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ONLINE GLOSSARY

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Total Number of Terms : 1363
 
Backbeat -- A consistent rhythm that stresses beats 2 and 4 in common time. In other "common" time signatures, the backbeat will land elsewhere. For example, the backbeat lands on 4 and 10 in 12/8 time
 
Backfall -- A descending appoggiatura (17th century England) as opposed to a forefall or an ascending appoggiatura
 
Badinerie -- Indicates a piece of music of light-hearted character
 
Bagatelle -- Used as the title of a short light-hearted piece of music
 
Bagpipe -- Ancient instrument, at least in its most primitive form
 
Ballad -- Used primarily to describe a folk-song of narrative character
 
Ballad -- A slow tempo song
 
Ballade -- A French poetic style and chanson type of the Middle Ages and Renaissance usually having a text dealing with courtly love. The term is also applied to a Romantic genre, especially a lyric piano composition
 
Ballo -- A dance or dance tune
 
Band -- A group of instrumental musicians who perform music from early music through the modern era. Bands are typically limited to wind and percussion instruments, but can include other instruments including voice. Below are links to the most common types of bands
 
Barcarola -- Song in the style of the Venetian gondoliers
 
Baritone -- Male voice of moderately low range
 
Barline -- The common term meaning bar or the lines drawn perpendicularly across the staff to divide it into measures. The barline came into use in music after 1600. Other variants of the barline are the double barline and the final barline
 
Baroque -- A period of musical history from about 1600 to about 1750
 
Baroque -- Time in music history ranging from the middle of the 16th to the middle of the 17th centuries. Characterized by emotional, flowery music; written in strict form
 
Barrelhouse -- A slang term for bar rooms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries which also became synonymous with a style of jazz piano performance from the 1920s through the early 1940s. The barrelhouse music was similar to boogie-woogie and was characterized by a loud, raucous sound with a fast tempo
 
Bass -- Male voice of low range
 
Bass -- Lower register and lower sonorities in music
 
Bass Bar -- A strip of wood glued to the underside of the belly of a bowed stringed instrument that runs under the lower string. Its purpose is to help sustain the downward pressure exerted by the tension of the strings on the bridge
 
Bass Drum -- The lowest pitched drum in a marching band or with a drumset
 
Bass Drum Pedal -- Pedal used to play the bass drum
 
Bassa -- Low or deep. The notation 8va bassa tells the performer to play the notes an octave lower
 
Basse Dance -- A graceful, stately court dance of the early Renaissance (c.1400-1600) without the rapid steps and leaps of other dances of the era. This dance was the precursor of the pavane, the music to it was generally improvised over a cantus firmus
 
Basso Cantante -- A bass voice with a higher and lighter register who sings with more flexibility
 
Basso Continuo -- A characteristic of Baroque music consisting of a bass part that runs continuously throughout a work, also called thoroughbass. If it is figured to indicate the harmony, it is called figured bass
 
Basso Profundo -- The lowest male bass voice that emphasizes the low, rich tessitura
 
Bassoon -- Double-reed wind instrument
 
Bassus -- The lowest voice in a polyphonic composition
 
Bata Drums -- Double headed, hour glass shaped drum originating from Nigeria. It later migrated to Cuba and eventually to the US. These drums can be played in the lap or with a strap around the neck
 
Beat -- Regular rhythmic pattern of the music
 
Beat Displacement -- A term popularized in drumming over the last 10 years. It refers to permutation where all beats will move forward say, one eighth note. This method will create numerous variations of rhythmic possibilities on the drums
 
Bebop -- Complex jazz style developed in the 1940s
 
Beguine -- Music incorporating a bolero rhythm
 
Bel Canto -- Beautiful singing
 
Bell Lyre -- The marching version of a glockenspiel in the shape of a lyre. When used in a marching band it is held upright and supported by a strap around the performer's waist. Also known as a bell lyra
 
Bell Tree -- Long stick with bells suspended from it
 
Bells -- An instrument that consists of tuned metal bars mounted on a rectangular frame such as the glockenspiel, xylophone or marimba
 
Berceuse -- Cradle-song or lullaby, in lilting triple or compound time
 
Berceuse -- A crade song, a lullaby
 
Biwa -- Japanese lute, similar to the Chinese pipa
 
Bluegrass -- A form of country & western (C&W) music thought to have originated before WW II but actually developed during the mid 1940s. Fans, DJs, and record companies began using the term "Bluegrass" to describe a sound associated with the music of Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. Monroe is ofted referred to as "The Father of Bluegrass." The term refers to Kentucky (the Bluegrass state), Bill Monroe's home state. Typically performed by a "string" band consisting of violin, mandolin, guitar, 5-string banjo, and string bass
 
Blues -- American form of folk music related to jazz. It is based on a simple, repetitive, poetic-musical structure
 
Blues Scale -- A diatonic major scale incorporating a flat or bent 3rd, a flat or bent 7th and sometimes a flat or bent 5th to approximate melodic notes that originated in African work songs. Since the actual pitch is unavailable on a piano, the flatted note is often played or "crushed" against the natural pitch to approximate the blue note
 
Bo Diddley Beat -- This beat was popularized by Bo Diddley, the famous blues guitar player. It stems from early forms of Latin and afro-Cuban rhythms (clave) derived from their respective countries. This rhythm was also used for years as the playful music knock,"Shave and a Haircut",..."Two Bits"
 
Bodhran -- An Irish drum covered with goatskin. Phonetically pronounced "bough-rawn"
 
Bolero -- A slow ballad suitable for the bolero dance or similar music
 
Bolero -- A lively Spanish dance in 3/4 time. It is often accompanied by the castanets and sometimes with singing
 
bomba -- a style of Puerto Rican folk music derived primarily from African music and dominated by percussion instruments as well as call and response vocals
 
Bones -- A pair of wooden instruments that are held in the hand (between the thumb and forefinger) and are clicked together in rhythm
 
Bongo Drums -- A pair of small drums that are connected in the middle and played with your hands. Very common in Afro-Cuban music and Latin percussion
 
Bossa Nova -- Brazilian dance related to the samba
 
Bossa Nova -- The bossa nova rhythm accompanies the famous bossa nova dance. It stems from the Samba and has it's origins in Brazil
 
Bourree -- Old French dance, quick, in double time, often part of suites of pieces
 
Bravo -- An exclamation of approval often used after particularly moving opera performances (often after arias) meaning excellent or very good
 
Bravura -- Spirit; skill; requiring great dexterity and skill in execution
 
Break Strain -- A device used in marches and piano rags to introduce a contrast in style and break the flow of the composition with a loud and intense musical statement. Also known as a break-up strain, it is normally used to create a break between the repeats of the trio. The break strain reinforces the martial notion of the composition with the break strain often said to represent the battle. The dogfight is a special type of break strain characterized by a musical interaction between instruments or groups of instruments playing a short musical phrases that are followed by a short musical phrases from another group of instruments
 
Breath Mark -- A directive to the performer to break the phrase at that point in the composition and breathe, thus assisting in the production of a smooth phrase consistent with the composer's wishes. The breath mark looks like a large comma or apostrophe and should always be located at the end of the phrase above the staff
 
Breathing -- The techniques involved by musicians to provide air to a wind instruments. The techniques, although similar for all wind instruments, have unique aspects for each instrument. Combined with the techniques of tonguing and embouchure, breathing is a critical aspect of instrumental tone production. Some of the special breathing techniques include staggered breathing and circularbreathing
 
Breit -- A German term directing the musicians to perform the indicated passage of the composition with a broad tempo, or fairly slow. Similar to langsam, meaning slow, and is used to designate a tempo range from largo to lento or a metronome marking from around 40 to 60 beats per minute
 
Breve -- The modern term for brevis. From 13th century mensural notation, the breve indicates a note of the shortest duration
 
Brio -- A directive to perform the indicated passage with vigor, vivacity or spirit as in con brio (with spirit or vigorously
 
Brioso -- A directive to perform the indicated passage in a vivacious or spirited manner
 
Broken Chord -- A chord in which the notes are not played simultaneously but rather they are played successively
 
Broken Consort -- A Renaissance performing ensemble consisting of several different kinds of instruments. This is in opposition to a consort, which is a performing group consisting of different members of a single family of instruments (for example the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass recorder)
 
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