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Music History and Literature Music Theory Performance Music Learning, K-12 Professional Practices

Absolute Music

Pure music, not linked to words or descriptive ideas. Opposite of program music.

Alberti Bass

Accompaniment style popular in the classical period. Instead of writing simple chords for the left hand, the composer arranges the same notes in a pattern of broken chords.

Alto Clef

C clef used by the viola. C is on the middle line.


Pick up bar.


Alternate singing or playing by different groups.


Instruction to use the bow after a plucked passage of music.


Chord whose notes are played one after another. Sometimes it is written as a chord preceded by a wiggly line.


Musical shaping and phrasing. Marks include staccato, legato, accent.


Without key center


Increasing the note values of a musical theme, usually to twice their value.


Made larger.

Bare chord

Chord without a third.

Binary form

Two part form - A B. The first section modulates (usually to the dominant). The second section is often longer than the first and uses similar material.


Based on a chord pattern using primary chords (I IV V).

C Clefs

Alto and tenor clefs


Gives stopping place to breathe. Signals the end of both small and large musical sections.

Perfect Cadence

Cadence: V - I

Plagal Cadence

Cadence: IV -I

Interrupted Cadence

Cadence: V - vi

Imperfect Cadence

I - V
ii - V
IV - V


Type of counterpoint (polyphony) where one or more voices imitate a leading voice.


Notes that are not in the key of the composition. Romatic period is known as the period of chromaticism.


Ending section designed to round off a musical composition.


Combination of aggreable tones.


Second melody above or below the main melody. Descant is a type of countermelody.

Cross Rhythm

Two conflicting rhythms used at the same time. Also known as polyrhythm.


Modification of motif and themes. The main ways of developing a theme are by imitation, sequence, inversion, fragmentation, augmentation, and diminution.


Repeating a theme or motif with notes of smaller value (usually half)


Made smaller.


Effect of tension or disturbance made by using discords in music. Jazz uses many colorful dissonant chords.


Fifth tone in a major or minor scale.


Developing a phrase or motif by making it longer.


Musical announcement played on brass instruments before the arrival of an important person. Usually played on trumpets and built from the notes of one major triad.

Figured Bass

Used by composers in the Baroque period. Numbers underneath the bass line told the performer which chords to play. The bass part was called the continuo. Each number represents an interval between the bass and the note to be supplied.


Breaking of a theme into segments in order to develop it


Gliding or sliding from one note to another. Can be shown by a line between notes or by writing the actual notes to be played.


Glissando in vocal music


Glissando in jazz music

Hammer on

Articulation on guitar produced by sliding the finger from one fret to the next up and back.


High, clear, pure sound produced on a string instrument by lightly stopping the string at its halfway point.


Sound that results when two or more notes are played at the same time.


Breaking of a melody into single notes or very short phrases by using rests. The melody is then shared between different voices.


Music that moves in harmonic blocks (as opposed to the linear way polyphonic music moves)


Repetition by one or more different voices of a phrase.

Rhythmic Imitation

Only the rhythm of a passage is imitated, not the melody.

Imitation by Inversion

Phrase is imitated by turning it upsidedown.


Bars of music before the main tune begins.


Turning upside down. Change of the relative position of an interval, chord, or melody.

Inversions of chords are used to...

Give a more melodic bass part and to give variety to the music.

A melody moves by inversion if...

It moves in contrary motion when repeated. Sometimes the intervals are not exact.

Irregular rhythm

Rhythms that constantly change or are grouped in a different way.

Leading Note

Seventh tone in a major or minor scale


Third tone in a major or minor scale


Series of tones arranged in a rhythmic pattern, often built by repeating and varying a motif.

Passing Notes

Form of decoration; Unessential note that is not part of the harmony. Occurs off the beat.

Accented Passing Note

An unessential note that falls on the beat

Auxiliary Notes

Come between notes of the same pitch, either a note higher or note lower.


Unessential note that forms part of the harmony

Notes of Anticipation

Come at the end of a passage and anticipate the final chord.


Note that does not form part of the harmony and is approached by a leap and quitted by a step


Interval of less than a semitone

Harmonic Minor Scale

Sharpened leading note ascending and descending

Melodic Minor Scale

Sharpened 6 and 7, but reverted to naturals when descending

Natural Minor Scale

Natural Pitch

Dorian Mode

Mode: D-D


Mode: A-A


Mode: E-E


Mode: B-B


Mode: F-F


Mode: C-C


Mode: G-G


Music with a single melody line and no harmony.


Smallest unit of musical form. Can be as short as two notes or as long as six. A motif has Clear rhythmic patterns as well as a clear melodic outline.


Short, constantly repeated motif. Usually, but not always in the bass.

Pedal Point

A long held note or series of repeated notes, usually in the bass, above which harmonies constantly change. Tonic and dominant pedals are the most common.

Inverted Pedal

If the pedal is in any part other than the bass.

Pentatonic Scale

Scale consisting of five notes. No semitones. One major third, two minor thirds. All fifths are perfect.


Smallest complete unit of musical form containing about as much as can be held in a normal breath. Can be two to eight bars long.


Music where two or more equally important melodic lines are combined and woven together with rhythmic contrast happening between the voices.


Simultaneous use of two or more keys.

Primary Triads

I, IV, V

Programme Music

Music that attemtps to paint a picture or mood, describe an action, or tell a story. Very popular in the Romantic period.

Pull off

Articulation for guitar produced by sliding the finger from one fret to the next down and back. Similar to a slur.


Steady beat that is present in almost every musical composition.


Part of the total pitch range of an instrument that has a distinctive quality.


Occurs when a phrase is repeated immediately at exactly the same pitch.


A composition or part of a composition that can be performed backwards as well as forwards.

Rhythmic displacement

Repeating a rhythm in a different part of the bar.


Continuously repeated musical phrase in jazz music, played over changing harmonies.

Rondo Form

A B A C A. Usually sections B and C are in a different key.


Way of playing or singing in which some of the notes are slightly hurried while others are slowed down. Free flowing expressiveness according to the performer.


Smallest interval in common use in western music. The interval between one note on the piano and the next.

Major Scale Semitones

Between 3/4 and 7/8

Harmonic Minor Scale Semitones

Between 2/3, 5/6, 7/8


Repetition of a musical idea at a higher or lower pitch.

Real Sequence

Exact transposition of each note in a sequence.

Tonal Sequence

Intervals of the first phrase are NOT reproduced exactly.

Harmonic Sequences

Occur in all parts. Fundamental then up an octave then a fifth

Melodic Sequences

Only occur in the melody over an independent bass.


Where a composer imitates a passage, but the second part enters before the first part has ended.


Fourth tone in a major/minor scale


Sixth tone in a major or minor scale


Second tone in a major/minor scale


Maelzel's Metronome

Tenor Clef

C clef sometimes used by the cello, bassoon, and trombone. C is on the second to top line

Ternary Form

Three part musical form created by repeating the first section without changing. A B A.


Thick or thin - How many instruments or voices are performing together.


Tone color or quality of sound.


Another word for key.


Key note. Tonic of C major is C. The tonic triad is C E G.

Tonic Minor

Minor key with the same tonic as a major one. C major and C minor.

Unrelated Chord

Chord that is in a different key to the one before it with no notes in common.

Whole Tone Scale

Consists entirely of whole steps.

Instruction on string instruments begins no later than grade


General music is required until grade


(Elementary/Middle School) Every music course meets at least every other day in periods of at least ____ minutes.



Journal of Research for Music Education

The School Music Program: A New Vision

Provides music educators with a blueprint for music curricula based on the best practices of the past, modified to meet the needs of the future. In addition to K-12 National Standards, it contains prekindergarten standards developed by MENC: The National Association for Music Education, as well as an explanation of their impact on music educators.

National Standards for Music Education: Content 1

1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music

National Standards for Music Education: Content 2

2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music

National Standards for Music Education: Content 3

3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments

National Standards for Music Education: Content 4

4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines

National Standards for Music Education: Content 5

5. Reading and notating music

National Standards for Music Education: Content 6

6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music

National Standards for Music Education: Content 7

7. Evaluating music and music performances

National Standards for Music Education: Content 8

8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts

National Standards for Music Education: Content 9

9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture


The National Association for Music. World's largest arts education organizations. 1907, MENC worked to ensure every student has access to a well-balanced. Developed National Standards for Arts Education.


American Choral Directors Association


American Orff-Schulwerk Association


Organization of American Kodaly Educators


American String Teachers Association


American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers


Music Publishers' Association


Music Teachers National Association


The International Music Products Association


National Association of Schools of Music


National School Boards Association

National Standards for Arts Education

This volume contains content and achievement standards for music, dance, theatre, and visual arts for grades K-12. Developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations (American Alliance for Theatre & Education, MENC, National Art Education Association, and National Dance Association) under the guidance of the National Committee for Standards in the Arts.

Extrensic Reward

Verbal praise, candy, treats, games, surprises

Intrensic Reward

Child figures out a concept, excels in a skill, feels pride in ability

School Music Program: A New Vision K-4

Sing on pitch and rhythm, steady tempo, ostinatos, rounds, partner songs, improvise simple ostinato accompaniments, improvise short songs, use body and nontraditional sounds to make music, create and arrange music to accompany readings, create short songs, read whole, half, dotted half, quarter, eighth notes, rests in 2/4, 3/2, 4/4 meter, Use system (syllables, numbers, letters) reading simple pitch notation, Navajo, Arabic, Latin American music, Evaluate music,

School Music Program: A New Vision 5-8

Sing with breath control, alone and in small and large ensembles, sing with expression vocal lit. on a difficulty level of 2 including songs from memory, two and three parts, improvise simple harmonic accompaniments, simple rhythmic and melodic variations on given pentatonic melodies and major keys, read whole, hald, quarter, eighth, sixteenths, and dotted notes and rests in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 3/8 and alla breve. SR music with difficulty of 2, recognize jazz, mariachi, gamelan

School Music Program: A New Vision 9-12

Sing with expression and technical accuracy, large and varied repertoire of vocal literature difficulty of 4 on scale of 6, sing 4 parts with and without accompaniment, improvise stylistically appropriate harmonizing parts, improvise in pentatonic, major and minor keys, compose in several distinct styles, evolve criteria for making informed critical evaluations of the quality, compose, arrange, improvise, Baroque, Sub-Saharan, African, Korean, sing, broadway musicals, blues.

Opportunity-To-Learn Standards for Music Instruction: Grades PreK-12

Facilities, Course Offerings, Scheduling, Staffing, Materials, Equipment

Psychomotor Skills

Manual or physical skills (body)

Cognitive Skills

Mental skills (knowledge)

Affective Behaviors

Growth in physical or emotional areas (attitude)

90 Minutes

(Elementary) Student recieves general music instruction each week for at least _____. Excluding time devoted to elective instrumental or choral instruction. Music is woven into the curriculum throughout the school day.

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