Dynamics and how it works (for piano)


So I could use some help and clarification in exactly how the dynamics in Dorico works for Particularly piano (so that I use them right).

So firstly, I would like to know if I need to insert dynamics for both the Treble and the Bass clef if I want all the notes to have same dynamics?
For example: I want both the treble and bas clef to be piano (“p”), do I only need to put a “p” under the Treble clef in this and the Bass clef will automatically follow, or do I also need to insert “p” under the Bass clef to make it piano as well?

(I have the same question regarding Force/Intensity of attack - if it’s needed to be specified under both clefs if I want all the notes to have the same intensity, or if it’s sufficient to only specify it under one of the clefs).

Additionally, I am wondering about having different dynamics at the same time, for example - if I put “pp” under the Bass clef and “p” under the Treble clef, will this make the dynamics for the two clefs different when playing the music?

Lastly, if possible, I would highly appreciate if someone could clarify me the difference between “mfz”, “sfz”, “rfz” and “fz”?

Thank you in advance

No. By default, dynamics apply to the entirety of the instrument, and you only need to enter them underneath the treble stave.

There are some extra steps involved when you want accurate playback for this kind of thing. Firstly, go to Play mode, flip open the Piano instrument and activate this toggle:
Schermafbeelding 2021-09-03 om 21.49.22

This will open up as many different instances of the VST instrument as you have “voices” in the piano at that point, so at least two—one per stave. Note: when you subsequently add voices or staves to the piano, you will need to re-toggle this switch for the changes to take effect in playback.
Then, any dynamics which you want to apply to one voice/stave only, make sure the caret is in the correct voice, and confirm the popover with Alt+Enter instead of Enter.

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Try this…Grand staff dynamic playback

I’ve never encountered mfz in a score (though I know it’s on the dynamic panel).
sfz (and fz) = sforzando
rfz = rinforzano

Concerning sf, sfz, rfz etcetera: they all pretty much mean “accented” or “emphasized” in some way or other but their precise intended meanings vary from composer to composer. Many people have done a musicology about it and still they don’t always agree. I don’t believe Dorico makes any distinction in playback between any of them either, simply raising the dynamic for that particular note. And I’ve never seen mfz in the wild either, seems rather esoteric.

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If I’m remembering correctly, you can find both mfz and pfz markings in the Grützmacher edition of the Boccherini cello concerto.


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And here I thought mfz meant obscenely loud. :smiling_imp:

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Yes, Dorico doesn’t actually support any of these markings— raising the volume is not the same as employing a particular kind of accent. You need to look to the specific library for what has actually been sampled. Sf nearly always is but the more esoteric ones rarely


I’m having the same issue with a piano patch. Currently, it doesn’t seem to be recognizing the dynamic marking in the bass clef when I put a dynamic marking under the treble staff. Please could you post an update to how dynamics work in Dorico 4. I can’t find this workflow in the play mode for my Dorico 4 version and I’m unsure if this has something to do with Dorico preferences.

Welcome to the forum, @Ebie. What playback device are you using? If you’re using NotePerformer, then it doesn’t support playing back different dynamics in different hands/voices, unless you use independent voice playback. Or are you using a different playback device?


I am using Noteperformer. Is there a video detailing the different scenarios and the workarounds or improvements in Dorico 4?

You should find it’s as simple as switching to Play mode, selecting the piano instrument in the track overview, opening the Routing section of the track inspector at the left-hand side, and clicking the button to activate independent voice playback.