(sfz) sforzando

The hut on fowls legs (Baba Yaga), score for 9 movement of Pictures at Exhibition, suite for piano by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
De Agostini / A. Dagli Orti / Getty Images

Meaning of Sforzando

Sforzando (sfz) is an indication to make a strong, sudden accent on a note or chord. Sforzando literally means subito forzando (fz), which translates to “suddenly with force.”

The effect of sfz may be interpreted and explained in both dynamics (volume) and articulation. Sforzando can be written as a note-accent that appears in sheet music as an upside-down V symbol (observe at the bottom of the sheet music pictured).


Musical commands similar to sfz include:

  • subito forte (sf)
  • subito fortissimo (sff)
  • subito piano (sp)
  • sforzando piano (sfp)


Not to be confused with smorzando or (rfz) rinforzando.


Pronunciation of Sforzando:

sfort-ZAHN-doh   (the s blends with the f)

**Commonly Mispronounced: ess-four-zan-doh



  • sforzato (It)
  • accent prononcé; soudainement renforcé (Fr)
  • mit plötzlicher Betonung; verstärkt (Ger)


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More Italian Music Commands:

▪  : "from nothing"; to gradually bring notes out of complete silence, or a crescendo that rises slowly from nowhere.

▪  decrescendo: to gradually decrease the volume of the music. A decrescendo is seen in sheet music as a narrowing angle, and is often marked decresc.

▪  delicato: “delicately”; to play with a light touch and an airy feel.

▪  : very sweetly; to play in a particularly delicate manner. Dolcissimo is a superlative of "dolce."

▪  Staccatissimo:   a small wedge or straight comma above a note that creates an exaggerated staccato; a very brief note.


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 ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
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Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
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Forming Piano Chords
 ▪  Chord Types & Their Symbols
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords


Reading Key Signatures:

  • All About Key Signatures
    Everything you need to know about the accidentals & key signatures.

  • Use the interactive key signature locator to identify or double-check your key.

  • There are always two keys that relate to one another more than any other key. Find out what this means.
  • Comparing Major & Minor
    Major and minor are often described in terms of feelings or mood. The ear tends to perceive major and minor as having contrasting personalities; a contrast that is most obvious when the two are played back to back. Learn more about major and minor scales and keys.


Learn About Enharmony:

  • The 6 Enharmonic Key Signatures
    If you’re familiar with the circle of fifths (or you just know your way around the key signatures) you may have noticed a few anomalies. Some keys – like B-sharp and F-flat major – are seemingly absent, while others go by two names
  • The Inefficient Keys
    The circle of fifths shows only the working scales. But, if we expand on its pattern, we can see that it’s actually more of an infinite spiral, so there’s no end to the possibilities of musical scales.
  • Table of Working & Non-Working Keys
    See a clear visual of which keynotes are workable and which would be redundant.
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    Your Citation
    Kraemer, Brandy. "(sfz) sforzando." ThoughtCo, Sep. 1, 2016, thoughtco.com/sfz-sforzando-2702124. Kraemer, Brandy. (2016, September 1). (sfz) sforzando. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/sfz-sforzando-2702124 Kraemer, Brandy. "(sfz) sforzando." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/sfz-sforzando-2702124 (accessed October 18, 2017).