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Crescendo and Decrescendo - Gradual Changes

Up to this point, all of the lessons in Time Expressions have required that you immediately change from one dynamic to another. We can make gradual changes in dynamics though, with crescendos and decrescendos. Scroll down for sample practice exercises from lesson 4 of the Time Expressions book.

Crescendo means to gradually play louder. It is represented by two lines like this:

Example of a crescendo marking in music.

A crescendo can also be indicated with the abbreviation cresc.

Decrescendo means to gradually play softer. It is represented by two lines like this:

Decrescendos can also be indicated with the abbreviation decresc.
Another musical instruction to gradually play softer is diminuendo, which is abbreviated in music with the letters dim.

For more exercises, as well as melodies and duets that focus on playing crescendos and decrescendos, purchase the Time Expressions book. You can also get a free sample PDF of Lesson 1 of the book.

Part 1 - Dynamics
Lesson 1 - Big Contrasts - Piano and Forte
Lesson 2 - Moderate Contrasts - Mezzo Piano and Mezzo Forte
Lesson 3 - Extended Range - Pianissimo and Fortissimo
Lesson 4 - Gradual Changes - Crescendo and Decrescendo

Exercises to practice crescendos and decrescendos.