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U (German) abbreviation of und, and

Ultimo (Italian) last

Un (French) a, an, one

Und (German) and

Une (French) a, an, one

Unison the interval between two identical notes

Unmeasured music music where the performer is free to determine the rhythm, free rhythm

Un peu (French) a little, rather

Up-beat a weak beat

Urtext (German) original text

Utility music music to be played by anyone utilizing idioms in everyday use


V, VI, VII, VIII, …… A single finger holding multiple strings on a stringed instrument  at the same time.Symbol used in standard notation for guitar. Roman numeral indicates which fret. Example: B7 (C7, CVII, VII)

Valse (French) a simple triple time dance

Variations composition form in which variously modified re-statements of an initially introduced theme are presented in sequence, one after another

Variato (Italian) varied

Variazione (Italian) variation

Variazioni (Italian) variations

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. 

Via (Italian) away, remove

Vihuela plucked instrument of the Renaissance with a guitar-shaped body, strings tuned like those on the lute, that was confined almost exclusively to Spain, where it was generally associated with the aristocracy; plucked instrument of the guitar family popular in parts of Spanish America, similar to the Spanish Renaissance vihuela, that includes a belly for added resonance and five single courses of strings

Villanelle (French) sixteenth-century pastoral songs

Viola (Argentina) guitar

Viola amarantina Portuguese guitar with 5 pairs of metal strings and a sound hole shaped in the form of two hearts

Viola beiroa a highly ornamented Portuguese guitar

Viola braguesa Portuguese guitar with 5 pairs of metal strings

Viola campaniça a Portuguese guitar that has nearly disappeared although, long ago, it was popular throughout the low Alentejo region. Its characteristic sound is made by five groups of double strings, made of steel and brass

Viola d'arame like the Portuguese guitar, it has five strings which are plucked with the fingers, but its shape, longer and narrower, is more like the Spanish guitar that the Portuguese instrument of the same name, although traditionally the sound holes are cut in the shape of two small hearts

Violâo Brazilian term for guitar

Virtuoso a performer possessing total mastery of his or her instrument

Vite (French) quick

Vivace (Italian) vivacious, liveliness, lively

Vivo (Italian) vivacious, liveliness, lively

Volksleid (German) folk song

Volta a quick dance in triple time in which the lady is lifted into the air during a quarter-circle turn

Volta (Italian) time


Walking bass a bass line that moves steadily in a rhythm contrasting to that of the upper parts; in jazz, a walking bass usually moves by steps played on bass or piano, with each note usually having the duration of a quarter note


Walnut A wood of rich brown color with occasional black streaks. It produces a striking instrument with a crisp, dry tone, a strong fundamental and with age is very stable. Black Walnut is gray in color, often with contrasting tan center strips. Peruvian Walnut is dark chocolate brown color and often with interesting, broad, dark lines. Mayan Walnut is very even colored and straight grained and is very easy to work. The color is a light-mocha with contrasting dark gray grain lines.

Walzer (German) waltz

Walzertempo (German) waltz-time

Water-Based Lacquer 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

Wiegenlied (German) lullaby, berceuse, cradle-song

Whole Step (American) a whole tone

Whole Tone the interval of a major second

Whole Tone Scale six note scale where the interval between successive notes is a whole step

World music music where influences from more that one cultural tradition intermingle, first made popular in the 1980s









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