According to, a musical style known as terraced dynamics is marked by sudden volume changes from gentle to loud and back again within a composition. Terraced dynamics disregard the usual crescendo and decrescendo’s gradual volume adjustments.

Due to the popularity of the harpsichord during the Renaissance and Baroque eras, terraced dynamics are most frequently used in classical compositions from these periods. Similar to the piano, the harpsichord is a Medieval musical instrument that frequently has two keyboards to provide a wider melodic range. The harpsichord lacks the ability to produce nuanced loudness changes, in contrast to the piano. Terraced dynamics are common in Renaissance and Baroque music because of this constraint; as crescendos and decrescendos were typically not allowed, composers were obliged to use this more abrupt form.

However, there are some differences of opinion among academics over the extent of terraced dynamics’ application. Robert Donington, a musicologist, claims that baroque players used rather complex techniques to continuously change volume without using notation. For instance, a musician may vary the level subtly by playing more keys simultaneously because the chord got louder as the number of keys increased. Despite these defences, it is evident that terraced dynamics became more and more common over time, indicating they were the standard in Baroque music. Volume notation became increasingly sophisticated as music developed, indicating that earlier volume changes were likely considerably easier.

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