Higher Music Concepts
A comprehensive list of the higher music concepts
Terms in this set (72)
A type of early scale used before major and minor keys were developed. Modes are also used in jazz and pop music for improvising.
The natural minor scale with the 7th scale degree raised one semi-tone.
The natural minor scale that includes the raised 6 and 7 as it ascends, but reverts to the natural minor form of 6 and 7 as it descends.
A 'crushed' note; a note played at the same time as, and crushed into, the following note, where the value does not change
Ornament which takes half the value of the main note, or two thirds if the main note is dotted.
Four notes which turn round the main note with the note above, the main note, the note below, and the main note again. An inverted turn starts with the note below reversing the process.
An ornament in which the written note is played, followed by the note below the written note and the written note again. An inverted turn starts with the note below reversing the process.
Musical interval smaller than a semitone, prevalent in some non-Western musics and in some twentieth-century art music.
the interval of an augmented 4th or a diminished 5th (spanning 3 whole tones).
The particular ordering of the twelve chromatic tones, from which all pitches in a twelve tone composition are derived.
a IV - I cadence (frequently ending church music - sounlds like 'Amen') - (a fullstop cadence)
A two chord movement that acts as punctuation in a musical phrase/section. The interrupted cadence moves from chord V to chord VI, like a comma (unfinished).
Chord built on the dominant (5th) note of a key which adds the 7th note above its root. For example G7 is made of the notes G-B-D-F
A three note chord made up of 2 minor thirds (Eg. C Eb Gb)
A diminished triad, with the interval of a diminished seventh added to the top ( Eg. C# E G Bb)
This chord is fomed by a major triad in which the 5th degree is raised by a semitone and the lowest and highest notes in the chord are an augmented fifth apart
Root, 3rd and 5th of a chord with the 6th added (e.g. CEGA). This chord is used frequently in jazz and popular music.
The simultaneous use of two or more keys, common in twentieth-century music.
Often in modern or rhythmically based ethnic music, groupings of notes change, but the underlying pulse remains constant. Groupings of two and three produce irregular accents and metres. (Extended definition - Sometimes composers in the 20th century try to destroy the feeling of a regular down beat by changing the time signature frequently. Stravinsky often used this technique, particularly in 'The Rite of Spring'.
Three against two
One line of music may be playing quavers in groups of two whilst at the same time another line of music will be playing triplets. Other note values can be similarly used.
Two bars in a simple triple time articulated as if they were three bars in simple duple time.
The process of systematically lengthening the duration of pitches in a musical line. There is usually a consistent proportion in relation to the original melody (e.g., each original duration may be doubled). Can often give the effect of slowing down without the pulse changing.
The process of systematically shortening the duration of pitches in a musical line. There is usually a consistent proportion in relation to the original melody (e.g., each original duration may be halved). Can often give the effect of speeding up without the pulse changing.
A section of music linking two appearances of the same material. In Fugue an episode can be used as a modulating link between entries of the subject and is frequently based on fragments from the subject or Counter subject.
The first section of a movement in Sonata form (Exposition - Development - Recapitulation) or the first section of a Fugue where each voice has played or sung at least one entry of subject or answer.
The main theme in a composition, the main themes in sonata form, or the main theme on which a fugue is based.
In a fugue, after the subject or answer is played, the continuation of that same instrument or voice is called the countersubject.
A passage which leads from one well-defined section of a piece to another. In sonata form the transition or bridge passage links the first subject-group to the second subject-group and also modulates to the key of the second subject.
A link between two themes. In sonata form the bridge or transition links the first subject-group to the second subject-group and also modulates to the key of the second subject.
Sometimes referred to as continuo. In the Baroque period, the continuo part consisted of a bass line (basso continuo) played by cello, bass, viola da gamba or bassoon. In addition the harpsichord, organ or lute player was expected to fill in harmonies built on that bass line. Sometimes figures were written under the bass line indicating the chords the composer would like played. This was called figured bass.
Sometimes known as first movement form. This term is used to describe the structure of the first movement of many sonatas, symphonies and often overtures. It falls into three sections: exposition, development and recapitulation. The exposition introduces two contrasting themes in related keys. These are developed and heard again in the recapitulation, this time in the same key.
A type of music in which two or more groups of voices or instruments alternate with one another
1. When a musical shape is mirrored. E.g. A phrase played descending and then is inverted and is played ascending.
2. An inverted chord is formed when a note other than the root is in the bass.
To go backwards. A melody or a section of music can be written or performed from the end to the beginning. The texture of the music including the harmonies can be written or performed from the end to the beginning. Retrograde inversion means the music can be written or performed backwards and upside-down at the same time. These are called serial techniques.
In a fugue, after the subject is played, the same tune appears in another voice or part in the dominant (a 5th higher or a 4th lower). This is called the answer. If the intervals of the answer are not exactly the same as the subject, the answer is said to be tonal.
In a fugue, after the subject is played, the same tune appears in another voice or part in the dominant (a 5th higher or a 4th lower). This is called the answer. If the intervals of the answer are exactly the same as the subject, the answer is said to be real.
A theme occurring throughout a work which represents a person, an event or an idea, etc. The first composer to use leitmotiv extensively was Wagner, in his operas.
Where voices or instruments enter very quickly one after the other, as in Fugue. Each entry or part enters closely after the previous part, thus adding tension and excitement.
Little return. A 17th-century term for a brief introduction or interlude in a vocal composition, or for a brief instrumental passage between scenes in a 17th-century opera. In a Concerto grosso, it is the main theme played by the Ripieno group (the orchestra) and sometimes by Concertino (the soloists). It may return frequently throughout the movement, similar to a Rondo.
The high eerie sounds produced on a bowed string instrument by lightly touching the string at certain points. On a guitar these will sound bell-like.
Term for high, florid vocal singing involving scales, runs and ornaments. Sometimes these passages were written down, but often were extemporised by the performer.
A technique used in vocal music where the singer is required to use the voice in an expressive manner half-way between singing and speaking. It appears in a number of pieces by Schoenberg and Berg (early 20th century).
A small group on instruments usually of the same family playing together, eg a consort of viols. The term usually applies to music from the Renaissance period.
(Italian, 'full') In a SOLO CONCERTO or CONCERTO GROSSO, designates the full ORCHESTRA. Also called TUTTI.
The group of instruments that function as soloists in a concerto grosso
The great period of rebirth in art, literature, and learning in the 14th-16th centuries, which marked the transition into the modern periods of European history. In music, the word refers to the style of music from the period from about 1450 to 1600, ie between Medieval and Baroque.
A term used to describe music which incorporates elements of folk music of the composer's country. It emerged about the second half of the 19th century and was a type of Romanticism. Composers include Glinka, Smetana and Grieg.
A 20th-century method of musical composition invented by Schoenberg in which the 12 notes of the chromatic scale are organised into a series or tone row. This row can be transposed, inverted or played in retrograde, and forms the material basis for an entire work or movement.
New classicalism. From about 1929 onwards this style in music came about when composers reacted against romanticism and wanted to return to the structure and styles of earlier periods but combined with dissonant, tonal and even atonal harmonies. The composers started to write for smaller orchestras. Stravinsky and Prokofiev were two composers of the style.
Music of the late 19th century and early 20th century which retains the dramatic intensity of earlier 19th century music. The music is characterised by the use of vast instrumental forces, increased chromaticism and large-scale compositions. Composers included Wagner, Mahler and Richard Strauss.
A combination of Jazz Improvisation and the amplified instruments and character of rock.
Recorded natural sounds which are transformed using simple editing techniques such as cutting and re-assembling, playing backwards, slowing down and speeding up.
Pavan & Galliard
A Renaissance court dance linked with the galliard. The pavan is slow and stately with two beats in the bar, whereas the Galliard is fast in triple time.
Unaccompanied melody set to words of the Roman Catholic liturgy, such as the Mass. Plainchants are modal and have no regular metre. They follow the rhythm of the Latin words.
In the Renaissance era the Mass was a sacred choral work using the five main sections of the Roman Catholic church liturgy. Features of the Mass include Latin text and polyphonic texture, and it is usually sung a cappella. Originally used in church worship, but in later years became a large-scale work for chorus, soloists and orchestra.
In the Renaissance era this was a sacred choral work with Latin text and polyphonic texture. It was usually sung a cappella.
In the Renaissance era, this was a non-religious work, polyphonic in style, using imitation. Features of madrigal include text in English, use of word painting, through-composed music, usually sung a cappella.
A piece of orchestral music which introduces a large-scale work such as an opera, an oratorio, or a musical.
A work for solo piano, or a solo instrument accompanied by piano, in three or four movements.
A set of dances or a collection of pieces which are part of a larger scale work.
A type of concerto in which a group of soloists (concertino) is combined and contrasted with a larger group (ripieno). Usually from the Baroque period.
Short sacred choral piece sung in English. Sometimes sung by a choir unaccompanied (A cappella) and sometimes accompanied by organ and featuring solo parts. The anthem is the Protestant equivalent of the Motet.
English for Aria. Song or simple melody, sometimes the title of a movement of a suite.
A series of chords to which the words of psalms are sung in the Church of England.
An extended composition for organ based on a chorale melody. The melody can be treated in a variety of ways, eg fugal style and variation form. See Chorale, Fugue and Variation.
A type of madrigal in strophic form which was originally danced to. It features a fa-la-la refrain at the end of each verse.
Variations over a repeated progression of chords.
A contrapuntal piece based on a theme (subject) announced in one voice part alone, then imitated by other voices in close succession. See Episode (above), Tonal answer, Real answer, Subject, Exposition (above) and Stretto.
This term (the German word for song) refers specifically in the Romantic era to works for solo voice and piano. The text is in German, the structure of the verses is strophic and through composed. An important feature is that the voice and piano are equally important.
A group of songs linked by a common theme or with a text written by the same author, usually accompanied by piano but sometimes by small ensembles or full orchestra.
A one-movement piece for orchestra which tells a story or maybe relates an experience from the composer's life. Tone poems were found in the Romantic era and were also known as symphonic poems.
Da Capo Aria
An aria in Ternary form (ABA) used in opera and oratorio in the 17th and 18th centuries. The third section is not written out but the instruction Da capo (from the beginning) is given instead. The repeat of the A section was performed with the solo ornamented.
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