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Drum Dynamics

An excellent overview of dynamics marks can be found in the book Band Expressions (link).
A good introductory video on dynamics (link).

Dynamic levels

fff = fortississimo = loudest
ff = fortissimo = louder
f = forte = loud, full stroke ~5 inches, center
mf = mezzo forte = medium loud, center
mp = mezzo piano = medium soft, off the center
p = piano = soft, strike at ~2 inches off the center
pp = pianissimo = softer
ppp = pianississimo = softest

One of the main ways to control dynamics with a drumset is adjusting the stick height when striking a drum / cymbal.
Another way to increase the volume would be to use the stick shoulder to hit the drum/cymbal.


  • Theory, Wikipedia (link).
  • Dynamics - general (song/part), interdynamics (each instrument/limb, link), stick height, stick selection, etc.
  • Ghost notes (Bernard Purdie link, Beginner Ghost Notes link)
  • Interdynamics, the relation among the individual drum levels; video (link)
  • Snare drum dynamics (link).
  • Percussion Guide for the Beginning Band Student, Lesson Six: Dynamics / Height of Stick (link)