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ONLINE GLOSSARY

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Total Number of Terms : 1363
 
Obbligato -- An extended solo, often accompanying the vocal part of an aria
 
Oblique Motion -- In part-writing, oblique motion occurs when one voice (or more) remains on the same pitch while the other ascends or descends
 
Oboe -- A double-reed instrument made of wood with a nasal, "reedy" timbre. The player blows directly into a double reed (two thin strips of cane bound together), setting them in vibration
 
Oboe Da Caccia -- A baroque instrument of the oboe family. It has an alto/tenor range pitched a fifth below the oboe. The English horn usually takes the place of the oboe da caccia in the modern orchestra
 
Ocarina -- A flute-like instrument in a globe or potato shape made from clay or other hard material with a whistle mouthpiece. Many attribute the invention of this instrument to Guiseppe Donati in the 19th century however there is considerable evidence that the Ocarina may be more than 12000 years old and originated in many cultures. Examples have been found shaped like birds or other animals
 
Octave -- Interval between two tones seven diatonic pitches apart; the lower note vibrates half as fast as the upper and sounds an octave lower
 
Octet -- A composition written for eight instruments
 
Odd Time -- Referring to an odd or uneven time signature (not 4/4), such as 7/4 or 5/8
 
Ode -- Secular composition written for a royal occasion, especially popular in England
 
Offbeat -- Weak beat or any pulse between the beats in a measured rhythmic pattern
 
Offertory -- A composition performed during the collection of the offering in the Mass. The Offertory follows the Credo
 
Officer's Call -- A military bugle call, in the category of service calls, played to signal all officers to assemble at a designated place
 
Ondes martenot -- Electronic instrument that produces sounds by means of an oscillator
 
Open Ending -- The first ending in a medieval secular piece, usually cadencing on a pitch other than the final
 
Open Fifth -- A chord comprised of the tonic and the fifth with no third present
 
Open Form -- Indeterminate contemporary music in which some details of a composition are clearly indicated, but the overall structure is left to choice or chance
 
Open Form -- Indeterminate contemporary music in which some details of a composition are clearly indicated, but the overall form is left to choice or chance
 
Opera -- Music drama that is generally sung throughout, combining the resources of vocal and instrumental music with poetry and drama, acting and pantomime, scenery and costumes
 
Opera Ballet -- A popular French music drama which makes use of musical forms found in a ballet (instrumental composition and dances) and those forms found in an opera (aria and choruses). Popular from about the 1680's to the 1730's
 
Opera Buffa -- Italian comic opera, sung throughout
 
Opera Comique -- French comic opera, with some spoken dialogue
 
Opera Comique -- French comic opera that is not necessarily sung throughout. The early opéra comique had spoken dialogue interspersed with songs, and was mainly comic, the later ones (those written around the late 19th century) usually had continuous music, and was not necessarily humorous (for example, Bizet's Carmen
 
Opera Seria -- Tragic Italian opera
 
Operetta -- A short light musical drama
 
Opus -- Convenient method of numbering a composer’s works where a number follows the word “opus”. For example, Opus 28, No. 4
 
Oral Tradition -- Music that is transmitted by example or imitation and performed from memory
 
Oral Transmission -- Preservation of music without the aid of written notation
 
Oratorio -- Large-scale dramatic genre originating in the Baroque, based on a text of religious or serious character, performed by solo voices, chorus and orchestra; similar to opera but without scenery, costumes or action
 
Orchestra -- Performing group of diverse instruments; in Western art music, an ensemble of multiple string parts with various woodwind, brass and percussion instruments
 
Orchestra Bells -- Bells consisting of tuned metal bars mounted on a rectangular frame and played with a mallet
 
Orchestration -- The technique of setting instruments in various combinations
 
Ordinary -- Sections of the Roman Catholic Mass that remain the same from day to day throughout the church year; as distinct from the Proper, which changes daily according to the liturgical occasion
 
Organ -- Wind instrument in which air is fed to the pipes by mechanical means; the pipes are controlled by two or more keyboards and a set of pedals
 
Organ Point -- Term used for a drone (a low, sustained tone) that remains steady in the bass of a composition while other voices move about above it. An organ point is also called a pedal tone, a pedal, or a drone
 
Organ Verset -- A short organ composition that is usually improvised and used in place of a verse that would have been sung by the choir
 
Organal Style -- Organum in which the tenor sings the melody (original chant) in very long notes while the upper voices move freely and rapidly above it
 
Organal Style -- Organum (the earliest style of polyphonic music) in which the tenor sings the melody (the original chant) in very long notes while the upper voices move freely and rapidly above it
 
Organology -- The science of musical instruments including their classification and development throughout history and cultures as well as the technical study of how they produce sound. The Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification is probably the best-known system in use today
 
Organum -- Earliest kind of polyphonic music, which developed from the custom of adding voices above a plainchant; they first ran parallel to it at the interval of a fifth or fourth and later moved more freely
 
Ornaments -- Tones used to embellish the principal melodic tone
 
Ostinato -- A short melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic pattern that is repeated throughout a work or a section of one
 
Overblowing -- A technique employed by woodwind players (flutes in particular) in which the player directs the flow of air to obtain the pitch of the first overtone or harmonic rather than the fundamental pitch which would normally be sounded
 
Overstrung -- A method of stringing (or attaching the strings across the soundboard) a piano in which the bass strings pass diagonally over the mid-range strings
 
Overture -- An introductory movement, as in an opera or oratorio, often presenting melodies from arias to come. Also an orchestral work for concert performance
 
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