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DICTIONARY OF MUSIC


DICTIONARY OF MUSIC
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A

a Ring finger of the right hand

À (French) by, for, in, to, with, in the manner of
A (Italian) by, for, in, to, with, in the manner of

Accel. (Italian) accelerating, getting steadily faster
Accelerando (Italian) accelerating, getting steadily faster

Acciaccatura (Italian) Grace note; crushed note, written with a diagonal line through the note hook or flag

Accidental sign for raising, lowering the pitch of a note or of canceling a previously applied sign, the sharp and flat signs in a key signature are not strictly accidentals although this term is commonly used to describe them

Accompaniment support provided by harmonically or melodically to the main theme in a piece of music, which although designed to be subordinate may, on occasions, dominate, for example, when the melody line is not playing

Accord (French) chord, tuning

Adagietto (Italian) slow
Adagio (Italian) slow
Adagissimo (Italian) slow

Ad lib. (Latin) at pleasure, as you wish it
Ad libitum (Latin) at pleasure, as you wish it

Agitato (Italian) agitated, agitatedly, excited, fast, hurried, restless

Alberti Bass a simple accompaniment consisting of broken chords, usually 'tonic, dominant, mediant, dominant' in succession

Alborada (Spanish) morning music, particular of a rough pastoral form

Al fine (Italian) to the end

Alla (Italian) to the, at the, on the, with the, in the manner of, in the style of

Alla breve cut time; used for quick duple time in which the half note is given one beat instead of two

Allargando (Italian) getting slower and slower, with a fuller tone

Allegretto (Italian) lively but less so than allegro

Allegrissimo (Italian) very fast tempo marking between presto and vivacissimo

Allegro (Italian) quick, lively, bright, not as fast as presto

Allegro assai (Italian) very quick

Allegro giusto (Italian) quick with precision

Allegro Maestoso (Italian) quick with precision and dignified

Allegro moderato (Italian) moderately quick

Allegro non troppo (Italian) fast, but not too fast

Allemand (French) a dance of German origin with 4 moderate beats to the bar, although sometimes written as two longer beats in a bar, often the first movement in a suite of dances; in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century, a quick dance written in triple time, the precursor of the waltz
Allemande (French) a dance of German origin with 4 moderate beats to the bar, although sometimes written as two longer beats in a bar, often the first movement in a suite of dances; in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century, a quick dance written in triple time, the precursor of the waltz

Almain (French) a dance of German origin with 4 moderate beats to the bar, although sometimes written as two longer beats in a bar, often the first movement in a suite of dances; in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century, a quick dance written in triple time, the precursor of the waltz
Almayne (French) a dance of German origin with 4 moderate beats to the bar, although sometimes written as two longer beats in a bar, often the first movement in a suite of dances; in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century, a quick dance written in triple time, the precursor of the waltz
Almand (French) a dance of German origin with 4 moderate beats to the bar, although sometimes written as two longer beats in a bar, often the first movement in a suite of dances; in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century, a quick dance written in triple time, the precursor of the waltz

Analysis the study of the form and structure of music

Andaluza (Spanish) various dances of Spanish origin

Andante (Italian) moving along, flowing, at a walking pace

Andante grazioso (Italian) graceful moving along, at a walking pace

Andante sostenuto (Italian) sustained and moving along

Andantino (Italian) andante

Animato (Italian) animated
Animé (French) animated

A poco a poco (Italian) little by little

Appassionata (Italian) impassioned

Appoggiatura (Italian) a note preparatory to another or to a chord acting as an unprepared suspension

Aragonesa (Spanish) a dance associated with Aragon in Spain

Arpeggio (Italian) (Italian) a spread chord played from the top down or from the bottom up

Arpeggio (Italian) played in a "harp-like manner". A spread chord played from the bottom up or from the top down (with a downward pointing arrow).
 

Arrangement a work that has been arranged

Assai (Italian) very, extremely

A tempo (Italian) the original speed; a direction to return to the original speed after a deliberate change of tempo

Au (French) to the, at the

Augmented the lengthening of note values when recapitulating a fugal theme adding to it's dignity and weight; to increase a perfect or major interval by one half-step; to add to the standard forces in an orchestra, choir or band

Augmented chord a chord that has an augmented interval between its highest and lowest notes


B

B String The second string of the guitar.

B1, B2, B3, B4, …… A single finger holding multiple strings on a stringed instrument  at the same time.
Symbol used in standard notation for guitar. Number indicates which fret. Example: B7 (C7, CVII, VII)

Bagatelle (French, German) trifle, unpretentious; a short, light instrumental piece of music of no specified form, usually for piano

Bajo (Spanish) low, deep

Balalaika a triangular guitar-like instrument with a fretted finger-board normally bearing three strings of Russian origin

Balance The adjustment of volume and timbre between instruments or voices so that, when required, each is clearly heard through the general texture. A Harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements.

Ballabile (Italian) in a dance style, to be danced

Ballad a narrative song, often sentimental, with verses alternating with a refrain

Ballade thirteenth-, fourteenth- and fifteenth-century formes fixes, a strophic piece, each stanza having an initial repeated section followed by a second section played only once, and a final refrain; a dramatic heroic piano piece often inspired by poetry; a setting of a poem to music

Barcarola (Italian)  a song or instrumental piece associated with boats and boating generally in compound duple (6/8) or compound quadruple (12/8)
 Barcarolle (French) a song or instrumental piece associated with boats and boating generally in compound duple (6/8) or compound quadruple (12/8)

Barocco (Italian) bizarre, a very clearly definable type or genre of European music from the period c. 1580 to c. 1730

Baroque (French) bizarre, a very clearly definable type or genre of European music from the period c. 1580 to c. 1730

Baroque dance the baroque style of dance evolved during the middle of the seventeenth-century

Baroque guitar an early form of the modern guitar, normally double strung with five courses unlike the six single strings on the modern instrument

Barre (French) a device that clamps to the neck of a plucked string instrument  and which change its tuning by shortening the sounding length of every string

Bass Strings The wound strings on a guitar. The fourth, fifth, & sixth strings. 

Basso continuo figured bass

Beam A part of a note.

Beam Grouping Notes beamed in groups in a manor to distinguish the beats in a measure.

Ben (Italian) well, much

Binary form a musical form made up of two sections sometimes termed A and B

Bis (French) repeat, encore, play again

Bolero Spanish dance in 3/4 time; Cuban dance derived from the Spanish bolero, initially into 2/4 time then eventually into 4/4, but always slow

Borre (English) a French dance similar to the gavotte but beginning on the fourth beat of four rather than the third of four as in the gavotte
Borree (English) a French dance similar to the gavotte but beginning on the fourth beat of four rather than the third of four as in the gavotte

Bossa nova a Brazilian popular music style developed in the late 1950s

Brace a rustic dance in duple time, similar to the gavotte, originating in France

Braces Strips of wood attached to the inner top or back of a guitar to increase strength. 

Bracket a perpendicular line with bracket joining multiple staves

Branle (French) a rustic dance in duple time, similar to the gavotte, originating in France
Bransle (French) a rustic dance in duple time, similar to the gavotte, originating in France
Brantle a rustic dance in duple time, similar to the gavotte, originating in France

Brazilian Leopard Wood An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar. 

Breve (Italian) a double whole note

Bridge Through the saddle, a wood bridge transfers the vibrating energy of the string to the top of the guitar.

Brillante (French) brilliant, bright, sparkling, with verve and vivacity
Brillante (Italian) brilliant, bright, sparkling, with verve and vivacity

Broken chord an arpeggiated chord where the notes are played one after the other

Burlesca (Italian) jocular

C

C1, C2, C3, C4, …… A single finger holding multiple strings on a stringed instrument  at the same time.
Symbol used in standard notation for guitar. Number indicates which fret. Example: B7 (C7, CVII, VII)
 
C clef clef sign that marks the position of the note C on the staff. 

Calando (Italian) diminuendo

Calcando (Italian) accelerando

Calmato (Italian) calmed, calming

Calypso Caribbean popular musical form often humorous sung by a single guitarist or bands

Canadian Cypress Alaskan Yellow Cedar, sometimes called Canadian or New World Cypress, is fine and even textured with very close grains. In terms of dimensional change due to moisture content change, it is one of the most stable. It is light yellow in color.

Canari very fast gigue-like dance, in triple or duple-compound meter, with a 'skipping' feel

Can-can Parisian dance, originating in Paris, involving a line of high-kicking women

Canon a musical form in which a (second, third, fourth, ….) line starting later than the one before it matches it note for note but such that the parts overlap

Cantabile (Italian) in a singing style
Cantando (Italian) in a singing style

Cante hondo (Spanish) serious Spanish flamenco song making use of the Phrygian cadence and the word ole
Cante jondo (Spanish) serious Spanish flamenco song making use of the Phrygian cadence and the word ole

Canzonet (Italian) short, simple song
Canzonetta (Italian) short, simple song

Capotasto (Italian) device that clamps to the neck of a guitar and which change its tuning by shortening the sounding length of every string

Capriccio (Italian) light, quick, sometimes fanciful composition

Capriccioso (Italian) capricious

Caprice (English) light, quick, sometimes fanciful composition

Caprice (French) light, quick, sometimes fanciful composition

Carezzando (Italian) caressing

Carol (English) Christmas song

C clef clef sign that marks the position of the note C on the staff.

Cédez (French) slow down generally before a return to an earlier tempo

Cejilla device that can be moved to change the pitch of the flamenco guitar

cf. (Latin) abbreviated form of conferatur meaning 'compare'

Chaconne a slow stately dance with variations, popular during the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries, generally in triple time, played over a ground bass

Chamber a prefix used to describe small-scale musical activities, for example- chamber symphony (a symphony for a small ensemble of players), chamber music (music generally written to be played one-to-a-part)

Character piece a musical piece representing a location, mood or personality

Chitarra (Italian) guitar

Chitarra batente guitar from Calabria (southern Italy), also known as 'Renaissance guitar'. With four or five metal strings

Chitarrone a long-necked member of the lute family fitted with extra bass strings, used to accompany solo singers, which was popular in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries

Choral music sung by a choir

Chord diagrams a form of musical notation using vertical and horizontal lines to represent the strings and frets on a guitar that uses numbered dots to show the position of  the fingers.

Chord symbols abbreviations for chord names used by players of the guitar, ukulele….

Chorus a fairly large choir; a refrain of a song

Chromatic a scale in which all the intervals between succeeding notes is a semitone (half-note)

Chromatic interval a note that does not form part of the major or natural, melodic or harmonic minor scales

Chromatic scale Scale composed of twelve half steps

CI, CII, CIII, CIV, CV, CVI…… A single finger holding multiple strings on a stringed instrument  at the same time.

Ciacona (Italian) slow stately dance with variations, popular during the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries, generally in triple time, played over a ground bass

Cinq (French) five

Circle of fifths chain of intervals. each interval a fifth, after passing through every note of  the scale returns to a note, several octaves different, from that on which the chain began.

Classical a period in music generally understood to be between 1750 and 1820; music that is has an enduring quality

Classical Guitar A guitar, usually of six nylon strings, used to play classical style music.

Classical music a period in music generally understood to be between 1750 and 1820; music that is has an enduring quality

Clave five-note, two-bar rhythmic pattern which generates rhythmic measurement and is the foundation and backbone of salsa
Clef symbol placed on the left of the stave which establishes the relationship between notes and their position on the staff lines and spaces

Coda (Italian) passage ended onto the end of a composition

Common chord a chord containing a root, third, and fifth

Common time the time signature 4/4

Compass the range of an instrument

Composé (French) composed

Composer a person who writes music

Con (Italian) with

Con amore (Italian) with love, lovingly

Con brio (Italian) with spirit

Concert (Italian) musical performance in front of an audience

Concertant (French) in the form of a concerto, where there is interplay between the performers
Concertante (Italian) in the form of a concerto, where there is interplay between the performers

Concertino (Italian) a shorter work

Concert master (German) the first violinist or leader of an orchestra
Concert-meister (German) the first violinist or leader of an orchestra

Concerto ensemble music for voice(s) and instrument(s) (seventeenth-century

Concord a chord, or group of notes complete and in total harmony with each other

Conduct to direct a performance by an ensemble

Conductor a person who conducts

Conservatoire (French) where musicians study
Conservatorium (German) where musicians study
Conservatory where musicians study

Contemporary music a term applied  to any music written within the last forty or fifty years

Contradanza (Italian) popular eighteenth-century French dance form

Corda (Italian) string
Corde (Italian) strings
Corde (French) string
Cordas (Portuguese) strings

Corde à jour (French) open string
corde à vide (French) open string

Countermelody a melody designed to fit against a more important line

Counterpoint the technique of setting a melody or melodies in conjunction with another

Courante Rapid French dance in triple meter time

Crescendo increasingly loud

Crescendo e accelerando increasingly loud and getting steadily faster

Croche (French) eighth note

Crochet (French) flag attached to the tail of a note to show its length
Crochets (French) flags attached to the tail of a note to show its length

Cut-a-Way A Cut out of a guitar body that allows for easier access to the upper areas of the fingerboard.

Cut time quick duple time in which the half note is given one beat instead of two


D

D String The fourth string of the guitar.

Da (Italian) from, of

Da capo (Italian) from the beginning

Da capo al fine (Italian) return to the beginning and end at the point marked by the word fine

Da capo al segno (Italian) return to the beginning and end at the point marked with a sign

Dal segno (Italian) from the sign

Damp to quiet a stringed instrument by touching the string(s)

Danse (French) dance
Danza (Italian) dance
Danza (Spanish) dance

D.C. (Italian) Da capo; from the beginning

D.C. al fine (Italian) Da capo al fine; return to the beginning and end at the point marked by the word fine 

D.C. al segno (Italian) Da capo al segno; return to the beginning and end at the point marked with a sign

De (French) from, of

Decrescendo (Italian) to get gradually softer

Deutsch (German) German

Deux (French) two

Deuxième (French) second

Deux temps (French) in 2/2 time, in a tempo where there are two dance steps to a bar whatever the time signature

Development a musical form during which thematic material, introduced earlier, is greatly extended

Diatonic notes that occur naturally in a scale, without being modified by accidentals other than those in the relevant key
signature

Diatonic interval the interval between any two notes that both appear in the major or minor scales of the prevailing keynote

Diatonic scale any scale of the major, natural minor, melodic minor or harmonic minor scales based on a particular key note

Difference tone a third note, with a frequency given by the difference in the frequencies of two other notes played together
Differential tone a third note, with a frequency given by the difference in the frequencies of two other notes played together

dim. (Italian) Diminuendo

Diminished an interval narrowed by one semitone from a perfect or minor interval

Diminuendo (Italian) gradually getting softer

Dix (French) ten

Doigt (French) finger

Doigté (French) fingering

Dolce (Italian) soft, sweet

Dolcissimo (Italian) very softly, very sweetly

Dolente (Italian) sorrowful

Dolentemente (Italian) sorrowfully

Dolentissimo (Italian) very sorrowful

Dolore (Italian) pain

Dolorosamente (Italian) painfully

Doloroso (Italian) painful

Dominant the fifth degree of the diatonic scale

Dot placed above or below the notehead it indicates a staccato, placed immediately after a note it indicates that the note should be extended by half as much again as its principal time value a note with two dots following it, indicates that the note should be extended by a further quarter of its principal time value

Double (French) variation

Double bar a pair of vertical lines at the end of a section of a work

Double-bémol (French) double flat sign

Double concerto a concerto for two solo instruments and orchestra

Double counterpoint a method of counterpoint in which a second melody is added to an existing melody

Double-croche (French) sixteenth note

Double-dièse (French) double sharp sign

Double exposition in a concerto, when the theme is stated twice, once by the orchestra and once by the soloist

Double flat the sign that lowers a note by two semitones

Double fugue a fugue which has two separate subjects

Double-pause (French) double whole rest

Double-ronde (French) double whole note

Double sharp the sign that raises a note by two semitones

Double-time in jazz, packing twice as many notes in a measure as were there in the preceding measures so that the tempo appears to gain a great deal of momentum but the chord progressions played by the rhythm section remain the same

Double whole note a Breve

Doubling where two instruments play the same part in ensemble playing

Drei (German) three

Due (Italian) two

Duet a piece of music for two players

Duettino a little duet

Duo (Italian) duet
Duo (French) duet

Duple meter a time signature, with an even number of beats- 2/2, 4/2, 6/8…

Duplet a pair of notes, or a note and a rest, having the time usually given to three

Duple time a time signature, with an even number of beats- 2/2, 4/2, 6/8…

Duration the length of time that a note is sounded, or rest is held

Dynamic mark mark indicating that the dynamic level of a piece should gradually or suddenly change

Dynamics varying degrees of loudness or softness


E

E string The first or sixth string of the guitar.

Early music music written from the Middle Ages to about 1750

East Indian Rosewood Although East Indian Rosewood had been used for guitar backs and sides for many decades it became more common in the mid-1960s when the more well known Brazilian Rosewood became less available for guitar construction. Indian Rosewood was also found to be an excellent alternative to Brazilian Rosewood both visually and tonally with added stability. The color ranges from red to light brown with golden streaks.

Écossaise (French) a 2-in-a-bar contredanse, from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries

Eighth an interval of an octave

Eighth note one eighth the time value of a whole note
Eighth rest one eighth the time value of a whole rest

Ein  (German) a, one

Eine (German) a, one

Electro-acoustic music electronic music
Electronic Tuner Electronic device for tuning a guitar.

Elegia (Italian) elegy
Elegiaco (Italian) elegiac

Élégie (French) a lament
Elegy (English) a lament

Elements of a Musical Score   Elevato (Italian) elevated of spirit

Enharmonic the interval between notes notated for example A flat and G sharp, which on an equal tempered keyboard instrument are played with the same key

Ensemble a group of musicians

Entrada (Spanish) entrance

Entrata (Italian) beginning, entrance

Entrée (French) the commencing moment of any work

Episode a subsidiary part of a work

Eroica (German) heroic

Espagne (French) Spanish
Espagnol Spanish
Espagnole (French) Spanish
Espagnuolo Spanish
Espagnolo Spanish
Espagnola Spanish
Espagnuola (Italian) Spanish

Espressione (Italian) expression

Espressivo (Italian) expressively

Étouffer (French) dampen, mute, to dampen
Étouffez (French) dampen, mute, to dampen

Étude (French) a piece written for the purposes of practicing or displaying technique

Evocación (Spanish) evocation, invocation

Exercise a piece designed to develop technique

Exoteric music music meant to be easily comprehended and performed by anyone with little musical training

Exoticism music in which the rhythms, melodies, or instrumentation are intended to evoke the atmosphere of far-off lands or ancient times

Expressionism where the work expresses the artist or composer's state of mind

Expression marks indications in a musical score where the composer wish changes in the dynamics, tempo or mood

Extended tertian sonorities tall chords; 9th, 11th and 13th chords

Extension an horizontal line (or broken line) placed next to the right of a symbol to show that a symbol     must be maintained during the following note or notes


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