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a tempo

return to the original tempo

adagio

slowly

agitato

agitated

allargando

broadening

allegro

quickly

andante

walking tempo

brio

spirit, vigor

cantabile

in a singing style

crescendo

gradually getting louder

D.C.

return to the begining

D.S.

return to the sign

decrescendo

gradually getting softer

dolce

sweetly

espressivo

expressively

forte

loud

fortissimo

very loud

giocoso

playful

grandioso

grand

grave

solemn

grazioso

graceful

l'istesso

same l'

largo

very slowly

legato

smooth, connected

leggiero

light

maesto

majestically

marcato

marked, accented

mezzo

medium

moderato

moderately

molto

much

morendo

dying away

mosso

motion

moto

motion

pianissimo

very soft

piano

soft

poco

little

poco a poco

little by little

presto

very quick

rallentando

gradually getting slower

ritardando

gradually getting slower

rubato

with freedom

sempre

always

sforzando

heavily accented, with force

simile

same si

sordino

mute

staccato

detached

stringendo

gradually getting faster

subito

suddenly

tenuto

connected, full value

tranquillo

tranquil

vivace

lively

A cappella

Unaccompanied choral singing

Accelerando

The music gradually becomes faster

Alto (voice)

The lowest female voice

Arpeggio

Notes of a chord played one after the other

Ascending

Notes which rise in pitch

Bass (voice)

The lowest male voice

Bowing

Using a bow for a stringed instrument

Brass

A family of instruments made from metal with a mouthpiece, e.g. trumpet and trombone

Broken chord

The notes of a chord are played separately

Cadenza

Performers improvise and play to show-off

Canon

After one part starts to play or sing a melody, another part enters shortly afterwards with exactly the same melody

Chord

Two or more notes sounding together

Compound time

The beat is divided into groups of three pulses

Concerto

Work for solo instrument and orchestra

Crescendo

The music gradually becomes louder

Descant

Another melody above the main tune

Descending

Notes which fall in pitch

Diminuendo

The music gradually becomes quieter

Drone

One note, held on or repeated in the bass.

Fanfare

A short piece played on trumpets for an occasion

Flutter tonguing

A method of tonguing in which the player rolls the letter r

Glissando

Sliding from one note to another

Harmony

The sound of two or more notes made at the same time

Imitation

Where the melody is immediately copied higher or lower in another part

Jazz

At first this was music created by black Americans in the early 20th century.

Legato

The notes are played or sung smoothly

Melismatic

Several notes sung to one syllable

Octave

The distance between a note and the nearest note with the same name

Ornament

Decorates a melody by adding extra notes

Pedal

A note which is held on or is repeated continuously in the bass beneath changing harmonies

basso continuo

continuous bass part, often with figures to indicate chords to be improvised on a harmony instrument

continuo

a bass line only, unsually played on bassoon, cello, double bass

contrapuntal

two or more parts weaved together as a musical texture (polyphonic)

diatonic

notes belonging to the scale of the key you are in

fugue

composition based on a melody, repeated in combination with rhythmically independent counter subject

ground bass

bass is repeated over and over whilst composition plays above

homophonic

musical texture which focuses on a single melody with accompaning harmonies (mainly chordal)

melisma

flourish of notes sung to a single syllable

monophonic

single melodic line without supporting harmonies

pedal

note that repeats against changing harmony

polyphonic

two or more parts weaved together as a musical texture (contrapuntal)

polyrhythmic

two or more different rhythms going along at the same time, strongly conflicting with each other

polytonality

use of two or more keys played simultaneously, may have a melody in one key and supporting harmonies in another

Aerophone

Any instrument that generates sound by vibrating a column of air

Alto

The lower, heavier female voice

Art Music

Music intended for careful attention to its sounds and expressive qualities

Bass

The lower, heavier male voice

Beat

The pulse or throb that recurs regularly in music

Cadence

A melodic or harmonic formula that gives a sense of phrase ending. In poetic usage, it sometimes refers to beat or tempo

Cadenza

A section in which a soloist plays a free paraphrase on the themes of the work

Call-and-Response

The form found in African music in which phrases of music are exchanged between soloist and group

Canon

Music in which one of more lines imitate one another for almost the entire work

Chord

The simultaneous sounding of three or more pitches

Chordophone

Any instrument that produces sound by vibrating strings

Classical Music

The popular term for Concert Music

Concert Music

Music created for the intellectual and psychological satisfaction it provides

Concerto

A multi-movement work consisting of music that contrasts a soloist with an orchestra or band

Consonance

A group of simultaneous sounds that seems agreeable or restful

Counterpoint Melody

Two of more independent lines with melodic character occurring at the same time

Crescendo

The music should gradually become louder

Decrescendo

The music should gradually become softer

Dissonance

A group of simultaneous sounds that seems disagreeable or harsh

Downbeat

The first beat of a measure

Dynamics

The amount of loudness in music

Form

The pattern or plan of a musical work

Harmony

The simultaneous sounds of several pitches, usually in accompanying a melody

Homophony

The texture consisting of a line of melody with accompaniment

Ideophone

A percussion instrument other than a drum

Imitation

The repetition of a theme in another part of line or a few beats later

Interval

The distance between two pitches

Key

Any of 24 major or minor diatonic scales that provide the tonal framework for a piece of music

Major Scale

A series of seven different pitches within an octave, with half steps between the third and fourth steps and the seventh and eighth steps

Measure

A group of beats marked as a separate unit in music

Melody

A series of consecutive pitches that form a cohesive musical entity

Membranophone

Any instrument that produces sounds from a skin or other membrane

Meter

The regular pattern of stressed and unstressed beats

Minor Scale

A series of seven pitches within an octave, with a half step between the second and third steps

Modulation

Changing the tonal center as the music progresses, usually without a break

Monophony

One melodic line without any accompaniment

Motive

A short musical idea that is a unifying element in a musical work

Movement

A large instrumental section of an instrumental composition

Mute

A device for muffling of dampening the sound of an instrument

Octave

A pitch that has twice or half the frequency of vibrations of another; usually the two pitches have the same letter designation

Phrase

A rather short, logical segment of music; it is comparable to a clause or phrase in language

Pitch

The perceived highness of lowness of a musical sound

Pizzicato

Notes on a string instrument that are played by the player's fingers plucking the string instead of using the bow

Polyphony

Music in which two or more melodic lines of approximately equal importance are sounded at the same time

Polyrhythm

Two or more rhythm patterns occurring simultaneously

Rhythm

The flow of music in terms of time

Scale

A series of pitches that proceeds upward of downward according to a prescribed pattern

Soprano

The higher, lighter female voice

Syncopation

The displacement of an accent so that it occurs where it is not normally expected or does not occur where it is expected

Tempo

The speed of the beats in a piece of music

Tenor

(1) The higher, lighter male voice. (2) The line in a medieval motet that contains the phrases from Gregorian Chant

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