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Intensities of Orchestral Instrument Scales Played at Prescribed Dynamic Markings

The intensities of scales played on nonpercussive orchestral instruments at various dynamic markings and the resulting dynamic ranges are reported. We are able to deduce the size quanta corresponding to one step in a dynamic marking and the number of quanta in the dynamic range of a musical instrument using deviations from smoothed curves. The average dynamic range of the nonpercussive orchestral instruments in about 11 db between the dynamic marking of pianissimo and fortissimo; the average intensity at 10 meters is about 59 db re 0.0002 dynes/cm2.

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