Dynamic "mpz"

I ran across a piece of music that had the rather odd dynamic of force “mpz”. Dorico does not support this dynamic, and I’ve never seen it before. I’m not even sure how you would pronounce it (“mezzopianzando”?). This dynamic appears on an accented note in a mp section of music. Has anyone seen this before, and is it worthwhile for the Dorico team to add it to the Force/Intensity of Attack dynamics?

Would a “create your own dynamic” feature be useful?

I haven’t seen that one but I have seen pfz in the Boccherini/Grützmacher Cello Concerto. The only way I could find to make this dynamic look satisfactory was to first enter p and fz separately and then adjust their positions in engrave mode. It was not fun and I would have appreciated a “create your own dynamic feature.”


“mpz” sounds like some typical academic silliness. Rather than supporting every nonsensical musical whim, I am much more interested in seeing the real dynamics sound at least somewhat realistic in playback.

I would ordinarily agree that this sounds like some typical academic silliness, but the guy who wrote it is Alfred Reed, a well-known prolific concert band composer. Unfortunately he’s no longer with us, so we can’t ask him why he did it. It’s superfluous in my opinion.

Stew, that’s a clever work-around, but I agree that having pfz as a native dynamic (or one that you could create yourself) would be better. That work-around doesn’t work for mpz, though. I’m not certain mpz is even needed. Whoever heard of “pianzando” anyway? :slight_smile:

Just write it using Text or as a custom Playing Technique.

Quite easy with the playing technique editor:
Perhaps one day there will be a dynamics editor as well, so that we can create custom dynamics in the dynamis menu as well. Would be more natural than to look into the playing techniques editor.

Percy Grainger had some rather quirky markings in his music. But at least what he wrote made sense. A musician could read his markings and play accordingly. “mpz” is just gibberish – probably some kind of musical inside joke. I would hate to see Dorico get so cluttered as to support every last nonsensical gesture any composer could conceive of.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to Dorico’s authentic playback interpretations of such classic instructions from Satie as ‘Light as an egg’ and ‘Open your head’. Perhaps Daniel could let us know if they are planned for the next update.

I truly love composers like Satie and Grainger. And I love those markings. I take them to mean “Be a musician. Play with some spirit and imagination”. They are more like coaching than instructing.

Meanwhile I would be elated if Dorico would just make crecendos and fp sound halfway realistic. One step at a time.

Ah, the Playing Technique Editor! Brilliant! That works great, but it does have the minor disadvantage that it doesn’t align itself or group with other dynamics nearby (since it’s a playing technique, not a dynamic), so you have to tweak its position in Engrave mode. No biggie, though. And thanks to John Barron for showing us how to do this in the latest Discover Dorico video. Very timely!

Yes, that’s why I am hoping for a “dynamic editor”. Than you could create custom dynamics and group and link them with other dynamics. Just dreaming … … but not high priority.

I, too, would like to see a dynamic editor. I am currently doing a piece by Grainger. And as I have come to learn, Grainger used what he called “Blue-eyed English”.

“Blue-eyed English” is a term created by Grainger. His desire was to create an English word or phrase to replace musical expressions commonly written in French, German, or Italian. As a result, newly formed English words and phrases of clever originality are found throughout his works.

Throughout this score are words like ‘soften’ and ‘louden’, to replace ‘crescendo’ and ‘diminuendo’. He even has a ‘louden lots’ used several places.

While I don’t care too much for this… in trying to stick to the original way it was done, having a dynamic editor would be great.


If we could simply hide the gradual marking while retaining the prefixes and suffixes, as we can do for other dynamic markings, that would be solved. And it’s certainly possible if you don’t need to playback to follow along or if you don’t mind working around it with a second hidden expression, for example — which would absolutely be the case in other softwares. No need for a fancy dynamic editor when the base model already contemplates such a case.

“louden hugely!”, with the exclamation mark, is my personal favourite.

Edit (to avoid further off-topic bloat): I also have a vague memory of “accompanyingly” in some of his part-songs.

Wonder if instead of morendo he considered using “drop dead”?

Hi HeiPet,
How did you do this? I’m obviously not understanding something because I can’t figure out how to get the font to match the normal dynamic fonts. I’m trying to get “rfp”. I find it a little frustrating that Dorico doesn’t let me simply type in the dynamics I want. I think “rfp” is a perfectly sensible marking (I could have used something like “fp” or “sfp”, but the implication is subtly different), and I don’t care about playback, only appearance.

Don’t create the PT as text; add it as a glyph. Then edit the PT, and add the dynamics glyphs.

Terrific! Thank you!

I agree. I have played a lot of Reed’s music and never saw any indication of such playfulness. I don’t know anything about his personality, but maybe he did have a witty streak. In this case, it does indeed seem like gibberish, to the point of suspecting a misprint.

If musicians can’t say how to play this marking, then it makes no sense for Dorico to implement this nonsense. If somebody put a gun to my head and asked me to say what it means, I’d say “The composer wants you to play mp in a very deliberate way.” But of course, subito mp would accomplish the same thing.