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What Are Drumming Dynamics?

Learn about drumming dynamics from drum teacher Jason Gianni in this Howcast drum video.


In all forms of music while you're reading music you're going to encounter a term called dynamics. Now, dynamics could either be written on a piece of music, or it could be just sort of a general thing that you discuss with who you're playing, with the band playing softer or playing louder. Dynamics are basically just the level of volume that you're playing at, whether you're playing soft, medium, or loud, and there are specific terms that date back to the history of reading music that are good to get familiar with.

The basic range for dynamics, of course from being from soft to loud, starts at pianissimo which is marked with the little p on music. Pianissimo means soft. You can go a little bit even further than that where you have two or three p's, and it means getting even softer and even softer. An example of playing pianissimo, or very soft, would be something to the effect of.

The next dynamic level up would be mezzo piano, meaning medium loud. We're just getting a little bit above pianissimo. An example of that would be.

The following dynamic level after that would be mezzo forte which is marked with an m and an f. That means medium loud. For this you want to start getting closer to the middle of the snare drum, and you want to start a little bit more motion in your arms. That would sound like.

The higher level of dynamics you get to you start getting into the forte range which is marked with an f. Forte would be nice and loud. It stands for loud in general, and it would sound like this.

At that point I'm doing a full stroke, and I'm really driving into the snare drum. Of course, that's not the loudest dynamic. You have fortissimo which is two f's. Even past that, where you really hit the drum really loud.

Typically, your range is about piano to forte.

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