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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

C
The first note in the scale of C. The sign for common time (4/4) is not really a C but two thirds of a circle.

Cadence
A chordal or melodic progression which occurs at the close of a phrase, section, or composition, giving a feeling of repose; a temporary or permanent ending. The most frequently used cadences are perfect, plagal, and deceptive. Other types of cadences are Authentic, Perfect authentic, Imperfect authentic, Half, Perfect plagal,Imperfect plagal and Phrygian.

Cadential modulation
The assumption of a new key by simply beginning on its tonic after a perfect authentic cadence in the old key.

Cadenza
A solo passage, often virtuosic, usually near the end of a piece, either written by the composer or improvised by the performer.

Caesura
A sudden silencing of the sound; a pause or break, indicated by the following symbol: //

Calmo, calmato
Calm.

Cambiata
A direction found in scores to change tuning or instruments.

Camminando
Following easily and gently.

Cancel
Another name for a natural sign Natural. It is also organ stop.

Canon
The strictest form of imitation, in which two or more parts have the same melody but start at different points.

Canonic
A term used to describe a polyphonic style of music in which all the parts have the same melody but which start at different times.

Cantabile
In singing style.

Cantata
Baroque sacred or secular choral composition containing solos, duets, and choruses, with orchestral or keyboard accompaniment.

Carol
The term was derived from a medieval French word, carole, a circle dance. In England it was first associated with pagan songs celegrating the winter solstice. It then developed into a song of praise and celebration, usually for Christmas.

C clef
C ClefA clef usually centered on the first line (soprano clef), third line (alto clef), fourth line (tenor clef), or third space (vocal tenor clef) of the staff. Wherever it is centered, that line or space becomes middle C.

C dur
Key of C major.

Chance music
Aleatoric music.

Chorale
Hymn-like song, characterized by blocked chords.

Chord
A combination of three or more tones sounded simultaneously.

Chromatic
Ascending or descending by half steps.

Chromatic scale
A scale composed of 12 half steps.

Circle of fifths
The succession of keys or chords proceeding by fifths.

Classical
Music conforming to certain form and structure. Usually music composed during the period 1770-1825.

Clef
A symbol placed at the beginning of the staff to indicate the pitch of the notes on the staff. The most commonly used clefs in choral music are the G (treble) clef Treble Clef and the F or bass clef Bass Clef. On the keyboard, all the notes above middle C are said to be in the G clef; all the notes below middle C in the F clef.

C mol
Key of C minor.

Coda
Closing section of a composition. An added ending.

Col, coll', colla
With or "with the."

Common time
4/4 meter.

Complete cadence
I-IV-V-I progression.

Composer
A person who creates (composes) music. Read biographies of many composers and musicians.

Con
With.

Con brio
With spirit; vigorously.

Con calore
With warmth.

Concert
A public performance of music.

Concert grand piano
The largest of the grand pianos, usually about nine feet long.

Concertino
A short concerto. The group of soloists in a concerto grosso.

Concert master
First chair violinist in an orchestra.

Concerto
A piece for a soloist and orchestra.

Concert pitch
The international tuning pitch - currently A 440 or 442. The pitch for non-transposing (C) instruments.

Conducting
The directing of a group of musicians.

Conductor
The person who directs a group of musicians.

Con intensita
With intensity.

Conjunct
Pitches on successive degrees of the scale; opposite of disjunct.

Con moto
With motion.

Consonance
Intervallic relationships which produce sounds of repose. Frequently associated with octave, third and sixth intervals; however, fourths and fifths may be sounds of consonance, as in both early and Twentieth-century music.

Consort
A 17th-century term for instrumental chamber ensembles and for the compositions written for these ensembles.

Con spirito
With spirit.

Contra
The octave below normal.

Corda, corde
String.

Countermelody
A vocal part which contrasts with the principal melody.

Counterpoint
The technique of combining single melodic lines or parts of equal importance.

Crescendo
Crescendo Gradually louder.

Cue
Indication by the conductor; or a spoken word or gesture for a performer to make an entry. Small notes that indicate another performer's part. Music occurrence in a film.

Cut time
Cuttime2/2 meter.


Welcome to the O'Connor Music Studio Web Page! 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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