indicator, if any.
You can also set dynamics to apply to the whole score. It is then recommended that you group all these global dynamics in the first staff of the score.


To set a dynamics indicator, select it in the Dynamics palette, and click on the score: it is inserted into the score.

Double-clicking on the object enters edit mode and enables you  to change its settings. Here is what this kind of object looks like in Harmony-Melody:

There are two types of dynamics indicators:
  • Indicators like the one on the left increase or decrease the force (velocity) of played notes. They are called crescendo and decrescendo. The velocity will change smoothly from the beginning of the symbol to its end. When inserting such an item into your score, keep the mouse button depressed and drag to extend the item's scope.

  • Indicators like the one on the right set the notes' volume. The played velocity will remain increased or decreased until another dynamics indicator is encountered. The symbol is an abbreviation of its italian name:

  • pp Pianissimo Very quiet
    p Piano Quiet
    mp Mezzo Piano Moderately quiet
    mf Mezzo Forte Moderately loud
    f Forte Loud
    ff Fortissimo Very loud
Note: The actual note velocity is not really changed by a dynamics indicator, only the audio output (or digital export) is altered.

To edit a dynamics indicator, double-click it. Here are the settings you can change:
  • Dynamic strength: from 0 to 500%. This ratio is applied to the actual note velocity when played. Values below 100% will decrease the played velocity of the note (note output volume will be lower), values above 100 will increase the played velocity of the note (note output volume will be higher). In the case of crescendo or decrescendo you can set the ratio of initial to final volumes.

  • You can define whether the indicator actually acts on notes, or whether it is only a graphical symbol.

  • You can define whether the indicator acts on the staff it is inserted in, on all merged staves, on all staves in group (defined by a brace) or on all staves of the score.

  • The displayed text can be changed. Input the text to be displayed in place of the regular dynamics symbol. You can use the following patterns: $p to display the "p" dynamics symbol, or $f, $m, $z. The $x pattern will display the default text for this type of symbol.  For example, "$x the second time" will display "ppp the second time" if the dynamic is a "ppp".

  • Times: a dynamic can be set up to activate only at given repeat counters. Remember, to repeat a part of the score several times, use break symbols and barlines.
    For example, you can define a set of bars that will be repeated three times, the first time "fortissimo", the last one "pianissimo".
    By specifying a velocity of 0 the 'n'th time, you define a Tacet. This allows you to mute an instrument at a given repeat count.

  • Cumulative: In regular use, when a dynamic is included in a repeated part, the velocity is set to the ratio defined for that dynamic each time.
    If the "cumulative" mode is activated, at each repeat the ratio will be applied on top of the previous one. This allows you to define a "Repeat and fade" section, for example: apply a decrescendo from 100% to 80% on a set of repeated bars and activate the cumulative mode.
Note: You can apply any dynamics strength ratio to any dynamics item. However, it is recommended that you keep some coherence within a score, for readability.
For example, avoid defining a Pianissimo louder than a Forte...

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