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ONLINE GLOSSARY

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Total Number of Terms : 1215
 
A Ballata -- In the style of a ballad. A simple song of natural construction
 
A Battuta -- As beaten; strictly in tempo
 
A Cappella -- One or more vocalists performing without an accompaniment
 
A tempo -- Return to the previous tempo
 
Accelerando -- A symbol used in musical notation indicating to gradually quicken tempo
 
Accent -- Emphasis placed on a particular note that gives it more stress than the others
 
Accesible -- Music that is easy to listen to and understand
 
Accompagnato -- Accompanied
 
Acid Rock -- Genre of American rock that emerged in the late 1960's, often associated with psychedelic drugs. Its style featured heavy amplification, instrumental improvisation, new sound technologies, and light shows
 
Acoustical Instrument -- Any musical instrument not relying on external power for operation. Virtually all standard orchestral instruments are acoustic instruments while most instruments used by Rock musicians are electric
 
Acoustics -- How a room sounds based on reverberation and other acoustical qualities
 
Action -- Term applied to the mechanical workings of an instrument, typically of keyboard instruments
 
Acutus -- The earliest form of musical notation from the two signs of Greek prosody (written text to be performed) indicating stress, pitch, length of syllables in the text. The acutus indicates a rising inflection of the voice
 
Ad Lib -- A term used in jazz music as a slang for an improvised solo, or a solo performed without written notation, but where the performer improvises a melody based around the melodic and harmonic structure of the original melody
 
Ad libitum -- Indication to omit a section or improvise
 
Adagietto -- A slow tempo marking between Largo and Andante, but slightly faster than Adagio
 
Adagio -- Quite slow
 
Adagissimo -- An extremely slow tempo marking slower than Largo
 
additive meter -- Groupings of beats that adds up to an overall
 
Aeolian -- A mode used in Gregorian chant based upon the sixth tone of the major scale. In the key of C, the Aeolian mode would be based on A, and would include A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A
 
Aerophone -- An instrument such as the flute, whistle, and horn that produces sound by using air as the primary vibrating means
 
Affabilita -- A directive to perform the indicated passage with ease and elegance; with affability; in a pleasing and agreeable manner
 
Affannoso -- A directive to perform the indicated passage with anxious expression
 
Affrettando -- A directive to perform the indicated passage in a hurried manner
 
Agilita -- A directive to perform the indicated passage with lightness or agility
 
Agitato -- Agitated or restless
 
Agrements -- The French term for ornament or embellishment. Originally, Embellishments introduced in French music of the 17th century typically in keyboard music
 
Air -- A tune, song or melody. Sometimes found in suites
 
Al Fine -- An indication to the performer to repeat a composition either from the beginning (da capo), or from the dal segno symbol, to the place marked fine (the end of the composition)
 
Alba -- In the repertory of the troubadours and Trouvères, a song dealing with a lover's morning departure from his beloved after an illicit tryst
 
Alberti Bass -- A stereotyped accompaniment played on a keyboard instrument with the left hand. The chords of the Alberti Bass are played as arpeggios, or broken chords. Named for Domenico Alberti ca. (1710 - 1740) who used them extensively, they are quite common to the works of Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and early Ludwig van Beethoven
 
Aleatory Music -- Music in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. This is not a 20th century invention as it was known in the 18th century in the form of dice music in which dice were used to determine which measures of the music would be performed
 
Alegria -- Joyful flamenco dance from the province of Cadiz
 
All Ottava -- This is a directive to perform an indicated note or passage of a composition one octave higher than notated. Typically, this is indicated by an 8va or 8 over the note or passage followed by a dotted line over the top of all notes to be transposed. The end of the dotted line has a downstroke indicating that the following notes should be performed as written. The directive loco ("at place") is often found at the end of an all' ottava passage that also directs the performer to perform the notes in their correct place or as written
 
Alla Breve -- A tempo marking indicating a quick duple meter with the half note rather than the quarter note getting the beat (2/2 rather than 4/4). Both the name and the sign are a vestige of mensural notation and of the proportions (Tempus imperfectum diminutum)
 
Alla Caccia -- A directive to perform the indicated passage in the style of hunting music
 
Alla Siciliano -- A directive to the musician to perform a composition in the style of a siciliana
 
Allant -- A directive to a musician to perform the indicated passage of a composition in a bustling or lively manner
 
Allargando -- Growing broader, getting slower and louder
 
Allegretto -- Just a "little allegro", slower than allegro
 
Allegro -- Fast, cheerful
 
Allemande -- German dance in 3/4 time, 16th/17th, rather slow. Like a landler. Often the first dance in the classic suite
 
Allemande -- A dance in moderate duple meter first appearing in the early 16th century and was frequently followed by a more lively dance in triple meter or, in the 17th century, by the courante. In the 17th century it became a stylized dance type that was regularly used as the first movement of a dance suite. These allemandes are in a very moderate 4/4 time
 
Alliteration -- A characteristic of ancient Northern European poetry such as Beowulf consisting of the use of words with the same initial letter. This principle was adopted by Richard Wagner in Der Ring des Nibelungen, for example, "Nach Welten-Wonne mein Wunsch verlangte aus wild webendem Bangen
 
Alternate Singing -- Two choirs singing in alternation in a religious service. The response made by one part of the choir to another, or the congregation responding to the priest in a Roman Catholic service
 
Alto -- Lowest of the female voices
 
Alto Crumhorn -- A Medieval and Renaissance wind instrument of the recorder family that plays in the alto range
 
Alto Flute -- Woodwind instrument of the flute family that plays in the alto register
 
Am Steg -- A directive to string players to play a particular passage very near, or directly on top the bridge
 
Ambrosian Chant -- A purely diatonic series of sacred melodies or chants collected and introduced into the Church by Saint Ambrose
 
Amorevole -- A directive to a musician to perform a selected passage of a composition in a loving manner
 
Anacrusis -- An Upbeat or a pickup note(s); a term used for unstressed notes at the beginning of a phrase of music
 
Analysis -- The study of music that focuses on the form or structure of the music itself. There are several methods of analysis, including analysis by harmonic structure, theme, by form, and by phrase
 
Anapest -- A musical foot consisting of two short notes or syllables, followed by one long
 
Andante -- Moderately slow or walking pace
 
Andante -- Word used to suggest the speed of a piece of music
 
Animé -- A directive to a musician to perform the indicated passage of a composition in a lively and animated manner
 
Anonymous -- Term attached to a musical composition when the composer is unknown
 
Answer -- Second entry of the subject in a fugue, usually pitched a fourth below or a fifth above the original subject. If the theme is altered slightly in the answer, then it is said to be a 'tonal' answer, if it is entirely unaltered, it is said to be a 'real' answer
 
Antara -- Andean panpipes typically made of cane or clay
 
Anthem -- Short vocal composition
 
Antibacchius -- A musical foot of three syllables, the first two long or accented, the third short, or unaccented
 
Anticipation -- A musical foot of three syllables, the first two long or accented, the third short, or unaccented
 
Antiphonal -- A performance style in which an ensemble is divided into two or more groups, performing alternately as separate groups and in unison
 
Antique Cymbals -- A set of two small disks of brass each held in one hand of the performer that are played by being struck together gently and allowed to vibrate. The antique cymbals are pitched percussion instruments and can be mounted as a chromatic set
 
Appassionato -- A directive to a performer to play a certain passage passionately, or with intense emotion or feeling
 
Appoggiatura -- Leaning note; grace note; note of embellishment usually one step above (sometimes, though seldom, it is one step below) the main note. Before an even or unaltered note, the appoggiatura generally receives its face value, that is one-half the value of the note that follows; before a dotted note it receives more than its face value, that is to say that it should be given two-thirds of the value of the following note. If the note is of the same pitch as the principal note of the appoggiatura, the grace note receives the entire value of its principal note, but is carried to the next note with strong portamento
 
Arabesque -- Decorative musical material
 
Architectural Acoustics -- The term used to describe how the structure of a room or building affects the flow of sound. Also, the study and design behind creating acoustically balanced concert halls and theaters
 
Arco -- Indication to string-players that they should use the bow
 
Aria -- Lyric song expressing intense emotion
 
Aria -- It indicates formally constructed songs in opera
 
Arpeggio -- When the notes of a chord are played individually (or one note at a time) as opposed to simultaneously
 
Arrangement -- The selection and adaptation of a composition or parts of a composition to instruments for which it was not originally designed or for some other use for which it was not at first written
 
Ars Antiqua -- Term used by 14th century writers to distinguish the French sacred polyphonic musical style of the 13th century (c. 1260 - 1320) from that of the Ars nova (new art). The term 'antiqua' is now generally extended to include the earlier music of the Notre Dame period (that of Léonin and Pérotin), thus covering the musical styles from c. 1160 - 1320
 
Ars Nova -- French musical style of the 14th century. The term is generally used to distinguish the music from the time period of c.1316 to the death of composer Guillaume de Machaut (1377) from the earlier musical style of the Ars antiqua. During the ars nova period, musical themes were transformed increasingly from religious to secular
 
Arsis and Thesis -- Terms used respectively for unstressed and stressed beats, or upbeats and downbeats
 
Art Rock -- Genre of rock music that uses larger forms and more complex harmonies than other popular styles; occasionally quotes examples from classical music
 
Art Song -- A song of serious artistic purpose designed for the concert hall as opposed to traditional songs or folk songs. An art song is usually sung by a solo voice with accompaniment. In German it is called lieder, in French, chanson. An art song is a complete composition in itself and is not part of a larger work such as an opera or and oratorio
 
Articulation -- Sign that affects how the music is played and connected together, consisting of accents, slurs, or phrase marks
 
Asperges me -- The opening of the Mass in the Catholic service; it is not a number of the musical Mass itself, but sung during the purification of the alter at the beginning of the service
 
Assai -- Indications to performers of the speed of a piece of music
 
Assembly -- A military bugle call, in the category of formation calls, played to signal troops to assemble at a designated location
 
Atonal -- Music that has no specific tonality
 
Attaca -- Proceed without a pause between movements
 
Attention -- A military bugle call, in the category of warning calls, played to warn the troops that they are about to be called to attention
 
Aubade -- Morning-song
 
Aubade -- A morning music, the opposite of a serenade
 
Autoharp -- A zither-type folk instrument of German origin, popular in the USA since the late 19th century. The player strums the strings with fingers or plectrum with one hand, while the other hand controls a system of dampers. Each damper dampens all the strings except those of the chord required. It is usually rectangular having 15 to 20 strings and a range of two to four octaves
 
Auxiliary Tone -- In part writing, an ornamentation such as a grace note, which is an unaccented, non-harmonic note immediately above or below a principal or harmonic note
 
Avec -- With, as in avec verve "with spirit"
 
Axe -- Slang for instrument
 
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