Choose the letter which begins musical term that you would like to learn about:
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.
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.
The assumption of a new key by simply beginning on its tonic after a perfect authentic cadence in the old key.
A solo passage, often virtuosic, usually near
the end of a piece, either written by the composer or improvised
by the performer.
A sudden silencing of the sound; a pause or break,
indicated by the following symbol: //
A direction found in scores to change tuning or
Following easily and gently.
Another name for a natural sign . It is also organ stop.
The strictest form of imitation, in which two or
more parts have the same melody but start at different points.
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.
In singing style.
Baroque sacred or secular choral composition
containing solos, duets, and choruses, with orchestral or keyboard
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.
A 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.
Key of C major.
Hymn-like song, characterized by blocked chords.
A combination of three or more tones sounded simultaneously.
Ascending or descending by half steps.
A scale composed of 12 half steps.
Circle of fifths
The succession of keys or chords proceeding
Music conforming to certain form and structure.
Usually music composed during the period 1770-1825.
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
and the F or 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.
Key of C minor.
Closing section of a composition. An added ending.
Col, coll', colla
With or "with the."
A person who creates (composes) music. Read biographies of many composers and musicians.
With spirit; vigorously.
A public performance of music.
Concert grand piano
The largest of the grand pianos,
usually about nine feet long.
A short concerto. The group of soloists in
a concerto grosso.
First chair violinist in an orchestra.
A piece for a soloist and orchestra.
The international tuning pitch - currently
A 440 or 442. The pitch for non-transposing (C) instruments.
The directing of a group of musicians.
The person who directs a group of musicians.
Pitches on successive degrees of the scale;
opposite of disjunct.
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.
A 17th-century term for instrumental chamber
ensembles and for the compositions written for these ensembles.
The octave below normal.
A vocal part which contrasts with the principal
The technique of combining single melodic
lines or parts of equal importance.
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.
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
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