Amazingly none of the available notation software on the market does this automatically so the placement and font of dynamics is something you as a user should always keep in mind.

First thing first the given dynamic should always be placed at the first note it affects. That’s why the tambourine has the ff placed on the second beat here:

When dealing with multi-input of dynamics – in Dorico for example – the default might give you the following incorrect result:

Secondly the font should be the stylized bold and italic font as shown above. In Sibelius you have to hold Command (ctrl on Windows) while writing the abbreviation to get the right font and not this:

Simply writing ‘ff’ doesn’t play back correctly as well.

Lastly for now Finale doesn’t have an automatic placement above or below the staff. Single staff instrumental music has the dynamic below the staff as shown in all the examples above. Vocal music has the dynamics above the staff like this:

and multi-stave instrumental music has a shared dynamic between the staves like this:

If the bottom staff has music affected by a dynamic before the top staff the dynamic is placed at the point of the first note affected:

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