Softer than Pianissimo

"Pianississimo" is an Italian musical term that translates to "very, very soft" or "extremely soft" in English. It serves as a dynamic marking in sheet music to indicate that a passage should be performed with the quietest and most delicate volume possible.

"Pianississimo" is an intensification of the dynamic marking "pianissimo", signifying an even greater level of softness and subtlety. In sheet music, it is often represented by the abbreviation "ppp". It directs performers to approach the music with the utmost gentleness and restraint. This dynamic instruction is quite rare and is reserved for moments of exceptional quietness and intimacy in the composition.

When encountering a "Pianississimo" marking, musicians are tasked with producing the softest possible sound. It denotes a degree of quietness that surpasses even the level of "pianissimo", making it an indication for the most delicate and intimate passages in the piece.

Composers employ "Pianississimo" sparingly, typically using it for moments of profound emotional subtlety, tranquility, or heightened intimacy in the music. By utilizing this dynamic marking, composers aim to create a profound sense of stillness and introspection that captures the listener's attention.

Executing "Pianississimo" demands exceptional control and finesse. Musicians must generate a sound that is barely audible, cultivating an atmosphere of extreme quietness and vulnerability within the musical context.

Example of Pianississimo

How to play Pianissimo (pp) and softer (ppp) on the piano