Applying immediate dynamics to a duration

I just want a couple of adjacent notes to have a certain immediate dynamic, without having to explicitly notate the before and after dynamics.
When I apply an immediate dynamic to a note, it seems to be persisting for all subsequent notes, during playback. I.e - I’m applying “pp”, to a note, and from that point on, all notes are played pp. Is there a way to have the dynamic applied only to the selected note(s)?

You could draw a sharp dip in Play mode, I suppose, but no, you can’t easily do this in Write mode.

Using hidden dynamics to set and reset seems the most likely solution.

Thanks. Aside from playback, how is this normally notated? I feel like I want to put a “pp” between the two notes, and a little bracket that sort of encloses the notes, to show that it only applies to these two notes, and for the surrounding notes, the player ad-libs.

There are plenty of ways to mark individual notes as louder (at least two types of accent, sf, fp, etc) but there is nothing in commonly use music notation to mark a single note as softer, because for the last few hundred years no composers have felt the need for it. Probably for the good reason that a short softer note just “gets lost” and doesn’t have any impact on the listeners.

The marking pf has been suggested (meaning the opposite of fp) - except that it was already in use (rarely) as an abbreviation for “poco forte,” and having one dynamic mark meaning two different and opposite things is not a good communication strategy for human performers!

If you want to mark alternating notes with f and p, just do it. There is plenty of published music with dynamic marks like the attachment.

Thanks Rob.
Just btw, I found the “unstressed” articulation, but I suppose it’s very vague, and not commonly used for piano?
Here’s a thread about someone’s request for a “reverse accent”:
Maybe this just means “these notes would normally be stressed, because they fall on the beat, but please don’t stress these ones”. I.e - it doesn’t actually mean “play them softly”?

I can see this right there in the articulations palette. (it’s not playing back softly in my current default config, though)

In 50+ years of playing keyboards (and working with other musicians) I have never ever seen that “unstress” mark in a published score.

I guess some people use it, but don’t assume everybody knows what it means!

Contemporary composers invent new notations every day. Most of them don’t survive for much more than a day either, but they give musicologists something to write papers about.

The comment in the reddit thread that somebody wants a note to be “dramatically quiet” just doesn’t work in practice. The only “dramatic” feature about a “dramatically quiet” note is that nobody can hear it, unless you precede it with a long enough silence so it actually becomes “louder” than what happened before it.


PP it is then. Thanks.

Derrek’s suggestion of using hidden dynamics works well (thankyou) except for a TINY little problem: when I try to reset the dynamics, mp is a bit softer than the default playing intensity, and mf is a bit louder. I suppose I can just add a hidden “mf” right at the beginning to explicitly set the default, but I just thought I’d mention it.