Common Expressive Markings in Music


This article fills the need for a compilation of expressive markings commonly found in published music.

Each term and its definition is listed, organized into appropriate categories.

Beyond simply learning what these symbols mean, they will suggest options for you to use in your compositional efforts.


The material in this article is collected in six separate categories.

These categories consist of markings to navigate through a piece of music, standard tempo settings, types of tempo alteration, variations in dynamics (performance volume), more generally expressive instructions and varieties of technique.

With no claim to being thoroughly comprehensive, you will nonetheless find here a very substantial break-out of the typical markings in published music.


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