When musicians talk about dynamics, they are basically referring to how loudly or softly you play a note or chord. Again, the dynamic markings in music have Italian names. Here they are with their symbols:
• pp: Pianissimo (very quietly)
• p: Piano (quiet)
• mp: Mezzo piano (moderately quiet)
• mf: Mezzo forte (moderately loud)
• f: Forte (loud)
• ff: Fortissimo (very loud)
“Staccato” means short and sharp. When you play staccato, you keep the rhythm of the piece, but you play the notes for a shorter duration than you normally would. Staccato notes are often marked with dots underneath.
The opposite of staccato is “legato,” which means slurred. Here you slur the notes together, maybe playing one note and hammering down on the next note using left-hand fingering alone.