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ONLINE GLOSSARY

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Total Number of Terms : 1363
 
L'istesso -- L'istesso tempo, the same speed, is found as an instruction to the player to return to the previous speed of the music
 
La Follia -- The Italian La Follia, (= Spanish: Fola; French: Folie d'Espagne) is a well known dance tune popular from the 16th century or earlier
 
Labium -- The part of an edge-blown aerophone (such as a flute, recorder or whistle) that splits the air column
 
Lament -- Dirges or laments are an important element in primitive musical practice in mourning the dead or at other moments of parting
 
Lamentations -- The Lamentations of Jeremiah form part of the Catholic liturgy of Holy Week, the week before Easter, traditionally chanted, but from the middle of the 15th century providing material for polyphonic setting
 
Lamentoso -- A directive to perform the designated passage of a composition in a lamentable, or mournful manner
 
Landler -- The Ländler is an Austrian country dance in a slow triple metre, a precursor of the waltz
 
Langsam -- A German term directing the musicians to perform the indicated passage of the composition with a broad tempo, or fairly slow. Similar to breit, 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
 
Languendo -- A directive to perform the designated passage of a composition in a languid, feeble, dramatic style
 
Large -- A French term directing the musicians to perform the indicated passage of the composition with a broad tempo, or fairly slow. Similar to lent, 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
 
Larghetto -- Larghetto is a diminutive form of Largo (Italian: broad, wide, large) usually a direction of tempo, meaning slow. Larghetto is slowish, not as slow as Largo
 
Largo -- Largo (Italian: broad, wide, large and consequently slow) is used as a frequent instruction to performers. Handel's Largo, an aria from his opera Serse, is in fact marked Larghetto, although this does not seem to affect its speed in popular performance
 
Larigot -- Term for a shepherd's flute or pipe; also, an organ stop with a mutation of two octaves and a fifth above the fundamental
 
Lascia Vibrare -- A directive to the performer of a harp, piano, cymbal, or other struck or plucked instrument that the sound should not be damped or stopped after the initial attack, but should be allowed to die away naturally. This is often indicated by the abbreviation "l.v.." Lascia vibrare can also be indicated by a tie symbol that does not connect to another note. The symbol will continues out past the end of the that note, indicating that the sound should continue past the indicated duration of the note. It is generally up to the discretion of the performer to determine if the sound should be damped
 
Latin Percussion -- A common sub-classification of percussion instruments that is comprised of percussion instruments that are used in popular Latin music. Some of these instruments are tuned (able to produce a specific pitch) and others are untuned (unable to produce a specific pitch), but all of them are notated without specific pitches. Their main function is to provide a solid foundation to the rhythmic character of the composition
 
Leading Note -- Also called "leading tone"; the major seventh of a scale, so called because it lies a semitone below the tonic and "leads" towards it
 
Leap -- A skip; the movement from one note to another through means of an interval that is greater than a second
 
Lebhaft -- A directive to perform a certain passage of a composition in a lively, quick, vivacious style
 
Left Hand -- Term used in piano music indicating that a specific passage is to be played by the left hand. This term is typically designated with the initials, L.H
 
Legato -- Legato (Italian: smooth) is used as an instruction to performers. It is the opposite of staccato, which indicates a shortening and consequent detaching of notes
 
Legende -- A legend; a composition written in a narrative, romantic style; a composition with legendary character or which depicts a legend. This term was used mostly by composers of the Romantic era
 
Leggero -- Leggero means light (= French: léger) and is used as a direction to performers
 
Legno -- Legno, wood, appears in the phrase 'col legno', with the wood, an instruction to string players to hit the strings with the back of the bow. Examples of col legno are found in the Danse macabre of Saint-Säens and at the opening of Holst's The Planets
 
Leitmotif -- A musical theme given to a particular idea or main character of an opera
 
Lento -- Lento (Italian: slow; = French: lent, lentement) is used in instructions to performers
 
Lesto -- A directive to perform the designated passage of a composition in a gay, lively or brisk manner
 
Lever -- Key mechanism used on a clavichord. It is a wooden rod that has a metal bar (the key) on one end, and when depressed, a fulcrum in the center of the rod raises it's back end to touch the strings and fret the string at a given length
 
Libretto -- The libretto, the little book, is the text of an opera or similar vocal work, originally issued in a small printed book
 
Libretto -- A book of text containing the words of an opera
 
Licenze -- A directive to perform a certain passage of a composition with some freedom of manner
 
Lick -- Drum lick or short drum fill. A lick can also be a quick "riff" or fancy beat
 
Ligature -- Curved line connecting notes to be sung or played as a phrase
 
Lira Da Braccio -- Also called viola da braccio, this instrument, popular in the Renaissance, is related to the violin. It has a similar shape to the violin, with seven strings, a wider neck than the violin, and a flatter bridge
 
Lira Organizzata -- A hurdy-gurdy popular around 1780 with organ pipes and bellows encased within the body of the instrument
 
Lirico Spinto -- A female voice that has the basic characteristics of a Lyric Soprano but that can "push" into a more powerful and dramatic climax
 
Lirone -- The bass member of the lira da braccio family. It is held between the knees of the performer rather than under the chin. It is usually fretted and has between nine to sixteen strings
 
Litany -- A prayer or processional of supplication to God, to Mary, or to the saints in which the priest or deacon chants the supplication and the congregation responds with "ora pro nobis," "Kyrie eleison" etc. The melodies of the litanies are usually syllabic
 
Lituus -- An ancient Roman brass instrument having the shape of the letter "J" used for marital purposes. Bach used the term lituus in his Cantata No. 118, but it is uncertain to what instrument he is referring
 
Loco -- A directive to perform a certain passage of a composition in the normal playing position following a directive to perform a certain passage of a composition in an unusual position. Also, it cancels a previous directive such as 8va
 
Locrian -- A mode based upon the seventh tone of the scale. This mode, using B as the tonic, includes all the tones on the C major scale
 
Long Pause -- The long pause or the generalpause serve the same function, and are identical in function to the fermata when used over a rest or barline. The function of these pauses is to create a silence for a period of time at the discretion of the performer (or conductor with an ensemble). As indicated in the name, these are intended to be pauses of longer duration than any of the others. These marks are always shown over rests. They also interrupt the normal tempo of a composition
 
Lullaby -- A cradle song. A song sung to a child to soothe him to sleep, or a gentle, quiet song. The instrumental lullaby (most often for piano) is based on Frédérick Chopin's Berceuse opus 57 and is characterized by a rhythmic ostinato that suggests a gentle and steady rocking feel. Many composers have written in this genre including Frédérick Chopin, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt, Edvard Grieg, Claude Debussy along with many others
 
Lusingando -- A directive to perform a certain passage of a composition in a coaxing, caressing, flattering, or alluring style
 
Luttuoso -- A directive to perform a certain passage of a composition in a mournful, sorrowful style
 
Lydian -- The fifth church mode, the lydian mode based on F, contains the notes of the C major scale, yet uses F as the tonic
 
Lyre -- The lyre, the symbol of a musician in Western cultural tradition, is an ancient instrument, found in characteristic form in ancient Greece, where it was the instrument of Apollo. Similar instruments, with strings stretched from a cross-bar to a lower sound-box, to be held in the left arm and plucked with the right hand, are found in other cultures
 
Lyric Opera -- A form of opera that combines elements of grand opera and opera comique. It features witty tunes and romantic drama
 
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