Highness or lowness of a sound.
Level of volume.
Rate of a sound wave's vibrations.
A particular range of pitches.
Sound with specific pitch, produced by a constant rate of vibration of the sound-producing medium.
Sign (#) indicating that a tone is to be preformed one-half step higher than notated.
Sign (b) indicating that a tone is to be preformed one-half step lower than notated.
Five lines and four spaces on which music is notated.
Distance between two pitches.
Interval of an eighth, as from C to C.
Arrangement of time in music.
Elements of music
Basic materials of which music is composed: rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre.
Rate of speed at which a musical piece is performed.
Sign that indicates silence, or the cessation of musical sound.
Basic underlying pulse of music.
Strong sound. Accents may be achieved by stress, duration, or position of a tone.
Organization of rhythm into patterns of strong and weak beats.
Unit containing a number of beats.
Two beats per measure.
Three beats per measure.
Four beats per measure.
First beat of a measure.
Last beat of a measure.
Meaningful succession of pitches.
Section of a melody, comparable to a section or phrase of a sentence.
Melodic phrase repeated at different levels of pitch.
Melody that is easy to recognize, memorize, and sing.
Melody that recurs throughout a section, a movement, or an entire composition.
Motive, Motivic melody
Short melodic phrase that may be effectively developed.
Relatively long, songlike melody.
Ascending or descending pattern of half steps, whole steps, or both.
Ascending pattern of steps as follows: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.
Ascending pattern of steps as follows: whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole.
Tonic (tonic note)
First and most important note of the major or minor scale, to which all other notes in the scale are subordinate.
The major or minor scale on which a composition is based.
Twelve consecutive half steps within the range of an octave.
Six consecutive whole steps within the range of an octave.
Five-note scale. (example playing the five black keys in an octave)
Simultaneous sounding of two or more different tones.
Meaningful (as opposed to random) combination of three or more tones.
Chord with three tones, consisting of two superimposed thirds.
Tonality, tonal system
System of harmony, based on the major and minor scales, that has dominated Western music since the seventeenth century.
Fifth note of the major or minor scale.
Fourth note of the major or minor scale.
Active, unsettled sound.
Passive sound that seems to be at rest.
Manner in which melodic lines are used in music.
Monophonic Texture (monophony)
One unaccompanied melodic line.
Polyphonic Texture (polyphony)
Combination of two or more simultaneous melodic lines.
Melody that may be performed by two or more voices entering at different times, producing meaningful harmony.
Homophonic Texture (homophony)
Melodic line accompanied by chordal harmony.
Medium-range female voice.
Low female voice.
High male voice.
Medium-range male voice.
Low male voice.
Mixed ensemble of string, wind, and percussion instruments.
An instrumental ensemble consisting of members of the four families of instruments, dominated by strings.
Instruments that may be bowed, strummed, struck, or plucked. Orchestral string instruments include the violin, viola, cello, string bass (or double bass), and harp.
The technique of plucking bowed string instruments.
Wind instruments that include the piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone.
Wind instruments that include the trumpet, trombone, (French) horn, and tuba.
All instruments that may be played by shaking, rubbing, or striking the instrument itself. These include the timpani (tuned kettledrums), other drums, chimes, tambourine, triangle, cymbals, and various mallet instruments, such as the xylophone.
Instruments on which sound is produced by pressing keys on a keyboard.
Levers, handles, or buttons that allow an organist to change timbres at will.
A highly versatile electronic sound generator capable of producing and altering an infinite variety of sounds.
A system allowing composers to manage quantities of complex information, and making it possible for unrelated electronic devices to communicate with each other.
The notated parts for all the voices and instruments of a music composition.
Process of simultaneously composing and performing music.
Moral and ethical qualities of music.
Science of sound.
Seven-note scales within the range of an octave.
Restrained, objective style of art.
Emotional, subjective style of art.
Medieval period, Middle Ages
The period from about 500 to 1450 CE.
The text and formal arrangement of a religious service.
Polyphonic music conceived without an intention that the combined melody lines should form chordal or harmonic combinations.
Production of music by several voices or instruments at the same pitch, performed at the same octave or at different octaves.
Unaccompanied group singing.
Plainsong, Plainchant, Chant, Gregorian Chant*
Music to which portions of the Catholic service are sung. The texture is monophonic, the timbre that of unaccompanied voices. Organized by Pope Gregory I
A sustained or repeated tone.
Age of Humanism
A period, characterized by a new optimism, that began in the fourteenth-century Italy and spread throughout western Europe during the Renaissance.
A polyphonic composition in which all the voices perform the same melody, beginning at different times.
A persistently ("obstinately") repeated melodic or rhythmic pattern.
Roman Catholic worship service.