Dynamics determine how loud a certain section of a piece is going to be; the volume. Not all the instruments playing at a certain moment in time have to have the same dynamic. Here is a list of the different names of dynamics, their short form (what the player playing your music will see), and how loud they are.
Fortississimo - fff - The sound your mother makes when I screw her
Fortissimo - ff - Really loud
Forte - f - Loud
Mezzo Forte - mf - Medium Loud
Mezzo Piano - mp - Medium Soft
Piano - p - Soft
Pianissimo - pp - Really Soft
Pianississimo - ppp - Did you hear that?
To indicate a gradual change between dynamics, you can put a crecendo (either displayed as crec. or a long "<") which indicates to gradually get louder, or a decrecendo (either displayed as a dim. or a long ">") which indicates to gradually get softer. To indicate a sudden change in dynamic you can put right next to the dynamic, the word "subito", or you can put behind the dynamic the letters "sf".
To make only one note extremely loud, put under the note the letters "sfz" which pronounce, "sforzando".
To make a note start off loud, but then get soft put the letters "fp" which pronounce (obviously) forte-piano.
There is not much to explain in this section besides that you put articulations on top of or below of a note and that tells the person reading your music, how to play the note. Here is a list of them, and if you want to learn what they look like, use Google:
Staccato - Play the note short
Leggato - Play the note long, but still have a very slight separation between notes
Slur - Play notes connected
Accent - Play notes with some seperation and a little louder
Staccatissimo - Stronger accent
That's about all the basic ones!
The ear, listening to a song, can usually stand about two minutes and thirty seconds of one type of key. If you are writing pop music, this doesn't really concern you, but if you are writing classical, jazz, or someting that sometimes takes longer than two minutes and thirty seconds, listen up!
When the ear hears the same key signature for the above mentioned time, it will get bored of it. To fix that, you can change keys in the middle of a piece!!! This is called a modulation. The most common way (which you don't have to follow because you are a composer who can do whatever you want) is by using the secondary dominant of the second key.
So, let's say that you are in A major, and you wanted to modulate to E major. You think... what is the V7 of E major... it's B dom. 7! Now, there are many ways to get to B dom. 7 from A major, such as I to V to II7 or I to IV to iii to II7, but I'm a god dang sissy so I'm just going to go from A maj. to B dom. 7. Once I'm at B dom. 7 I can then safely modulate to E major by writing in an E major chord in the music and call that my I maj. chord.
One thing that I find that many composers don't understand, is that you DO NOT have to have all the notes in the chord for it to be a certain chord. It might be tricky for people analyzing your music to find out what the chord is and sometimes the answer for them is imbiguous, but again, you DO NOT have to have all the notes in the chord for it to be a certain chord. In this case, they would have to look at the chord's context and try to figure it out from there. It can be tricky for analyzers at times, but who gives a crap about them; YOU are the composer.
Here is an easy example. Let's say I'm writing for a trombone trio and I want the chords: V7 to I in C major. I only have three instruments, but for the V7 chord I can leave out the fifth of the chord, leaving me with the notes: G, B, and F.
It is because of implied chords, that I can ananlyze the infamous song "Chopsticks":
V7 to I to V to vi to vii to I
A few rules about implied chords though:
1) 19 out of 20 times, you can't leave out the root of the chord
2) If you have the choise to leave out the 3rd or the 5th, you usually want to leave out the 5th
3) An extention is NOT an extention if the extention is not there (G B D is never a G7)
Another thing that many composers don't understand is that that the bottemest most note does NOT have to be the root. When this is the case, we call these chords inversions. However, we have special classification names for these types of chords.
When there isn't a 7th to the chord and the 3rd is the bottomest note we put a 6 after the roman numeral. We also call this a chord in 1st inversion.
When there isn't a 7th to the chord and the 5th is the bottomest note we put a 6 after the roman numeral with a 4 under it. We call this a chord in 2nd inversion.
When there is a 7th to the chord and the 3rd is the bottomest note we put a 6 after the roman numeral with a 5 under it. We call this a chord in 1st inversion.
When there is a 7th to the chord and the 5th is the bottomest note we put a 4 after the roman numeral with a 3 under it. We call this a chord in 2nd inversion.
When there is a 7th to the chord and the 7th is the bottomest note we put a 4 after the roman numeral with a 2 under it. We call this a chord in 3rd inversion.
One thing that you might want to avoid (you don't have to because you can do whatever you want as a composer) because it has a very odd sound, is parallel 5ths and parallel 8ths.
A parallel 5th is when you have 2 notes, let us say C and G, and they move the same interval up or down. Let us say, for the sake of examples, that the notes (played by the same instruments) moved to D and A. This does not sound good (not that you can do it) and you usually do not want to do it.
This is the same concept with 8ths except for octaves!
CONTINUED IN NEXT POST (please don't post in this thread yet)