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Dynamics: Claude Champagne Danse Villageoise

In music, there are many expressive controls that composers and performers use to give it emotion and bring it to life. These elements include dynamics, which are the varying degrees of volume, as well as the intensity a note is played with.

Danse Villageoise, by Montreal-born Claude Champagne, makes wonderful use of dynamics to add interest and excitement to the main theme, which is repeated at different volumes and with different intensities. These variations are also highlighted by the different instruments that play each part. In the opening, you’ll hear the violins and flutes playing strong and loud, and the brass section playing accented notes for extra impact. The theme is then repeated by the cello at a quieter volume and with a softer approach.

Italian is the language used for most music terminology, including the following words that describe dynamics:

“Piano” (“p”) means soft, and tells a performer to play quietly.
“Mezzo-piano” (“mp”) means half soft, and tells a performer to play somewhat quietly.
“Mezzo-forte” (“mf”) means half strong, and tells a performer to play somewhat loudly.
“Forte” (“f”) means strong, and tells a performer to play loudly.

Use the Melody Tracker below to follow the principal line in Danse Villageoise. Notice how different sections of the Orchestra play the melody at different dynamics, which are also indicated in the Melody Tracker.

Recorded live at Roy Thomson Hall on June 11, 2017, by conductor Lucas Waldin and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.