Is there a way to have sforzando only affect 1 note instead of acting like a fortissimo dynamic?

• Dec 13, 2021 - 19:57

So, this is an issue that I have come across many times, especially in Beethoven arrangements because Beethoven uses sforzando a lot. And that is how to have the sforzando not act like a fortissimo dynamic. This becomes especially problematic at crescendos with sforzando, because it's wanting to crescendo to fortissimo too soon. And sometimes this sforzando will even override a piano dynamic that comes after it, making all the notes of that quiet passage have a note velocity of 112, which corresponds to a fortissimo dynamic. What I have done in the past for this sforzando issue is 2 things, one for crescendos and one for sudden attacks without a crescendo.

Crescendo case:

1) Put in the crescendo where I want it
2) Add the dynamic I want to crescendo to(usually it's forte or fortissimo in the case of a sforzando crescendo)
3) Add a dynamic before the crescendo if I have to
4) Shift + V on the sforzando notes to add an accent mark

This gives the effect of a sforzando without the notation of a sforzando and makes it so the crescendo doesn't happen too quickly.

Sudden attack case:

1) Add a forte dynamic
2) Edit the text of the forte dynamic to have an s right before the f, not in bold
3) Add quieter dynamic if it goes back to a quiet dynamic and make it invisible if it's the same dynamic(so like piano to sforzando and back to piano, the second piano dynamic would be invisible) or don't do it if it stays loud afterwards(so sforzando to forte, both would be visible)

This gives both the effect and look of a sforzando without running into the fortissimo issue.

But what if I want it to look like sforzando in the notation of the crescendo case? As I am orchestrating a Beethoven Sonata with said sforzando crescendo, this is really what I'm after, a way for it to look like a sforzando and not have the crescendo be too quick. I can't really use any of the dynamics from the palette for this, as any dynamic will affect the length of the crescendo or override it entirely, so what do I do?

Here's what I'm after in the notation:
Sforzando crescendo.PNG

But if I do that with sforzandos from the palette like I just did, the whole first violin passage sounds fortissimo while the other strings crescendo, and it overrides the diminuendo to piano in the first violin. If I were to do this with forte dynamics and edit the forte dynamics like I do in the sudden attack case, I'd have the same thing happening 1 dynamic level down, an overriding forte. So what should I do?

Attachment Size
Piano Sonata no. 1 in F minor.mscz 30.91 KB


My immediate thoughts are to add the sf(s) in staff text with text style set to 'dynamics'. Then set the velocity individually by note if needed
- not elegant but should work.

This could be simplified if dynamics had a 'play' option to un-check.

In the Inspector, you can set the "velocity change" for the dynamic, which controls how much to reduce it after the initial attack. You'll have to do the math to figure out whatvalue you need to get the final result you want. Eg, mp is 64, sf has an initial velocity of 112, so you'll need a velocity reduction of 112 - 64, which is 48, to return to mp. A value of -48 will achieve this result.

And yes, someday it will be nice if this could happen automatically.

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