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DICTIONARY OF MUSIC


DICTIONARY OF MUSIC
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K

Kanon (German) canon

Key specific scale or series of notes defining a particular tonality

Key note the first note of the scale upon which a piece of music is based

Key signature an arrangement of sharps or flats placed on the far left hand side of each line of the staff, indicating scale of the piece

Kithara ancient Greek lyre-like instrument, a square or rounded resonator box (body) and as many as eleven gut strings supported by a yoke attached to two arms attached to and rising from the body

Klein (German) small, minor
Kleine (German) small, minor

Kontrapunkt (German) counterpoint

Kontretanz a country dance

Konzert (German) concert, concerto

Konzertstück informal concert piece, usually in one movement, for solo instruments and orchestra

Koto a 13 string Japanese zither of Chinese origin. about 6 feet long. laid horizontally with waxed silken strings stretched tightly over movable bridges along the length of the instrument. plucked using ivory picks


L

L' (French) the

Lacey She Oak An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar.

Lacewood Lacewood is from South America. It is dense wood with a loud, sustaining tap tone. Its color is a warm cinnamon brown.

Lacquer Acrylic Originally used on cars, it is a guitar finish similar to nitrocellulose lacquer, but dries quicker and harder. With age, does not produce the vintage look.

Lacquer Nitrocellulose Used since the 1920’s, a quick-drying solvent-based lacquer that contains nitrocellulose. A very hard yet flexible, durable finish that can be polished to a high sheen on a guitar. It yellows with age, producing a desired vintage look.

Lacquer Water-Based With personal health and environmental concerns the long-term trend is moving away from solvent-based finishes on guitars.  In response, many manufacturers set a goal to create a lacquer with all of the positive characteristics of current solvent-based lacquers but without the hazardous, toxic solvent base. Water-Based Lacquer is environmentally friendly and produces "acceptable" results.

Lamento (Italian) lament

Lamento bass term from the eighteenth-century to describe a bass line that falls successively by a half-step to denote grief or sadness

Lamentoso (Italian) lamenting, mourning

Larghetto not as slow as largo

Largo (Italian) broad

Laut (German) loud

Laute (German) lute

Leading note the seventh degree of a major scale
Leading tone the seventh degree of a major scale

Ledger line short lines drawn through, above or below the heads of notes that are written above or below the staff

Left hand fingerings In music, the assignment of fingers of the left hand.

Legato (Italian) smooth playing style in which the notes seem bound together

Lento (Italian) slow

Lied (German) song
Lieder (German) songs

Linke hand (German) left hand

Liuto (Italian) lute

Lullaby a cradle song

Luta (Swedish) lute

Lute a plucked stringed instrument with a pear-shaped body and fretted fingerboard

Luth (French) a plucked stringed instrument with a pear-shaped body and fretted fingerboard

Luthier a maker of stringed instruments

Lyre guitar six-string lyre-guitars were popular on the Continent early in the 19th century



M

m Middle finger of the right hand

Ma (Italian) but

Macassar Ebony A wood with alternating bands of black and light tan. From East Indonesia, its stability and low damping make it a good tonewood.

Madagascar Rosewood It can resemble the best figured Brazilian Rosewood in appearance and sound. It has brilliant, deep colors (red & orange, red & brown, brown & brown, purple & brown) with intense black line patterning

Maestoso (Italian) dignified, majestic, noble

Maestro (Italian) conductor, master, teacher

Maestro concertatore (Italian) conductor

Maggiore (Italian) major

Main (French) hand

Mains (French) hands

Mahogany –African & Honduran A wood that used to be exported mainly from Honduras, but now comes more often from Brazil. African Mahogany is a little heavier and finer textured than Honduran Mahogany. Mahogany is fine for guitars due to its relative low cost, ease of working, and stability. Colors range from light pink to medium brown to reddish brown.

Majeur (French) major

Malagueña a flamenco style

Malinconia (Italian) melancholy
Malinconico (Italian) melancholy

Mancando (Italian) dying away
Mancante (Italian) dying away

Mandolin (Italian) a lute-shaped instrument with four to six pairs of strings, a fretted fingerboard, played with a plectrum
Mandoline (Italian) a lute-shaped instrument with four to six pairs of strings, a fretted fingerboard, played with a plectrum

Mani (Italian) hands

Mano (Italian) hand Mani (Italian) hands

Manuscript a document bearing the notation of a composition, normally with the composer's handwritten notation of a composition

Maple Maple is known for its figured grain, particularly “curly” or “flamed” wood exhibiting the tight even curls of “fiddleback” figure, as well as “birds-eye” and “quilted” or “blister” figure. European Maple is between Rock Maple and Bigleaf in hardness, and is fine and even-textured. Bigleaf Maple is a bit coarser and harder to work. It can range in color from ivory, to pink, to tan. Quilted Maple is the hardest to obtain.

March instrumental music with a repeated and regular rhythm such as might appropriately accompany a marching group
Marcha (Spanish) march
Marche (German) march
Marcia (Italian) march

Mazurka a moderately fast, triple-time, traditional dance from Poland originally

Medieval pertaining to the Middle Ages

Mélodie (French) melody

Meno (Italian) less

Meno mosso (Italian) less movement, slower

Menuett (German) minuet
Menuetto (Italian) minuet

Metronome electronic or mechanical device for establishing the tempo of a piece of music
Metronome mark An indication of the speed at which a piece is to be played.  

Mezza (Italian) half

Mezzo (Italian) medium

Mezzo forte (Italian) halfway between loud and soft
Mezzo piano (Italian) halfway between loud and soft
mf (Italian) mezzo forte - halfway between soft and loud

Middle ages period from about 500 AD until about 1430 AD

MIDI Musical Instrument Digital Interface. MIDI is a specification for the types of control signals that can be sent from one electronic music device to another

Milonga Argentine country dance

Mineur (French) minor

Minim half note

Minim rest a half rest

Minima bianca (Italian) half note

Minstrel entertainer who covered a wide range of activities from light farce to the performance of serious song

Minuet a graceful French dance in simple triple time often appearing as a section of extended works

Minuet and trio minuet - trio - minuet form in a moderate triple meter that is often the third movement of the Classical sonata cycle

Minuetto (Italian) minuet

Moderato (Italian) moderate speed
Modéré (French) moderate speed

Modern music music contemporized with the present generations

Modo (Italian) manner, mode

Modulate change of key
Modulation change of key

Moll (German) minor

Molto (Italian) much

Monody a musical composition with only a single melody line
Monophonic a musical composition that has only a single melody line
Monophony a musical composition that has only a single melody line

Monotone a single sustained, unvarying tone, or a succession of notes of the same tone

Monterey Cypress A wood that is a cousin to Spanish Cypress. The hues have a pinkish tone, but the overall appearance is one of a creamy luster. It is a stronger and a more reasonably priced alternative to Spanish Cypress. It is indistinguishable from Spanish Cypress in terms of sound production.

Mordant a note ornament

Mosso (Italian) animated, moving

Motif (French) the smallest identifiable self-existent element of melody or rhythm

Moto (Italian) motion

mp (Italian) mezzo piano, halfway between soft and loud

Mute a device to reduce or eliminate the sound coming from an instrument


N

Natural a note neither sharpened nor flattened, the sign placed before a note that is neither sharpened or flattened.

Naturale (Italian) in a or normal manner, without using the mute

Natural keys keys whose signature contains neither sharps nor flats, C major and A minor

Natural minor Scale

Natural Sign

Neck Tension Jig A devise used to hold neck in proper tension position when dressing the frets on a guitar.

Neo (Greek) a prefix indicating a revived interest in something old

New Age music a compositional style conducive to meditation

Ninth compound interval consisting of an octave plus a second

Nocturne (English) a moderately slow piece, usually for piano, of dreamy, reflective, contemplative character and song-like melody
Nocturne (French) a moderately slow piece, usually for piano, of dreamy, reflective, contemplative character and song-like melody
Notturno (Italian) a moderately slow piece, usually for piano, of dreamy, reflective, contemplative character and song-like melody

Non (French) not, no
Non (Italian) not, no

Non-harmonic note a note that does not belong to the chord with which it sounds, for example, a passing note


Nontraditional time signatures time signatures using values other than 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12 for the top number

Non troppo (Italian) not too much

Notation the method used to write down music

Note a single sound of a particular pitch and length which is notated with a symbol made up of a note head, a stem (in some cases) and a flag (in some cases)

Note head the head, or round part of the note symbol as distinguished from the stem or any other part of the note

Nut a slightly raised bar at the top of a guitar neck


O

O (Italian) or

Off-beat a pulse that accentuates any part of the measure other than the first beat

Oil Finish Most oil finishes available are either a linseed oil or a tung oil. These oil finishes are actually varnishes and have an appealing natural luster. They are easy to use and produce a hard, thin and flexible finish, although not as protective and durable as a lacquer finish.

Oil Varnish Most oil finishes available are either a linseed oil or a tung oil. These oil finishes are actually varnishes and have an appealing natural luster. They are easy to use and produces a hard, thin and flexible finish, although not as protective and durable as a lacquer finish

Ole a Gypsy dance

Olivewood An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar.

Open String A nonfretted note.

Op. (Latin) Opus; a number assigned by the composer or publisher to identify the chronology of the composition or publication of a musical work

Open-fifth chord a triad without a third

Opera (Italian) an abbreviation of operain musica; a drama sung to the accompaniment of instruments, which may involve one or more singers

Operetta (Italian) a short opera
Opérette (French) a short opera

Opus (Latin) a number assigned by the composer or publisher to identify the chronology of the composition or publication of a musical work

Orchestra an ensemble of players of musical instruments arranged in sections - the strings, the woodwind and brass and the percussion, plus occasionally a harp or, for some twentieth century repertoire, a piano

Organology science of musical instruments including their classification and development throughout history and cultures as well as the technical study of how they produce sound

Organ point a low, sustained tone that remains steady in the bass of a composition while other voices move about above it

Ornamentation additional elaboration added to a written melody 
Ornaments additional elaboration added to a written melody 

Ottava (Italian) octave

Ottava alta (Italian) octave higher higher

Ottava basso (Italian) octave lower

Ottava sopra (Italian) octave

Ottava sotto (Italian) octave lower

Ottetto (Italian) a work written for eight players, the group playing such a piece of music

Otto (Italian) eight

Overtone any note from the harmonic series except the fundamental

Overture a piece that acts as an introduction to an oratorio, opera, play or ballet; a concerted work similar to a suite, having a number of movements

Ouverture (French) overture











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