What is dynamic range in music?


What is dynamic range in music?

In: Technology

It’s the difference between how loud and how soft a song gets. Does it stay just loud, does it just stay soft, or does it have changes in how loud or soft it is?

Dynamics in music are about how loud or soft you want things to be.


Sheet music is covered in things called “dynamic markings” to indicate this – someone playing along with the written part might be tagged to play softly in one section (piano) then get louder (up to forte), then go back down to very soft (pianissimo). Sheet music needs instructions about not just pitch (higher and lower notes) or tempo (speed), but also force and power (louder and softer).

The dynamic range is a way of talking about everything included in that variation. Whether it’s talking about a snatch of a few bars within a piece, or talking about what a single instrument (like a violin or a trumpet) does through a whole piece…when you talk about dynamic range you’re highlighting and getting detailed about that contrast.

So the answers you’ve already gotten are great, and correct from a musical angle. However, I see that you’ve used the *Technology* flair, so I’m guessing your question has to do with recorded music.
Music has been trending louder and louder for years now and with less dynamic range. This is a problem because it means your ears don’t get a break from dealing with high volume. Over time, this can lead to hearing loss. Upshot is that you should be careful listening to music at high volumes, such as at concerts. Musicians’ earplugs are good for that — the sound is muted without the distortion that normal earplugs cause.