Choose the letter which begins musical term that you would like to learn about:
Much, so much.
The rate of speed in a musical work.
Return to the original tempo.
The C clef falling on the fourth line of the
Hold or sustain a note longer than the indicated
value, usually not as long a duration as the fermata.
Three-part form in which the middle section
is different from the other sections. Indicated by ABA.
The Baroque style of using sudden changes
in dynamic levels, as opposed to gradual increase and decrease
A term used to describe music based on
chords arranged in intervals of thirds.
The general pitch range of a vocal part.
The term used to describe the way in which melodic
lines are combined, either with or without accompaniment. Types
include monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic, or contrapuntal.
The musical subject of a piece (usually a melody),
as in sonata form or a fugue. An extramusical concept behind a
Theme and variations
A statement of musical subject followed
by restatements in different guises.
The study of how music is put together.
The third degree of the diatonic scale. Also, the
interval formed by a given tone and the third tone above or below
it, e.g. c up to e, or c down to a. Intervals of the third may
be major, minor, diminished, or augmented.
A term used to describe a song in which
the music for each stanza is different. The opposite of strophic.
In solmization, the seventh degree of the major scale.
Also called the leading tone.
A curved line over or below two or more notes of
the same pitch. The first pitch is sung or played and held for
the duration of the notes affected by the tie.
Synonymous with meter signature.
The term used to describe the organization of
the melodic and harmonic elements to give a feeling of a key center
or a tonic pitch.
A note; the basis of music.
The simultaneous sounding of two or more
adjacent tonic tones.
On wind instruments, articulation with the
The first note of a key. Also, the name of the
chord built on the first degree of the scale, indicated by I in
a major key or i in a minor key.
Tone, key, pitch.
Tranquilly; quietly; calm.
The process of changing the key of a composition.
Three. Used with other terms, e.g. a tre voci, in
The G clef falling
on the second line of the staff.
A chord of three tones arranged in thirds, e.g.
the C-major triad c-e-g, root-third-fifth.
A musical ornament performed by the
rapid alternation of a given note with a major or minor second
Meter based on three beats, or a multiple
of three, in a measure.
A group of three notes
performed in the time of two of the same kind.
Too much. Used with other terms, e.g. allegro
non troppo, not too fast.
A musical ornament characterized
by the rapid performance of a given note, the major or minor second
above and below, and a return to the given note.
All. A direction for the entire ensemble to sing
or play simultaneously.
A system of composition which uses
the twelve tones of the chromatic scale in an arbitrary arrangement
called a tone row or series. The row may be used in its original
form, its inversion, in retrograde, and in the inversion of the
retrograde. The system was devised by Arnold Schoenberg in the
early Twentieth century.
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
Many thanks to
Dearest for everything!