Pronunciation: FOR-tay-pee-A-noe

What is Fortepiano?

Fortepiano is a term in music dynamics that means to play a note loudly, then becoming very soft immediately after. It comes from the Italian words “forte,” which means “loud,” and “piano,” which means “soft.”

Key Takeaways

  1. Fortepiano means “loudsoft,” defined as a sudden change in the music volume dynamic.
  2. Fortepiano means to play loudly followed immediately by playing softly.
  3. Fortepiano is symbolized by the abbreviation “fp” on a musical chart.

Understanding Fortepiano

Fortepiano is abbreviated with “fp” on a musical chart, to indicate a section of the music in which the music should be played loudly then softly. It is also not unusual for this section of the composition to be followed by a crescendo, which is the gradual increase in dynamics.

Fortepiano is also known as the earlier form of the piano originating in the 18th and 19th century, offering a smaller range of softer timbre.

One classical example of the fortepiano dynamic is the beginning part of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8.

Related Terms

Dynamics Dynamics is the term that conveys the variation in loudness between notes or phrases in musical composition. more

Decrescendo Decrescendo is a type of dynamic change in a musical composition. more

Fortissimo Fortissimo is a type of musical dynamic that means “very loud.” more

Flautando Flautando is a directive in music reserved for string instruments such a the violin, viola, and cello. more

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