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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

S
Abbreviation for "segno", sign; "senza", without; "sinistra", left; "subito", suddenly.

Sanft
Soft, gentle.

Sans
Without.

Scale
A succession of tones. The scale generally used in Western music is the diatonic scale, consisting of whole and half steps in a specific order.

Scherzo
"Joke." A piece in a lively tempo. A movement of a symphony, sonata, or quartet in quick triple time, replacing the minuet.

Schnell
Fast.

Score
The written depiction of all the parts of a musical ensemble with the parts stacked vertically and rhythmically aligned.

Secco
"Dry." Unornamented.

Second
The second degree of the diatonic scale. Also, the interval formed by a given tone and the next tone above or below it, e.g. c up to d, or c down to b. Interval of the second may be major, diminished, or augmented.

Section
A division of a musical composition.

Segno
Segno"Sign."

Sehr
Very.

Semitone
A half step. The smallest interval on the keyboard.

Sempre
Always. Used with other terms, e.g. sempre staccato.

Semplice
Simple.

Senza
Without. Used with other terms, e.g. senza crescendo.

Septet
A piece for seven instruments or voices. Seven performers.

Sequence
The repetition of a melodic pattern on a higher or lower pitch level.

Serenade
A love song or piece, usually performed below someone's window in the evening.

Sereno
Serene, peaceful.

Seventh
The seventh degree of the diatonic scale. Also, the interval formed by a given tone and the seventh tone above or below it, e.g. c up to b, or c down to d. Intervals of the seventh may be major, minor, diminished, or augmented.

Seventh chord
When a seventh (above the root) is added to a triad (root, third, fifth), the result is a seventh chord, e.g. the dominant triad in the key of C major, g-b-d, with the added seventh becomes g-b-d-f and is labelled V7.

Sforzando, Sfz, Sf
Sudden strong accent on a note or chord.

Sharp
SharpA symbol which raises the pitch of a note one-half step.

Sheet music
An individually printed song, most often for voice, piano, guitar,or a combination of the three. Any printed music.

Shifting meter
The changing of meter within a composition. Synonymous with changing meter.

Simile
An indication to continue in the same manner.

Sin'
Until.

Sinistra
Left hand.

Sino
Until.

Six-four chord
The second inversion of a triad, made by placing the fifth of the chord in the lowest voice, e.g. CSix-four chordis g-c-e.

Sixteenth note and rest
Sixteenth note and restA note and rest half the length of an eighth note and a sixteenth the length of a whole note.

Sixteenth notes
Four sixteenth notesSixteenth notes beamed together. These 4, in 4/4 time, are equal to one Quarter note

Sixth
The sixth degree of the diatonic scale. Also, the interval formed by a given tone and the sixth tone above or below it, e.g. c up to a, or c down to e. Intervals of the sixth may be major, minor, diminished, or augmented.

Sixth chord
The first inversion of a triad, made by placing the third of the chord in the lowest voice, e.g. C6 is e-g-c.

Skip
Melodic movement of more than one whole step.

Slur
A curved line placed above or below two or more notes of different pitch to indicate that they are to be performed in legato style.

Smorzando
Fading away.

Soave
Sweet, mild.

Sognando
Dreamily.

Sol
In solmization, the fifth degree of the major scale.

Solmization
The term for the use of syllables for the degrees of the major scale: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la ti, do. The minor scale (natural) is la, ti, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la.

Solo
To perform alone or as the predominant part.

Sonata
An instrumental piece, often in several movements.

Sonatina
A short sonata.

Sostenuto
Sustaining of tone or slackening of tempo.

Spiccato
On string instruments, a bowing technique wherein the bow is bounced on the string at moderate speed.

Staccato
Detached sounds, indicated by a dot over or under a note. The opposite of legato.

Staff
The most frequently used staff has five horizontal lines, with four spaces, upon which the notes and other musical symbols are placed. The plural of staff is staves.

Stanza
A selection of a song, two or more lines long, characterized by a common meter, rhyme, and number of lines.

Stesso
Same.

String instrument family
Instruements with strings that produce sound when plucked, bowed, or struck.

Strophic
A term used to describe a song in which all the stanzas of the text are sung to the same music. The opposite of through-composed.

Subdominant
The fourth degree of the major or minor scale. Also, the name of the triad built on the fourth degree of the scale, indicated by IV in a major key and by iv in a minor key.

Subito
Suddenly.

Submediant
The sixth degree of a major or minor scale. Also, the name of the triad built on the sixth degree of the scale, indicated by VI in a major key and by vi in a minor key.

Sul
On the.

Supertonic
The second degree of the major or minor scale. Also, the name of the triad built on the second degree of the scale, indicated by II in a major scale and iio in a minor scale.

Sur
On, over.

Suspension
The use of a nonharmonic tone to delay the resolution of a chord, frequently as it occurs in a cadence.

Svelto
Quick, light.

Symphony
A piece for large orchestra, usually in four movements, in which the first movement often is in sonata form. A large orchestra.

Syncopation
Accent on an unexpected beat.


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

Many thanks to Dearest for everything!


 
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