What are dynamics?

Learn about dynamics and the composers Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos
  • two activities to help with learning


Dynamics are how loud or quiet music is.

Watch this short film to find out more about dynamics and hear how the composer Tchaikovsky used it in his music.

Watch the Lightning Jelly band learn about dynamics with classical composer Tchaikovsky.

Dynamics are used to create different feelings in all kinds of music.

For example, a rock song like Song 2 by Blur has very quiet guitars first and then it changes to have really loud guitars.

In classical music, orchestras can play quietly or loudly. In Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, the music starts very quietly but it gets louder and louder to a big climax which includes cannons exploding!

Special words for dynamics

Italian words are often used for dynamics in music:

  • Pianissimo - very quiet
  • Forte - loud
  • Fortissimo - very loud
  • Diminuendo - gradually getting quieter
  • Crescendo - gradually getting louder

Activity 1

Watch this clip from the Ten Pieces Party Live Lesson.

Download this worksheet and listen for the instructions in the clip.

Learn about dynamics in Mussorgsky's A Night On The Bare Mountain with the BBC National Symphony of Wales conducted by Clark Rundell.

Activity 2

Learn more about Tchaikovsky with Twinkl

Learn about Tchaikovsky

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about dynamics.

Click on the links below for more music.

More lessons for Year 3 and P4

There's more to learn

KS2 Music
KS2 Music
Ten Pieces at home
Quizzes and videos
How to get singing with Andy