When a musician performs something pianissimo, she plays very softly. If you’re playing a pianissimo piece on the piano, your fingers will be gentle on the keys.

You can use this word as an adverb or an adjective — in either case, it’s a specific musical direction regarding the dynamics (or loudness) of a piece of music. On sheet music, pianissimo is often marked pp, to distinguish it from piano, which is simply “soft,” rather than “very soft,” and is usually marked with one p. There is, in fact, an even quieter designation called pianississimo, that’s “very very soft.”

Definitions of pianissimo
  1. adverb

    a direction in music; to be played very softly

    very softly
    see moresee less


    fortissimo, very loudly

    a direction in music; to be played very loudly

  2. adjective

    chiefly a direction or description in music; very soft


    piano, soft

    used chiefly as a direction or description in music
  3. noun

    (music) low loudness

    see moresee less

    type of:


    a sound property that is free from loudness or stridency

Word Family