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Choose the letter which begins musical term that you would like to learn about:


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A 440
a1, equal to 440 vibrations per second, in unanimously adopted as the standard pitch.

Absolute
Absolute music. Music which is inspired by itself rather than extramusical implications such as the stories legends of "program" music.

A cappella
Unaccompanied.

Accelerando, accel
Gradually faster.

Accent
> placed above a note to indicate stress or emphasis.

Acciaccatura
A short appogiatura or grace note sounded simulatneously with the following note.

Accidental
A sharp, flat, or natural not included in the given key.

Accompaniment
A vocal or instrument part that supports or is background for a solo part.

Adagietto
Less slow than than adagio, or a short piece in adagio tempo.

Adagio
Slow; slower than andante, faster than largo.

Adagio assi
Very slowly.

Adagio cantabile
Very slow and sustained, as if being sung.

Addolorato
Sorrowfully.

Ad libitum, ad lib
A term which permits the performer to vary the tempo and/or to include or omit a vocal or instrumental part. Synonymous with a piacere.

A due
Return to unison after divisi.

Affrettando
Hurrying.

Agilmente
Lively.

Agitato
Agitated; with excitement.

Al, all', alla, alle
To; used with other words, e.g. al Fine (to the end).

Album
A full length recording. In pop music, it contains a number of songs.

Al coda
"To the coda."

Aleatory, or aleatoric music
Chance music in which the performers are free to perform their own material and/or their own manner of presentation.

Al fine
To the end.

Alla breve
Alla breve Cut time; meter in which there are two beats in each measure and a half note receives one beat.

Allargando, allarg
Slowing of tempo, usually with increasing volume; most frequently occurs toward the end of a piece.

Allegretto
Slower than allegro.

Allegro
Quick tempo; cheerful.

Al segno
Return to the sign, Dal segno.

Alteration
The raising or lowering of a note by means of an accidental.

Alto clef
Alto ClefThe C clef falling on the third line of the staff. Most of the time is used by the viola.

Ancora
Repeat.

Andante
Moderate tempo.

Andantino
Slightly faster than andante.

A niente
To nothing, e.g. to ppp.

Animato
Animated; lively.

A piacere
Freedom in performance. Synonymous with ad libitum.

Appassionato
Impassioned.

Appoggiatura
A nonharmonic tone, usually a half or whole step above the harmonic tone, which is performed on the beat and then resolved.

Arabesque
A fanciful piano piece. Ornate passage varying or accompanying a theme.

Arpeggio
A term used to describe the pitches of a chord as they are sung or played one after the other, rather than simultaneously.

Arrache
Strong pizzicato.

Arrangement
An adaption of a composition.

Articulation
The degree to which notes are separated or connected, such as staccato or legato.

A tempo
Return to the previous tempo.

Atonality
Lacking a tonal center.

Augmentation
Compositional technique in which a melodic line is repeated in longer note values. The opposite of diminution.

Augmented
The term for a major or perfect interval which has been enlarged by one half-step, e.g. c-gSharp , (an augmented fifth,) or c-dSharp , (an augmented second). Also used for a triad with an augmented fifth, e.g. the augmented tonic triad in C major, C+, c-e-gSharp.

Authentic Cadence
The cadence composed of the progression from dominant (V) to tonic (I) harmonies.


Welcome to the O'Connor Music Studio Web Page!


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Some definitions and terms excerpted from
Belwin Pocket Dictionary of Music: Music Theory Dictionary
By Dr. William Lee
Students may purchase a copy for home use at cost
A line of music

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