Although it should be possible to create a single musical dynamic symbol (like ff for fortissimo or sfz for sforzato) by creating an in-line lilypond-book fragment, hiding the staff etc. and somehow centering these symbols around an invisible note, I was wondering if there was a simpler way to do the same? Is there a workaround in LaTeX for this which would not require invoking lilypond-book for only putting a simple dynamic symbol?

2 Answers 2


MusiXTeX uses the normal "bold italic" font for the dynamic marks: {\textbf{\textit{sfz}}, but with a small kern between the letters.

It's so not necessary to load all of MusiXTeX:

\newcommand{\muskern}{\kern-.15ex } % what MusiXTeX does

% if only a couple of dynamic marks are needed, this is easier
\newcommand{\sfz}{\textnormal{\textbf{\textit{s\muskern f\muskern z}}}}

% a more general command


X\sfz X




enter image description here

  • Ok, I could have looked up their definitions ;)
    – cgnieder
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 17:26
  • Thanks so much for this! Although lilypond's dynamic fonts look by far much more professional, I can live with this solution for the time being. Commented May 1, 2013 at 19:10

With musixtex maybe:


fortissimo: \ff, sforzato: \sF


enter image description here

See section 2.17.5 of the manual.

  • The s of sf looks weird, it’s too thin compared to the f.
    – doncherry
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 18:11
  • @doncherry I thought so, too. Looking at examples of typeset notes the s is thinner than the f but to me it seems that the s should be bold and the f even more bold...
    – cgnieder
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 18:21
  • Hi, I tried this method, but unfortunately it seems that MusiXTeX will not work with the times package. Inserting \usepackage{times} in your code example will halt with an error on my system (TeX Live 2012, Mac OS X 10.6) Commented May 1, 2013 at 19:06
  • @SiskaÁdám It works if you load times after musixtex.
    – cgnieder
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 19:18
  • Thank you! It really works. Weird... Anyway, I checked the commands that you suggested and their result has almost nothing to do with real dynamic marks (for example, if you check a forte sign in a printed score, you'd see that they get `fatter' around the dash). egreg's solution is also a bit far from perfect, but somehow they are more acceptable. But thanks anyway for the help. Commented May 1, 2013 at 19:58

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