Dynamics in music seems to be a concept getting lost in modern music. By modern music, I mean what is played on the radio. We turn the thing on and the sounds come out at full blast. The singer is full blast, the drums are full blast, the bass are full blast, even the commercials in between songs are full blast or the voice of the speakers of the shows are full blast. The only dynamic they’ve got in stock is this one: full blast!
So, to achieve a little bit of dynamics, composers turn to space and orchestration. Meaning instead of having the song played by let’s say 8 instruments going at maximum volume all the time, they arrange a part in the tune where 5 of them are going to drop out, providing a little relief for the delicate ears of the listeners. The 3 instruments left will still be going full blast mind you, but their reduced number will make it less invasive. And so, that seems to be the way we conceive dynamics.
But what does dynamics represent in music (no fair looking at the title of this blog right now). Yes!?? Who said “emotion”? Someone in the back of the room. Very good! I’ll give you a B, because you were only half asleep.
Classical music, a reference among educated musicians, will have a lot of dynamics. Sometimes, I think that the study of an instrument in classical music is nothing but how to play the darn thing soft and loud and everything in between (Besides studying the technique, of course). Dynamics are at the heart of what move people inside. Is it becoming a lost art?
I would dare to say No! And that’s a hard NO! Music of today, same as the one that has always been played, is using dynamics. Now, it might be hidden in the mix a bit. But it’s there! When you are putting together a rock band, you will be obliged to look at dynamics. To make sure that the singer doesn’t get buried, for example. To also make sure that the guitar player doesn’t takes up too much space (as they are known to do if their amps are taller than the Hancock Tower). To not fatigue the audience. And,so, I am proud to announce that this is the very reason why one should go to concerts, to hear the music the way it is supposed to be listened to: with the heart lodge right in the center of it.