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A History of Western Music
Terms in this set (645)
music that is independent of words, drama, visual images, or any kind of representational aspects.
manner of choral singing without instrumental accompaniment.
sign that calls for altering the pitch of a note: a sharp raises the pitch a semitone, a flat lowers it a semitone, and a natural cancels a previous accidental.
recitative that uses orchestral accompaniment to dramatize the text
main division of an opera. Most operas have two to five, although some only have one.
objectified or archetypal emotions or states of mind, such as sadness, joy, fear, or wonder; one goal of much Baroque music was to arouse the a~.
fifth of the five major musical items in the mass odinary, based on a litany.
ornament in French music, usually indicated by a sign.
English or Frensh song for solo voice with instrumental accompaniment, setting rhymed poetry, often strophic, and usually in the meter of a dance.
air de cour
type of song for voice and accompaniment, prominent in France from about 1580 through the seventeenth century.
broken-chord accompaniment common in the second half of the eighteenth century and named after Domenico Alberti, who used the figuration frequently.
item from the mass proper, sung just before the Gospel reading, comprising a respond to the text "Alleluia," a verse, and repetition of the respond. Chant alleluias are normally melismatic in style and sung in a responsorial manner, one or more soloists alternating in the choir.
highly stylized dance in binary form, in moderately fast quadruple meter with almost continuous movement, beginning with an upbeat. Popular during the Renaissance and Baroque, appearing often as the first dance in a suite.
relatively low female voice (or high male voice) OR part for such a voice in an ensemble work.
in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century polyphony, a part in a range between the tenor and the superius; originally contratenor a~.
a repertory of ecclesiastical chant used in Milan.
in the exposition of a fugue, the second entry of the subject, normally on the dominant if the subject was on the tonic, and vice versa. Also refers to the subsequent a~s to the subject.
a polyphonic sacred work in English for Anglican religious services.
a liturgical chant that precedes and follows a psalm or canticle in the Office OR in the mass, a chant originally associated with antiphonal psalmody; specifically, the Communion and the first and final portion of the Introit.
adjective describing a manner of performance in which two or more groups alternate.
style of polyphony from the twelfth century, encompassing both discant and florid organum.
in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, any section of an Italian strophic poem for a solo singer OR lyrical monologue in an opera or other vocal work such as cantata and oratorio.
=recitativo arioso. Short, aria-like passage OR style of vocal writing that approaches the lyricism of an aria but is freer in form.
style of polyphony from fourteenth-century France, distinguished from earlier styles by a new system of rhythmic notation that allowed duple or triple division of note values, syncopation, and great rhythmic flexibility.
style of polyphony from the late fourteenth or very early fifteenth centuries in southern France and northern Italy, distinguished by extreme complexity in rhythm and notation.
music that is listened to with rapt attention for its own sake.
a song intended to be appreciated as an artistic statement rather than as entertainment, featuring precisely notated music, usually through composed, and requiring professional standards of performance.
terms for music that avoids establishing a central pitch or tonal center (such as the tonic in tonal music).
Ancient Greek reed instrument, usually played in pairs.
a mode in which the range normally extends from a step below the final to an octave above it.
term for music (and art) that is iconoclastic, irreverent, antagonistic, and nihilistic, seeking to overthrow established aesthetics.
long narrative poem, or musical setting of such a poem OR late-eighteenth-century German poetic form that imitated the folk ballad of England and Scotland and was set to music by German composers. The b~ expanded the Lied in both form and emotional content.
genre of eighteenth-century English comic play featuring songs in which new words are set to borrowed tunes.
French forme fixe, normally in three stanzas in which each stanza has the musical form aab and ends with a refrain OR instrumental piece inspired by the genre of narrative poetry.
fourteenth-century Italian song genre with the form AbbaA, in which A is the ripresa or refrain, and the single stanza consists of two piedi (bb) and a volta (a) sung to the music of the ripresa.
in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France, an entertainment in which both professionals and guests danced; later, a stage work danced by professionals.
sixteenth-century Italian (and later English) song genre in a simple, dancelike, homophonic style with repeated sections and "fa-la-la" refrain.
large ensemble of winds, brass, and percussion instruments, or of brass and percussion instruments without winds.
sung form in which the first section of melody is sung twice with different texts (the two Stollen) and the remainder (the Abgesang) is sung once.
medieval poet-singer, especially of epics.
period of music history from about 1600 to about 1750, overlapping the late Renaissance and early Classic periods.
in the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, term for soft instruments such as vielles and harps.
the lowest part in an ensemble work OR low male voice OR low instrument, especially the string bass or bass viol.
type of stately couple dance of the fourteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
system of notation and performance practice, used in the Baroque period, in which an instrumental bass line is written out and one or more players of keyboard, lute, or similar instruments fill in the harmony with appropriate chords or improvised melodic lines OR the bass line itself.
=ground bass. A pattern in the bass that repeats while the melody above it changes
in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century polyphony, the lowest part; originally contratenor b~.
bebop (or bop)
a style of jazz developed in New York in the 1940s that had a diversified rhythmic texture, enriched harmonic vocabulary, and an emphasis on improvisation with rapid melodies and asymmetrical phrases.
elegant Italian vocal style of the early nineteenth century marked by lyrical, embellished, and florid melodies that show off the beauty, agility, and fluency of the singer's voice.
type of large jazz ensemble popular between the world wars, featuring bass, reeds, and rhythm sections, and playing prepared arrangements that included rhythmic unisons and coordinated dialogue between sections and soloists.
a form comprised of two complementary sections, each of which is repeated. The first section usually ends on the dominant or the relative major, although it may end on the tonic or other key; the second section returns to the tonic.
slight drop or slide in pitch on the third, fifth, or seventh degree of a major scale, common in blues and jazz.
African-American vocal genre that is based on a simple repetitive formula characterized by a distinctive style of performance.
Renaissance dance in a lively triple meter based on a sideways swaying step.
in medieval and Renaissance systems of rhythmic notation, a note that is normally equal to half or a third of a long.
Sumerian lyre with a bull's head at one end of the soundbox.
In English medieval polyphony, the lowest voice OR in the English carol, the refrain.
the repertory of ecclesiastical chant used in the Byzantine rite and in the modern Greek Orthodox Church.
in the operatic scene structure developed by Gioachino Rossini in the early nineteenth century, the last part of an aria or ensemble, which was lively and brilliant and expressed active feelings, such as joy or despair.
type of nightclub, first introduced in nineteenth-century Paris, that offered serious or comic sketches, dances, songs, and poetry.
fourteenth-century Italian form featuring two voices in canon over a free untexted tenor.
melodic or harmonic succession that closes a musical phrase, period, section, or composition.
highly embellished passage, often improvised, at an important cadence, usually occurring just before the end of a piece or section.
type of dining establishment, prominent in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Paris, that combined the food and drink of a café with musical entertainment, usually songs on sentimental, comic, or political topics.
call and response
alternation of short phrases between a leader and a group; used especially for music in the African-American tradition.
figure in sixteenth-century polyphony in which a voice skips down from a dissonance to a consonance instead of resolving by step, then moves to the expected note of resolution.
circle of intellectuals and amaters of the arts that met in Florence, Italy, in the 1570s and 1580s.
rule for performing music, particularly for deriving more than one voice from a single line of notated music, as when several voices sing the same melody, entering at certain intervals of time or singing at different speeds simultaneously OR composition in which the voices enter successively at determined pitch and time intervals, all performing the same melody.
songful, lyrical, in a songlike style OR in the operatic scene structure developed by Gioachino Rossini in the early nineteenth century, the first section of an aria or ensemble, somewhat slow and expressing a relatively calm mood.
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a vocal chamber work with continuo, usually for solo voice, consisting of several sections or movements that include recitatives and arias and setting a lyrical or quasi-dramatic text OR form of Lutheran church music in the eighteenth century, combining poetic texts with texts drawn from chorales or the Bible, and including recitatives, arias, chorale settings and usually one or more choruses OR in later eras, a work for soloists, chorus, and orchestra in several movements but smaller than an oratorio.
hymn-like or psalm-like passage from a part of the Bible other than the Book of Psalms.
medieval monophonic song in Spanish or Portuguese.
polyphonic song not based on a cantus firmus; used especially for polyphonic songs by English composers of the late thirteenth through early fifteenth centuries.
chanting of a sacred text by a solo singer, particularly in the Jewish synagogue.
manner of setting chorales in chordal homophony with the melody in the highest voice.
in Jewish synagogue music, the main solo singer. In the medieval Christian church, the leader of the choir.
in polyphony of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, the highest voice, especially the texted voice in a polyphonic song.
an existing melody, often taken from a Gregorian chant, n which a new polyphonic work is based; used especially for melodies presented in long notes.
polyphonic mass in which the same cantus firmus is used in each movement, normally in the tenor.
polypohnic mass in which each movement is based on the same polyphonic work, using that work's tenor (sometimes the superius) as the cantus firmus, and borrowing some elements from the other voices of the model to use in other voices of the mass.
instrumental genre of the late 1500s and early 1600s, comprising a set of variations in which the melody repeats with little change but is surrounded by different contrapuntal material in each variation.
sixteenth-century Italian genre, an instrumental work adapted from a chanson or composed in a similar style OR in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, an instrumental work in several contrasting sections, of which the first and some of the others are in imitative counterpoint.
sixteenth-century Italian (and later English) song genre in a simple, mostly homophonic style.
in the Baroque period a fugal piece in continuous imitative counterpoint OR in the nineteenth century, a short composition in free form, usually for piano.
English song, usually on a religious subject, with several stanzas and a burden, or refrain. From fifteenth century on most c~s are polyphonic.
medieval circle or line dance, or the monophonic song that accompanied it.
male singers who were castrated before puberty to preserve their high vocal range, prominent in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, especially in opera.
English genre of canon, usually with a humorous or ribald text.
melismatic passage in a polyphonic conductus.
a process of composing a new melody by combining standard motives and formulas, used in Byzantine chant.
a vivacious dance-song improted from Latin America into Spain and then into Italy, popular during the seventeenth century.
Baroque genre derived from the chacona, consisting of variations over a basso continuo.
=sonata da camera
approach to composing music pioneered by John Cage, in which some of the decisions normally made by the composer are instead determined through random procedures, such as tossing coins. Chance differs from indeterminacy but shares with it the result that the sounds in the music do not convey an intention and are therefore to be experienced only as pure sound.
secular song with French words; used especially for polyphonic songs of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries.
chanson de geste
type of medieval French epic recounting the deeds of national heroes, sung to melodic formulas.
manuscript collection of secular songs with French words; used both for collections of monophonic troubadour and trouvère songs and for collections of polyphonic songs.
unison unaccompanied song, particularly that of the Latin liturgy (also called plainchant) OR the repertory of unaccompanied liturgical songs of a particular rite.
one of the repertories of ecclesiastical chant, including Gregorian, Byzantine, Ambrosian, and Old Roman.
a group of salaried musicians and clerics employed by a ruler, nobleman, church official, or other patron, who officiate at and furnish music for religious services.
a piece of characteristic music, especially one for piano.
characteristic (or descriptive) music
instrumental music that depicts or suggests a mood, personality, or scene, usually indicated in its title.
a group of singers who perform music together, singing either in unison or in parts. Used especially for the group that sings in a religious service.
amateur chorus whose members sing for their own enjoyment and may pay dues to purchase music, pay the conductor, and meet other expenses.
strophic hymn in the Lutheran tradition, intended to be sung by the congregation.
choral setting in the style of a sixteenth-century motet.
relatively short setting for organ of a chorale melody, used as an introduction for congregational signing ora s an interlude in a Lutheran church service.
a set of variations on a chorale melody.
three or more simultaneous notes heard as a single entity. In tonal music, three or more notes that can be arranged as a succession of thirds, such as a triad.
group of singers who perform together, usually with several singers on each part OR a movement or passage for such a group in an oratorio, opera, or other multimovement work OR the refrain of a popular song OR in jazz, a statement of the harmonic progression of the opening tune, over which one or more instruments play variants or new musical ideas.
In ancient Greek music, adjective describing a tetrachord comprising a minor third and two semitones, or melody that uses such tetrachords OR adjective describing a melody that uses two or more successive semitones in the same direction, a scale consisting exclusively of semitones, and interval or chord that draws notes from more than one diatonic scale, or music that uses many such melodies or chords.
the appearance of all twelve pitch-classes within a segment of music.
the use of many notes from the chromatic scale in a passage or piece.
in a Christian rite, the schedule of days commemorating special events, individuals, or times of year.
=sonata da chiesa
in music history, the era from about 1730 to about 1815, between and overlapping the Baroque and Romantic periods.
common term for art music of all periods, as distinct from popular music or folk music OR music in the tradition of the repertoire of musical masterworks that formed in the nineteenth century, including lesser works in the same genres (such as opera, oratorio, symphony, sonata, string quartet, and art song) or for the same performing forces and newly composed works intended as part of the same tradition OR music in the Classic period.
musical idiom of the eighteenth century, generally characterized by an emphasis on melody over relatively light accompaniment; simple, clearly articulated harmonic plans; periodic phrasing; clearly delineated forms based on contrast between themes, between keys, between stable and unstable passages, and between sections with different functions; and contrasts of mood, style, and figuration within movements as well as between them.
in Notre Dame polyphony, a self-contained section of an organum that closes with a cadence.
French term for harpsichord.
keyboard instrument popular between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The loudness which depends on the force with which a brass blade strikes the strings, is under the direct control of the player.
a supplementary ending of a composition or movement; a concluding section that lies outside the form as usually described.
work or passage that uses multiple quotations without following a standard procedure for doing so, such as quodlibet or medley.
an association of amateurs, popular during the Baroque period, who gathered to play and sing together for their own pleasure. Today, an ensemble of university students that performs early music.
in an isorhythmic composition, a repeated melodic pattern as opposed to the repeating rhythmic pattern (the talea).
florid vocal ornamentation.
item in the Mass Proper, originally sung during communion, comprising an antiphon without verses.
the act or process of creating new pieces of music or a piece that results from this process and is substantially similar each time it is performed; usually distinguished form improvisation and performance.
large ensemble of winds, brass, and percussion instruments that performs seated in concert halls, like an orchestra.
in seventeenth-century music, the combination of voices with one or more instruments, where the instruments do not simply double the voices but play independent parts.
early-seventeenth-century type of madrigal for one or more voices accompanied by basso continuo and in some cases by other instruments.
in the seventeenth century, ensemble of instruments or of voices with one or more instruments, or a work for such an ensemble OR composition in which one or more solo instruments (or instrumental group) contrasts with an orchestral ensemble.
instrumental work that exploits the contrast in sonority between a small ensemble of solo instruments (concertino), usually the same forces that appeared in the trio sonata, and a large ensemble (ripieno or concerto grosso).
a person who leads a performance, especially for an orchestra, band, chorus, or other large ensemble, by means of gestures.
a serious medieval song, monophonic or polyphonic, setting rhymed, rhythmic Latin poem.
in ancient Greek music, adjective used to describe the relationship between two tetrachords when the bottom note of one is the same as the top note of another OR of a melody, consisting mostly of steps.
school that specializes in teaching music.
interval or chord that has a stable, harmonious sound.
English name (current ca. 1575-1700) for a group of instruments, either all of one type (called a full c~), such as a c~ of viols, or of different types (called a broken c~).
Renaissance English genre of song for voice accompanied by a consort of viols.
Characteristic quality of early-fifteenth-century English music, marked by pervasive consonance with frequent use of harmonic thirds and sixths, often in parallel motion.
instruments used to realize a basso continuo, such as harpsichord, organ, lute, or theorbo.
in jazz, a new melody composed over a harmonic progression borrowed from another song.
the practice of replacing the text of a vocal work wth a new text while the music remains essentially the same; or the resulting piece.
employing counterpoint, or two or more simultaneous melodic lines.
in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century polyphony, voice composed after or in conjunction with the tenor and in about the same range, helping to form the harmonic foundation.
contratenor altus, contratenor bassus
in fifteenth-century polyphony, contratenor parts that lie relatively high (a~) or low (b~) in comparison to the tenor. These are the ancestors of the vocal ranges alto and bass.
wind instrument of hollowed-out wood or ivory, with finger holes and a cup mouthpiece, blown like a brass instrument.
the combination of two or more simultaneous melodic lines according to a set of rules.
country (and western) music
a type of popular music associated primarily with white southerners, that blends elements of folk music, popular song, and other traditions.
in a rondo or seventeenth- or eighteenth-century rondeau, one of several periods or passages that alternate with the refrain.
a dance in binary form, in triple meter at a moderate tempo and with an upbeat, featured as a standard movement of the Baroque dance suite.
seventeenth-century French genre, an extensive musical-dramatic work with costumes, scenery, poetry, and dance that featured members of the court as well as professional dancers.
third of the five major musical items in the Mass Ordinary, a creed or statement of faith.
Renaissance wind instrument, with a double reed enclosed in a cap so the player's lips do not touch the reed.
form used by Charles Ives and others in which the principal theme appears in its entirety only at the end of a work, preceded by its development.
a group of related works, comprising movements of a single larger entity. Examples include c~s of chants for the Mass Ordinary, consisting of one setting each of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei (and sometimes also Ite, missa est); the polyphonic mass c~ of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries; and the song c~ of the nineteenth century.
da capo aria
aria form with two sections. The first section is repeated after the second section's close, which carries the instruction da capo, creating an ABA form.
pieces in stylized dance rhythms, whether independent, paired, or linked together in a suite.
term coined by Arnold Shoenberg for the process of deriving new themes, accompaniments and other ideas throughout a piece through variations of a germinal idea.
the process of reworking, recombining, fragmenting, and varying given themes or other material OR in sonata form, the section after the exposition, which modulates though a variety of keys and in which themes from the exposition are presented in new ways.
having to do with intervals. In d~ motion, the voice moves between sustained pitches separated by discrete intervals; in d~ notation, the approximate intervals are indicated by relative height.
in ancient Greek music, adjective describing a tetrachord with two whole tones and one semitone OR name for a scale that includes five whole tones and two semitones, where the semitones are separated by two or three whole tones OR adjective describing a melody, chord, or passage based exclusively on a single diatonic scale.
diegetic music or source music
in film, music that is heard or performed by the characters themselves.
relating to methods for producing or recording musical sounds by translating them into a coded series of on-off pulses, or 1s and 0s, in the same way that computers store and transmit data.
uniform reduction of note values in a melody or phrase OR type of improvised ornamentation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in which relatively long notes were replaced with scales or other figures composed of short notes.
pertaining to a manner of performing chant without alternation between groups or between soloist and group.
twelfth-century style of polyphony in which the upper voice or voices have about one to three notes for each note of the lower voice OR treble part.
in ancient Greek music, adjective used to describe the relationship between two tetrachords where the bottom note of one is a whole tone above the top note of the other OR of a melody consisting mostly of skips (thirds) and leaps (larger intervals) rather than steps.
two or more notes sounding together to produce a discord or a sound that needs to be resolved to a consonance OR a note that does not belong to the chord that sounds simultaneously with it; a nonchord tone.
a leading and successful female opera singer
in tragédie en musique , a long interlude of ballet, solo airs, choral singing, and spectacle, intended as entertainment.
in tonal music, the note and chord a perfect fifth above the tonic.
double leading-tone cadence
cadence popular in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in which the bottom voice moves down a whole tone and the upper voices move up a semitone, forming a major third and major sixth expanding to an open fifth and octave.
thirteenth-century motet in three voices, with different texts in the duplum and triplum.
a formula of praise to the Trinity. Two forms are used in Gregorian chant: the Greater Doxology, or Gloria, and the Lesser Doxology, used with psalms, introits, and other chants.
seventeenth-century English mixed genre of musical theater, a spoken play with an overture and four or more masques or long musical interludes. Today often called semi-opera.
note or notes sustained throughout an entire piece or section.
in polyphony of the late twelfth through fourteenth centuries, second voice from the bottom in a four-voice texture, above the tenor.
level of loudness or softness, or intensity.
one of eight modes associated with Byzantine chant
music based on sounds that are produced or modified through electronic means.
close relative of the galant style, featuring surprising turns of harmony, chromaticism, nervous rhythms, and speechlike melodies.
in ancient Greek music, adjective describing a tetrachord comprising a major third and two quartertones, or a melody that uses such tetrachords OR adjective describing the relationship between two pitches that are notated differently but sound alike when played, such as G-sharp and A-flat.
a group of singers or instrumentalists who perform together OR in an opera, a passage or piece for more than one singer.
in a fugue, a passage of counterpoint between statements of the subject OR in rondo form, a section between two statements of the main theme OR a subsidiary passage between the presentation of the main thematic material.
a temperament in which the octave is divided into twelve equal semitones. This is the most commonly used tuning for Western music today.
medieval instrumental dance that features a series of sections, each played twice with two different endings, ouvert and clos.
moral and ethical character or way of being or behaving OR character, mood, or emotional effect of a certain tonos, mode, meter, or melody.
an instrumental piece designed to develop a particular skill or performing technique. Certain nineteenth-century études that contained significant artistic content and were played in concert were called concert é~s.
nineteenth-century trend in which composers wrote music that evoked feelings and settings of distant lands or foreign cultures.
a trend in twentieth-century music that focused on the exploration of new musical sounds, techniques, and resources.
in a fugue, a set of entries of the subject OR in sonata form, the first part of the movement, in which the main themes are stated, beginning in the tonic and usually closing in the dominant (or relative major).
early-twentieth-century term derived from art, in which music avoids all traditional forms of "beauty" in order to express deep personal feelings through exaggerated gestures, angular melodies, and extreme dissonance.
English style of improvised polyphony from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, in which a chant in the middle voice is joined by an upper voice moving in parallel perfect fourth above it and a lower voice that follows below the chant mostly in parallel thirds, moving to a fifth below to mark the beginning and end of phrases and the ends of most words.
instrumental composition that resembles and improvisation or lacks a strict form OR imitative instrumental piece on a single subject
continental style of polyphony in the early Renaissance, in which two voices are written, moving mostly in parallel sixths and ending each phrase on an octave, while a third unwritten voice is sung in parallel perfect fourths below the upper voice.
melodic pattern made of commonplace materials such as scales or arpeggios, usually not distinctive enough to be considered a motive or theme.
a form of basso continuo in which the bass line is supplied with numbers or flat or sharp signs to indicate the appropriate chords to be played
the main note in the mode; the normal closing note of a chant in that mode.
last movement of a work in three or more movements, or the closing portion of an act in an opera.
=courtly love: an idealized love for an unattainable woman who is admired from a distance. Chief subject of the troubadours and trouvères.
twelfth-century style of two-voice polyphony in which the lower voice sustains relatively long notes while the upper voice sings note-groups of varying length above each note of the lower voice.
music of unknown authorship from a particular region or people, passed down through oral tradition OR in the decades after World War II, a type of popular music that drew on folk traditions, which include both genuine folk songs and popular songs.
song of unknown authorship from a particular region or people, passed down through oral tradition.
the shape or structure of a composition or movement.
schemes of poetic and musical repetition, each featuring a refrain, used in late medieval and fifteenth-century French chansons; in particular, the ballade, rondeau, and virelai.
system of notation described by Franco of Cologne around 1280, using noteshapes to indicate durations.
an experimental jazz style introduced in the 1960s by Ornette Coleman, using improvisation that disregards the standard forms and conventions of jazz.
style of organum in which the organal voice moves in a free mixture of contrary, oblique, parallel, and similar motion against the chant (and usually above it).
type of overture used in tragédie en musique and other genres, that opens with a slow, homophonic, and majestic section, followed by a faster second section that begins with imitation.
sixteenth-century genre of Italian polyphonic song in mock-popular style, typically syllabic, homophonic, and diatonic, with the melody in the upper voice and marked rhythmic patterns.
resembling a fugue; featuring fugue-like imitation.
eighteenth-century American type of psalm or hymn tune that features a passage in free imitation, usually preceded and followed by homophonic sections.
composition or section of a composition in imitative texture that is based on a single subject and begins with successive statements of the subject in voices.
anthem for unaccompanied choir in contrapuntal style
term coined by Jean-Philippe Rameau to indicate the succession of the roots or fundamental tones in a series of chords.
twentieth-century movement that created music based on noise.
eighteenth-century musical style that featured songlike melodies, short phrases, frequent cadences, and light accompaniment.
sixteenth-century dance in fast triple meter, often paired with the pavane and in the same form (AABBCC).
the entire range of pitches normally written in the Middle Ages.
Baroque duple-time dance in binary form, with a half-measure upbeat and a characteristic rhythm of short-short-long.
term from the 1920s to describe music that was socially relevant and useful, especially music for amateurs, children, or workers to play or sing.
type or category of musical composition, such as sonata or symphony.
in ancient Greek music, one of three forms of tetrachord: diatonic, chromatic, and enharmonic.
term coined by Richard Wagner for a dramatic work in which poetry, scene design, staging, action, and music all work together toward one artistic expression.
stylized dance movement of a standard Baroque suite, in binary form, marked by fast compound meter such as 6/4 or 12/8 with wide melodic leaps and continuous triplets. The two sections usually both begin with imitation.
second of the five major musical items in the Mass Ordinary, a praise formula also known as the Greater Doxology.
medieval Latin songs associated with the goliards, who were wandering students and clerics.
item in the Mass Proper, sung after the Epistle reading, comprising a respond and verse. Chant g~s are normally melismatic in style and sung in a responsorial manner, one or more soloists alternating with the choir.
French version of the large-scale sacred concerto, for soloists, double chorus, and orchestra.
a serious form of opera,popular during the Romantic era, that was sung throughout and included ballets, choruses and spectacular staging.
Greater Perfect System
in ancient Greek music, a system of tetrachords spanning two octaves.
the repertory of ecclesiastical chant used in the Roman Catholic Church.
half step (semitone)
the smallest interval normally used in Western music, equivalent to the interval between any two successive notes on the piano keyboard: half the size of a whole step.
ancient Greek term with multiple meanings: the union of parts in an orderly whole OR interval OR scale type OR style of melody.
a logical succession of chords with a sense of direction; especially, the succession of chords used to accompany a melody or used as the basis of variations.
aspect of music that pertains to simultaneous combinations of notes, the intervals, and chords that result and the correct succession of chords.
plucked string instrument with a resonating soundbox, neck, and strings in roughly triangular shape. The strings rise perpendicular from the soundboard to the neck.
keyboard instrument in use between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. It was distinguished from the clavichord and the piano by the fact that its strings were plucked, not struck.
in the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, term for loud instruments such as cornetts and sackbuts.
initial passage or motive of a piece or movement; used especially for a motive or phrase that appears at the beginning of each movement of a motio mass or cantus-firmus mass.
in an early form of notation, neumes arranged so that their relative height indicated higher or lower pitch. Also called diastematic neumes.
a metrical effect in which three duple units substitute for two triple ones, such as three successive quarter notes within a measure of 6/8, or three two-beat groupings in two measures of triple meter. H~ may occur between voices or successive measures.
music or musical texture in which a melody is performed by two or more parts simultaneously in more than one way, for example, one voice performing it simply, and the other with embellishments.
a set of six pitches OR in medieval and Renaissance solmization, the six notes represented by the syllables ut, r, mi, fa, sol, la, which could be transposed to three positions: the "natural h~, C-D-E-F-G-A; the "hard h~, G-A-B-C-D-E; and the "soft" h~, F-G-A-B flat-C-D OR in twelve-tone theory, the first six or last six notes in a row.
in Lutheran music of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, a musical setting based on a biblical narrative.
in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century polyphony, the device of alternating rapidly between two voices, each resting while the other sings, as if a single melody is split between them OR a composition based on this device.
musical texture in which all voices move together in essentially the same rhythm, as distinct from polyphony and heterophony.
having the same rhythm, as when several voices or parts move together.
movement in the Renaissance to revive ancient Greek and Roman culture and to study things pertaining to human knowledge and experience.
an instrument with melody and drone strings, bowed by a rotating wheel turned with a crank, with levers worked by a keyboard to change the pitch on the melody string(s).
song to or in honor of a god. In the Christian tradition, song of praise sung to God.
term coined by Hector Berlioz for a melody that is used throughout a piece to represent a person, thing, or idea, transforming it to suit the mood and situation.
to repeat or slightly vary in one voice or part a segment of melody just heard in another, at pitch or transposed OR to follow the example of an existing piece or style in composing a new piece.
in polyphonic music, the device of repeating (imitating) a melody or motive announced in one part in one or more other parts, often at a different pitch level and sometimes with minor melodic or rhythmic alterations. Usually the voices enter with the element that is imitated, although sometimes i~ happens within the middle of a segment of melody OR the act of patterning a new work after an existing work or style; especially, to borrow much of the existing work's material.
imitation mass (or parody mass)
polyphonic mass in which each movement is based on the same polyphonic model, normally a chanson or motet, and all voices of the model are used in the mass, but none is used as a cantus firmus.
contrapuntal texture marked by imitation between voices.
imperfect (or minor) division
in medieval and Renaissance notation, a division of a note value into two of the next smaller units (rather than three).
during the Baroque period, a businessman who managed and oversaw the production of operas; today, someone who books and stages operas and other musical events.
late-nineteenth-century term derived from art, used for music that evokes moods and visual imagery through colorful harmony and instrumental timbre.
spontaneous invention of music while performing, inclding devising variations, embellishments, or accompaniments for existing music.
an approach to composition pioneered by John Cage, in which the composer leaves certain aspects of the music unspecified. Should not be confused with chance.
set of instruments, all of the same type but of different sizes and ranges, such as a viol consort.
arrangement of a vocal piece for lute or keyboard, typically written in tablature.
musical interlude on a pastoral, allegorical, or mythological subject performed before, between, or other acts of a spoken comedy or tragedy.
eighteenth-century genre of Italian comic opera, performed between acts of a serious opera or play.
distance in pitch between two notes
the first notes of a chant, sung by a soloist to establish the pitch for the choir, which joins the soloist to continue the chant.
first item in the Mass Proper, originally sung for the entrance procession, comprising an antiphon, psalm verse, Lesser Doxology, and reprise of the antiphon.
in a melody or twelve-tone row, reversing the upward or downward direction of each interval while maintaining its size; or the new melody or row form that results OR in harmony, a distribution of the notes in a chord so that a note other than the root is the lowest note OR in counterpoint, reversing the relative position of two melodies, so that the one that had been lower is now above the other.
repetition in a voice part (usually the tenor) of an extended pattern of durations throughout a section or an entire composition.
a type of music developed mostly by African Americans in the early part of the twentieth century that combined elements of African, popular, and European music, and that has evolved into a broad tradition encompassing many styles.
itinerant medieval musician or street entertainer
in chant, an effusive melisma, particularly the melisma on "-ia" in Alleluia.
a system of tuning notes in the scale, common in the Renaissance, in which most (but not all) thirds, sixths, perfect fourths, and perfect fifths are in perfect tune.
in tonal music, the hierarchy of notes, chords, and other pitch elements around a central note, the tonic. There are two kinds of k~s, major and minor.
ancient Greek instrument, a large lyre.
term coined by Arnold Schoenberg to describe a succession of tone colors that is perceived as analogous to the changing pitches in a melody.
One of the five major musical items in the Mass Ordinary, based on a Byzantine litany.
Italian devotional song.
in an opera or music drama, a motive, theme, or musical idea associated with a person, thing, mood, or idea, which returns in original or altered form throughout.
literary text for an opera or other musical stage work.
song with German words, whether monophonic, polyphonic, or for voice with accompaniment; used especially for polyphonic songs in the Renaissance and songs for voice and piano in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
neume-like noteshape used to indicate a short rhythmic pattern in twelfth- to sixteenth-century notation.
dialogue on a sacred subject, set to music and usually performed with action, and linked to the liturgy.
the prescribed body of texts to be spoken or sung and ritual actions to be performed in a religious service.
in medieval and Renaissance systems of rhythmic notation, a note equal to two or three breves.
plucked string instrument popular from the late Middle Ages through the Baroque period, typically pear- or almond-shaped with a rounded back, flat fingerboard, frets, and one single and five double strings.
English genre of solo song with lute accompaniment.
plucked string instrument with a resonating soundbox, two arms, crossbar, and strings that run parallel to the soundboard and attach to the crossbar.
Romantic opera that lies somewhere between light opéra comique and grand opera.
fourteenth-century Italian poetic form and its musical setting having two or three stanzas followed by a ritornello OR sixteenth-century Italian poem having any number of lines, each of seven or eleven syllables OR polyphonic or concertato setting of such a poem or a sonnet or other nonrepetitive verse form OR English polyphonic work imitating the Italian genre.
madrigal comedy, madrigal cycle
in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, a series of madrigals that represents a succession of scenes or a simple plot.
a particularly evocative-or, if used in a disparaging sense, a thoroughly conventional-instance of text depiction or word-painting; so called because of the prominent role of word-painting in madrigals.
diatonic succession of notes with a major third and major seventh above the tonic.
a piece in duple or 6/8 meter comprising an introduction and several strains, each repeated. Typically there are two strains in the initial key followed by a trio in a key a fourth higher; the opening strains may or may not repeat after the trio.
seventeenth-century English entertainment involving poetry, music, dance, costumes, choruses, and elaborate sets, akin to the French court ballet.
the most important service in the Roman church (capital M~) OR a musical work setting the texts of the Ordinary of the Mass, typically Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei (lower-case m~).
a type of Polish folk dance (and later ballroom dance) in triple meter, characterized by accents on the second or third beat and often by dotted figures on the first beat, or a stylized piano piece based on such a dance.
a type of temperament in which the fifths are tuned small so that the major thirds sound well; frequently used for keyboard instruments from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century.
a unit of musical time consisting of a given number of beats; the basic unit of meter OR metrical unit set off by barlines.
in a psalm tone, the cadence that marks the middle of the psalm verse.
type of German amateur singer and poet-composer of the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries, who was a member of a guild that cultivated a style of monophonic song derived from Minnelieder.
a long melodic passage sung to a single syllable of text.
of a melody, having many melismas.
a genre of musical theater that combined spoken dialogue with background music.
succession of tones perceived as a coherent line OR tune OR principal part accompanied by other parts or chords.
melody and accompaniment
a kind of homophonic texture in which there is one main melody, which is accompanied by chords or other figuration.
a canon in which voices move at different rates of speed by using different mensuration signs.
in Ars nova and Renaissance systems of rhythmic notation, signs that indicate which combination of time and prolation to use. The predecessors of time signatures.
recurring patterns of strong and weak beats, dividing musical time into regularly recurring units of equal duration.
metric, rhymed, and strophic vernacular translation of a psalm, sung to a relatively simple melody that repeats for each strophe.
in Ars nova and Renaissance systems of rhythmic notation, a note that is equal to half or a third of a semibreve.
one of the leading musical styles of the late twentieth century, in which materials are reduced to a minimum and procedures simplified so that what is going on in the music is immediately apparent. Often characterized by a constant pulse and many repetitions of simple rhythmic, melodic, or harmonic patterns.
songs of the Minnesinger.
a poet-composer of medieval Germany who wrote monophonic songs, particularly about love, in Middle High German.
diatonic scale that begins with a whole sep and half step, forming a minor third above the tonic. The sixth and seventh above the tonic are also minor in the natural minor scale but one or both may be raised.
thirteenth-century traveling musician, some of whom were also employed at a court or city.
popular form of musical theater in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century, in which white performers blackened their faces and impersonated African Americans in jokes, skits, songs, and dances.
dance in moderate triple meter, two-measure units, and binary form
minuet and trio form
form that joins two binary-form minuets to create an ABA pattern, where A is the minuet and B is the trio.
trend of the late twentieth century that combines two or more of the arts, including music, to create a new kind of performance art or musical theater.
mixed parallel and oblique organum
early form of organum that combines parallel motion with oblique motion (in which the organal voice remains on the same note while the principal voice moves) in order to avoid tritones.
making use of a mode.
a scale or melody type, identified by the particular intervallic relationships among the notes in the mode OR in particular, one of the eight scale or melody types recognized by church musicians and theorists beginning in the Middle Ages, distinguished from one another by the arrangement of whole tones and semitones around the final, by the range relative to the final, and by the position of the tenor or reciting tone OR rhythmic m~.
mode, time, and prolation
the three levels of rhythmic division in Ars Nova notation. Mode is the division of longs into breves; time the division of breves into semibreves; and prolation the division of semibreves into minims.
twentieth-century composers who made a radical break from the musical language of their predecessors and contemporaries while maintaining strong links to the tradition.
modified strophic form
variant of strophic form in which the music for the first stanza is varied for later stanzas, or in which there is a change of key, rhythm, character, or material.
in tonal music, a gradual change from one key to another within a section of a movement.
an accompanied solo song OR the musical texture of solo singing accompanied by one or more instruments.
consisting of a single unaccompanied melodic line.
music or musical texture consisting of unaccompanied melody.
polyphonic vocal composition; the specific meaning changes over time. The earliest m~s add a text to an existing discant clausula.
polyphonic vocal composition that features one or more voices each with its own sacred or secular text in Latin or French, above a tenor drawn from chant or other melody.
polyphonic vocal composition that features isorhythm and may include a contratenor.
any polyphonic setting of a Latin text (other than a mass).
short melodic or rhythmic idea that recurs in the same or altered form.
polyphonic mass in which the movements are linked primarily by sharing the same opening motive or phrase.
self-contained unit of music, complete in itself, that can stand alone or be joined with others in a larger work. Some types of composition typically consist of several m~s (such as the four m~s common in the symphony).
nineteenth-century genre created by Richard Wagner in which drama and music become organically connected to express a kind of absolute oneness.
type of short film popularized in the early 1980s that provides a visual accompaniment to a pop song.
in early music, notes outside the standard gamut, which excluded all flatted an sharped notes except B-flat OR in polyphony of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, the practice of raising or lowering by a semitone the pitch of a written note, particularly at a cadence, for the sake of a smoother harmony or motion of the parts.
musica mundana, musica humana, musica instrumentalis
three kinds of music identified by Boethius (ca. 480-524), respectively the "music" or numerical relationships governing the movement of the stars, planets, and the seasons; the "music" that harmonizes the human body and soul and their parts; and audible music produced by voices or instruments.
genre of musical theater that features songs and dance numbers in styles drawn from popular music in the context of a spoken play with a comic or romantic plot.
in Baroque music, a melodic pattern or contrapuntal effect conventionally employed to convey the meaning of a text.
term coined by composers working in Paris in the 1940s for music composed by assembling and manipulating recorded sounds, working "concretely" with sound itself rather than with music notation.
late-sixteenth-century French style of text-setting, especially in chansons, in which stressed syllables are given longer notes than unstressed syllables (usually twice as long).
in solmization, the process of changing from one hexachord to another.
nineteenth- and twentieth-century trend in music in which composers were eager to embrace elements in their music that claimed a national identity.
trend in music from the 1910s to the 1950s in which composers revived, imitated, or evoked the styles, genres, and forms of pre-Romantic music, especially those of the eighteenth century.
a trend of the late twentieth century in which composers adopted the familiar tonal idiom of the nineteenth-century Romantic music and incorporated its sounds and gestures.
term for music since the early 1900s that establishes a single pitch as a tonal center, but does not follow the traditional rules of tonality.
in chant, having about one to six notes (or one neume) sung to each syllable of text.
a sign used in notation of chant to indicate a certain number of notes and general melodic direction (in early forms of notation) or particular pitches (in later forms).
term coined in the 1920s to describe a kind of new realism in music, in reaction to the emotional intensity of the late Romantics and the expressionism of Shoenberg and Berg.
New Orleans jazz
leading style of jazz just after World War I, which centers on group variation of a given tune, either improvised or in the style of improvisation.
type of short piano piece popular during the Romantic period, marked by highly embellished melody, sonorous accompaniments, and a contemplative mood.
= underscoring. In film, background music that conveys to the viewer a mood or other aspects of a scene or character but is not heard by the characters themselves.
a system for writing down musical sounds, or the process of writing down music. The principal n~ systems of European music use a staff of lines and signs that define pitch, duration, and other qualities of sound.
a musical tone OR a symbol denoting a musical tone
seventeenth-century convention of performing French music in which passages notated in short, even durations, such as a succssion of eighth notes, are performed by alternating longer notes on the beat with shorter offbeats to produce a lilting rhythm.
Notre Dame polyphony
style of polyphony from the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries, associated with the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
octatonic scale, octatonic collection
a scale that alternates whole and half steps.
item in the Mass Proper, sung while the Communion is prepared, comprising a respond without verses.
a series of eight prayer services of the Roman church, celebrated daily at specified times, especially in monasteries and convents; also, any one of those services.
Old Roman chant
a repertory of ecclesiastical chant preserved in eleventh- and twelfth-century manuscripts from Rome representing a local tradition; a near relative of Gregorian chant.
open and closed endings
in an estampie, ballade, or other medieval form, two different endings for a repeated section. The first closes on a pitch other than the final, and the second ends with a full cadence on the final.
drama with continuous or nearly continuous music, staged with scenery, costumes, and action.
eighteenth-century genre of Italian comic opera, sung throughout.
Romantic operatic genre in France that emphasized the smart, witty, and satirical elements of opéra comique.
in the eighteenth century, light French comic opera, which used spoken dialogue instead of recitatives OR in nineteenth-century France, opera with spoken dialogue, whether comic or tragic.
eighteenth-century genre of Italian opera, on a serious subject but normally with a happy ending, usually without comic characters and scenes.
nineteenth-century kind of light opera with spoken dialogue, originating in opéra bouffe.
work or collection of works in the same genre, issued as a publication.
genre of dramatic music that originated in the seventeenth century, combining narrative, dialogue, and commentary through arias, recitatives, ensembles, choruses, and instrumental music, like an unstaged opera. Usually on a religious or biblical subject.
ensemble whose core consists of strings with more than one player on a part, usually joined by woodwinds, brass, and perussion instruments.
orchestral genre in several movements, originating in the late seventeenth century, that emphasized the first violin part and the bass, avoiding the more contrapuntal texture of the sonata.
late-seventeenth-century German suite for orchestra patterned after the group of dances in French ballets and opera.
texts of the Mass that remain the same on most or all days of the church calendar, although the tunes may change.
setting for organ of all sections of the Mass for which the organ would play, including organ verse and other pieces.
setting for an organ of an existing melody from the Roman Catholic liturgy.
in an organum, the voice that is added above or below the original chant melody.
one of several styles of early polyphony from the ninth through the thirteenth centuries, involving the addition of one or more voices to an existing chant OR a piece, whether improvised or written, in one of those styles, in which one voice is drawn from a chant.
in Notre Dame polyphony, an organum in two voices.
a brief, conventional formula, such as a trill or turn, written or improvised, that adds expression or charm to a melodic line.
the addition of embellishments to a given melody, either during performance or as part of the act of composition.
short musical pattern that is repeated persistently throughout a piece or section.
French overture OR suite for orchestra, beginning with an overture.
performing practice in French Baroque music in which a dotted note is held longer than written, while the following short note is shortened.
an orchestral piece introducing an opera or longer work OR independent orchestral work in one movement, usually descriptive
type of polyphony in which an added voice moves in exact parallel to a chant, normally a perfect fifth below it. Either voice may be doubled at the octave.
technique in which a chant or other melody is reworked, often by altering rhythms and adding notes, and placed in a polyphonic setting.
polyphonic mass in which each movement is based on the same monophonic melody, normally a chant, which is paraphrased in most or all voices rather than being used as a cantus firmus in one voice.
song for home music-making, sometimes performed in public concerts as well.
a manuscript or printed book containing the music for one voice or instrumental part of a polyphonic composition (most often, an anthology of pieces); to perform any piece, a complete set of p~s is needed, so that all the parts are represented.
Baroque term for a set of variations on a melody or bass line.
a song for more than one voice OR in the nineteenth century, a song for chorus, parallel in function and style to the Lied or parlor song.
Baroque genre of variations over a repeated bass line or harmonic progression in triple meter.
a musical setting of one of the biblical accounts of Jesus' crucifixion, the most common type of historia.
play in verse with incidental music and songs, normally set in idealized rural surroundings, often in ancient times; a source for the earliest opera librettos.
sixteenth-century dance in slow duple meter with three repeated sections (AABBCC). Often followed by a galliard.
perfect (or major) division
in medieval and Renaissance notation, a division of a note value into three (rather than two) of the next smaller unit.
in medieval systems of notation a unit of duration equal to three tempora, akin to a measure of three beats.
a type of art that first came to prominence in the 1960s, based on the idea that performing a prescribed action in a public place constitutes a work of art.
in music theory, an era whose music is understood to have common attributes of style, conventions, approach, ad function, in contrast to the previous and following eras OR in musical form, especially since the eighteenth century, a complete musical thought concluded by a cadence and normally containing at least two phrases.
organized in discrete phrases or periods.
the quality of being periodic, especially when this is emphasized through frequent resting points and articulations between phrases and periods.
French version of the small sacred concerto, for one, two, or three voices and continuo.
a unit of melody or of an entire musical texture that has a distinct beginning and ending and is followed by a pause or other articulation but does not express a complete musical thought.
cadence in which the bottom voice moves down a semitone and upper voices move up a whole tone to form a fifth and octave over the cadential note.
piano or pianoforte
a keyboard instrument invented in 1700 that uses a mechanism in which the strings are struck, rather than plucked as the harpsichord was, and which allowed for crescendos, diminuendos, and other effects.
pipe and tabor
two instruments played by one player, respectively a high whistle fingered with one hand and a small drum beaten with a stick or mallet.
any one of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale, including its enharmonic equivalents, in a any octave.
a collection of pitch-classes that preserves its identity when transposed, inverted, or reordered and used melodically or harmonically.
a mode in which the range normally extends from a fourth (or fifth) below the final to a fifth or sixth above it.
a unison unaccompanied song, particularly a liturgical song to a Latin text.
a mass in which each movement is based on a chant to the same text (the Kyrie is based on a chant Kyrie, the Gloria on a chant Gloria, and so on).
point of imitation
passage in a polyphonic work in which two or more parts enter in imitation.
a stately Polish processional dance in triple meter, or a stylized piece in the style of such a dance.
for more that one choir.
motet for two or more choirs.
music or musical texture consisting of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody.
term coined by Alfred Schnittke for a combination of newer and older musical styles created through quotation or stylistic allusion.
the simultaneous use of two or more keys, each in a different layer of the music (such as melody and accompaniment)
term coined in the 1950s for music that reflected the tastes and styles popular with the teen and young adult market.
music, primarily intended as entertainment, that is sold in printed or recorded form. It is distinguished from folk music by being written down and marketed as a commodity, and from classical music by being centered on the performer and the performance, allowing great latitude in rearranging the notated music.
song that is intended primarily to entertain an audience, accommodate amateur performers, and sell as many copies as possible.
medieval or Renaissance organ small enough to be carried, played by one hand while the other worked the bellows.
organ from the medieval through Baroque periods that was small enough to be moved, usually placed on a table.
trend in the late twentieth century that blurs the boundaries between high and popular art, and in which styles of all epochs and cultures are equally available for creating music.
general term for music after 1900 that does not adhere to tonality but instead uses any of the new ways that composers found to organize pitch, from atonality to neotonality.
introductory piece for solo instrument, often in the style of an improvisation, or introductory movement in a multimovement work such as an opera or suite.
an invention of John Cage in which various objects-such as pennies, bolts, screws, or pieces of wood, rubber, plastic, or slit bamboo-are inserted between the strings of a piano, resulting in complex percussive sounds when the piano is played from the keyboard.
a soprano singing the leading female role in an opera.
Claudio Monteverdi's term for the style and practice of sixteenth-century polyphony, in contradisctinction to the seconda pratica.
in twelve-tone music based on a particular row, the original form of the row, transposed or untransposed, as opposed to the inversion, retrograde, or retrograde inversion.
in an organum, the original chant melody.
text to accompany an instrumental work of program music, describing the sequence of events depicted in the music
instrumental music that tells a story or follows a narrative or other sequence of events, often spelled out in an accompanying text called a program.
texts of the Mass that are assigned to a particular day in the church calendar.
a poem of praise to God, one of 150 in the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Christian Old Testament). Singing ps~s was a central part of Jewish, Christian) Catholic, and Protestant worship.
a melodic formula for singing psalms in the Office. There is one psalm tone for each mode.
the singing of psalms.
a published collection of metrical psalms.
a plucked string instrument whose strings are attached to a frame over a wooden sounding board.
a system of tuning notes in the scale, common in the Middle Ages, in which all perfect fourths and fifths are in perfect tune.
in polyphony of the late twelfth through fourteenth centuries, fourth voice from the bottom in a four-voice texture, added to a tenor, duplum, and triplum OR in Notre Dame polyphony, an organum in four voices.
composition or passage in which two or more existing melodies, or parts of melodies, are combined in counterpoint.
direct borrowing of one work in another, especially when the borrowed material is not reworked using a standard musical procedure (such as variations, paraphrase, or imitation mass) but is set off as a foreign element.
instrumental work in ragtime style, usually in the form of a march.
musical style that features syncopated rhythm against a regular, marchlike bass.
a span of notes, as in the range of a melody or of a mode
performing (or creating a performable edition of ) music whose notation is incomplete, as in playing a basso continuo or completing a piece left unfinished by its composer.
in sonata form, the third main section which restates the material from the exposition, normally all in the tonic.
term popularized by Franz Liszt for his solo piano performances and used today for any presentation given by a single performer or a small group.
in French Baroque opera, recitative in a songlike, measured style, in a uniform meter, and with relatively steady motion in the accompaniment.
in French Baroque opera, recitative that shifts frequently between duple and triple meter to allow the natural speechlike declamation of the words.
in chant, a simple outline used for a variety of texts.
a passage or section in an opera, oratorio, cantata, or other vocal work in recitative style.
a type of vocal singing that approaches speech and follows the natural rhythms of the texts.
a passage or selection in an opera or other vocal work in a style that lies somewhere between recitative style and aria style.
the second most important note in a mode (after the final), after emphasized in chant and used for reciting text in a psalm tone.
end-blown wind instrument with a whistle mouthpiece, usually made of wood.
in a song, a recurring line (or lines) of text, usually set to a recurring melody.
in an opera, a motive, theme, or melody that recurs in a later scene, in order to recall the events and feelings with which it was first associated.
period of art, cultural, and music history between the Middle Ages and the Baroque period, marked by humanism, a revival of ancient culture and ideas, and a new focus on the individual, the world, and the sense.
the first part of a responsorial chant, appearing before and sometimes repeated after the psalm verse.
pertaining to a manner of performing chant in which a soloist alternates with a group.
responsorial chant used in the Office. Matins includes nine Great R~s, and several other Office services include a Short R~.
backward statement of a previousy heard melody, passage, or twelve-tone row.
upside-down and backward statement of a melody or twelve-tone row.
type of musical theater that includes a variety of dances, songs, comedy, and other acts, often united by a common theme.
the pattern of music's movement in time OR a particular pattern of short and long durations.
in a jazz ensemble, the group of instruments that keeps the beat and fills in background.
African-American style of popular music, originating in the 1940s, that featured a vocalist or vocal quartet, piano or organ, electric guitar, bass, and drums, and songs built on twelve-bar blues or popular song formulas.
system of six durational patterns (for example, mode 1, long-short) used in polyphony of the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries, used as the basis of the rhythmic notation of the Notre Dame composers.
in the early to mid-sixteenth century, a prelude in the style of an improvisation OR from the late sixteenth century on, an instrumental piece that treats one or more subjects in imitation.
in a solo concerto or concerto grosso, designates the full orchestra, all called tutti.
the set of practices that defines a particular Christian tradition, including a church calendar, a liturgy, and a repertory of chant.
in a fourteenth-century madrigal, the closing section, in a different meter from the preceding verses OR in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century vocal music, instrumental introduction or interlude between sung stanzas OR in an aria or similar piece, an instrumental passage that recurs several times, like a refrain. Typically it is played at the beginning, as interludes (often in modified form), and again at the end, and it states the main theme OR in a fast movement of a concerto, the recurring thematic material played at the beginning by the full orchestra and repeated, usually in varied form, throughout the movement and at the end.
standard form for fast movements in concertos of the first half of the eighteenth century, featuring a ritornello for full orchestra that alternates with episodes characterized by virtuosic material played by one or more soloists.
rock and roll
a musical style that emerged in the United States in the mid-1950s as a blend of black and white traditions of popular music, primarily rhythm-and-blues, country music, pop music, and Tin Pan Alley.
term applied to music of the nineteenth century. Romantic music had looser and more extended forms, greater experimentation with harmony and texture, richly expressive and memorable melodies, improved musical instruments, an interest in musical nationalism, and a view of music as a moral force, in which there was a link between the artists' inner lives and the world around them.
French forme fixe with a single stanza and the musical form ABaAabAB, with capital letters indicating lines of refrain and lowercase letters indicating new text set to music from the refrain OR form in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century instrumental music in which a repeated strain alternates with other strains, as in the pattern AABACA.
technique in medieval English polyphony in which two or three phrases of music, first heard simultaneously in different voices, are each sung in turn by each of the voices.
piece or movement in rondo form
musical form in which the first or main section recurs, usually in the tonic, between subsidiary sections or episodes.
the lowest note in a chord when it is arranged as a succession of thirds.
form of medieval English polyphony in which two or more voices sing the same melody, entering at different times and repeateing the melody until all stop together.
rounded binary form
binary form in which the latter part of the first section returns at the end of the second section, but in the tonic.
in twelve-tone music, an ordering of all twelve pitch-classes that is used to generate the musical content.
technique common in romantic music in which the performer holds back or hurries the written note values.
Renaissance brass instrument, an early form of the trombone.
in the seventeenth century, a composition on a sacred text for one or more singers and instrumental accompaniment.
a type of dance music that emerged in the 1960s combining elements of Cuban dance styles with jazz, rock, and Puerto Rican music.
a process of creating new compositions by patching together snippets of previously.
one of the five major musical items in the Mass Ordinary, based in part on Isaiah 6:3.
originally a quick dance-song from Latin America OR in French Baroque music, a slow dance in binary form and in triple meter, often emphasizing the second beat; a standard movement of a suite.
a series of three or more different pitches in ascending or descending order and arranged in a specific pattern.
technique in jazz in which the performer sings nonsense syllables to an improvised or composed melody.
joking or particularly fast movement in minuet and trio form.
a type of notation in which the different voices or parts are aligned vertically to show how they are coordinated with each other.
Monteverdi's term for a practice of counterpoint and composition that allows the rules of sixteenth-century counterpoint (the prima pratica) to be broken in order to express the feelings of a text. Also called stile moderno.
in medieval and Renaissance systems of rhythmic notation, a note that is normally equal to half or a third of a breve.
in Ars nova and Renaissance systems of rhythmic notation, a note that is equal to half of a minim.
modern term for dramatic opera.
semitone (or half step)
the smallest interval normally used in Western music; half of a tone.
a category of Latin chant that follows the Alleluia in some Masses OR restatement of a pattern, either melodic or harmonic, on successive or different pitch levels.
a semidramatic piece for several singers and small orchestra, usually written for a special occasion.
music that uses the twelve-tone method; used especially for music that extends the same general approach to series in parameters other than pitch.
a row OR an ordering of specific durations, dynamic levels, or other non-pitch elements, used in serial music.
a setting of Anglican service music, encompassing specific portions of Matins, Holy Communion, and Evensong. A Great S~ is a melismatic, contrapuntal setting of these texts; a Short S~ sets the same text in syllabic, chordal style.
a tradition of group singing that arose in nineteenth-century America, named after the notation used in song collections in which the shape of the noteheads indicates the solmization syllables, allowing for easy sight-reading in parts.
double reed instrument, similar to the oboe, used in the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods
generic term used throughout the seventeenth century for an abstract ensemble piece, especially one that serves as an introduction to a vocal work OR Italian opera overture in the early eighteenth century OR early symphony.
style of recitative scored for solo voice and basso continuo, used for setting dialogue or monologue in as speechlike a fashion as possible, without dramatization.
German genre of opera, featuring spoken dialogue intersperced with songs, choruses, and instrumental music.
general term for a compositional idea jotted down in a notebook, or an early draft of a work.
slow-movement sonata form
Classic-era variant of sonata form that omits the development.
small sacred concerto
seventeenth-century genre of sacred vocal music featuring one or more soloists accompanied by organ continuo (or modest instrumental ensemble).
a doctrine of the Soviet Union, begin in the 1930s, in which all the arts were required to use a realistic approach (as opposed to an abstract or symbolic one) that portrayed socialism in a positive light. In music this meant use of simple, accessible language, centered on melody and patriotic subject matter.
a method of assigning syllables to steps in a scale, used to make it easier to identify and sing the whole tones and semitones in a melody.
concerto in which a single instrument, such as a violin, contrasts with an orchestra.
in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, a through-composed setting of a nonstrophic poem for solo voice with accompaniment, distinguished from an aria and from a madrigal for several voices.
a piece to be played on one or more instruments OR Baroque instrumental piece with contrasting sections or movements, often with imitative counterpoint OR genre in several movements for one or two solo instruments.
sonata da camera or chamber sonata
Baroque sonata, usually a suite of stylized dances, scored for one or more treble instruments and continuo.
sonata da chiesa or church sonata
Baroque instrumental work intended for performance in church; usually in four movements-slow-fast-slow-fast-and scored for one or more treble instruments and continuo.
form typically used in first movements of sonatas, instrumental chamber works, and symphonies during the Classic and Romantic periods. An expansion of rounded binary form, it was described in the nineteenth century as consisting of an exposition, development, and recapitulation based on a limited number of themes.
a form that blends characteristics of sonata form and rondo form. One frequent structure is ABACABA, in which A and B correspond to the first and second themes of sonata form and B appears first in the dominant and returns in the tonic.
a group of songs performed in succession that tells or suggests a story.
high female voice OR part for such a voice in an ensemble work.
the leading African-American tradition of popular music in the 1960s that combined elements of rhythm-and-blues and gospel singing in songs on love, sex, and other secular subjects.
term coined by Edgard Varèse for a body of sounds characterized by a particular timbre, register, rhythm, or melodic gesture, which may remain stable or may be transformed as it recurs.
pertaining to a conception of music as sounds moving through musical space, rather than as the presentation and variation of themes or motives.
the particular ordering of whole tones and semitones within a perfect fourth, fifth, or octave.
African-American type of religious song that originated among southern slaves and was passed down through oral tradition, with texts often based on stories or images from the Bible.
a vocal style developed by Arnold Shoenberg in which the performer approximates the written pitches in the gliding tones of speech, while following the notated rhythm.
professional town musicians who had the exclusive right to provide music within city limits.
interval between two adjacent pitches in a diatonic, chromatic, octatonic, or whole-tone scale; whole step or half step.
style used in music written after 1600, in imitation of the old contrapuntal style of Palestrina, used especially for church music.
style devised by Claudio Monteverdi to portray anger and warlike actions, characterized by rapid reiteration of a single note, whether on quickly spoken syllables or in a measured string tremolo.
seventeenth-century style that used basso continuo and applied the rules of counterpoint freely.
mechanism on an organ to turn on or off the sounding of certain sets of pipes OR the particular set of pipes controlled by such a mechanism.
standard chamber ensemble consisting of two violins, viola, and cello OR multimovement composition for this ensemble.
in a march or rag, a period, usually of sixteen or thirty-two measures.
of a poem, consisting of two or more stanzas that are equivalent in form and can each be sung to the same melody; of a vocal work, consisting of a s~ poem set to the same music for each stanza.
early seventeenth-century vocal genre, a setting of a strophic poem, in which the melody of the first stanza is varied but the harmonic plan remains essentially the same, although the duration of harmonies may change to reflect the accentuation and meaning of the text.
style luthé or style brisé
broken or arpeggiated texture in keyboard and lute music from seventeenth-century France. The technique originated with the lute, and the figuration was transferred to the harpsichord.
in tonal music, the note and chord a fifth below the tonic.
theme, used especially for the main melody used in a ricercare, fugue, or other imitative work.
in Notre Dame polyphony, a new clausula (usually in discant style) designed to replace the original polyphonic setting of a particular segment of a chant.
a set of pieces that are linked together into a single work. During the Baroque, a suite usually referred to a set of stylized dance pieces.
in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century polyphony, the highest part.
dissonance created when a note is sustained while another voice moves to form dissonance with it; the sustained voice descends a step to resolve the dissonance.
having (or tending to have) one note sung to each syllable of text.
symphonic poem (or tone poem)
term coined by Franz Liszt for a one-movement work of program music for orchestra that conveys a poetic idea, story, scene, or succession of moods by presenting themes that are repeated, varied, or transformed.
a concerto-like genre of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries for two or more solo instruments and orchestra, characterized by its lightheartedness and melodic variety.
large work for orchestra, usually in four movements.
a style of jazz originating in the 1930s that was characterized by large ensembles and hard-driving jazz rhythms.
temporary disruption of meter by beginning a long note on an offbeat and sustaining it through the beginning of the next beat.
electronic instrument that generates and processes a wide variety of sounds.
a system of notation used for lute or other plucked string instrument that tells the player which strings to pluck and where to place the fingers on the strings, rather than indicating which notes will result. T~s were also used for keyboard instruments until the seventeenth century.
in an isorhythmic composition, an extended rhythmic pattern repeated one or more times, usually in the tenor.
any system of tuning notes in the scale in which pitches are adjusted to make most or all intervals sound well, through perhaps not in perfect tune.
speed of performance, or relative pace of music.
tempo di mezzo
the operatic scene structure developed by Gioachino Rossini in the early nineteenth century, the middle section of an aria or ensemble, usually an interruption or a transition, that falls between the cantabile and the cabaletta.
in medieval systems of notation, the basic time unit.
in a mode or chant, the reciting tone OR in polyphony of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the voice part that has the chant or other borrowed melody, often in long-held notes OR male voice of a relatively high range.
in a psalm tone, the cadence that marks the end of the psalm verse.
a form in three main sections, in which the first and third are identical or closely related and the middle section is contrasting, creating an ABA pattern.
in Greek and medieval theory, a scale of four notes spanning a perfect fourth OR in modern theory, a set of four pitches or pitch-classes OR in twelve-tone theory, the first four, middle four, or last four notes in the row.
using musical gestures to reinforce or suggest images in a text, such as rising on the word "ascend."
conveying or suggesting through musical means the emotions expressed in a text.
the combination of elements in a piece or passage, such as the number and relationship of independent parts (as in monophony, heterophony, polyphony, or homophony), groups (as in polychoral music), or musical events (as in relatively dense or transparent sonorities).
musical subject of a composition or section, or of a set of variations.
a method devised by Franz Liszt to provide unity, variety, and a narrative-like logic to a composition by transforming the thematic material into new themes or other elements, in order to reflect the diverse moods needed to portray a programmatic subject.
large lute with extra bass strings, used especially in the seventeenth century for performing basso continuo as accompaniment to singers or instruments.
= basso continuo.
composed throughout, as when each stanza or other unit of a poem is set to a new music rather than in a strophic manner to a single melody.
Spanish improvisatory-style instrumental piece that features imitation, akin to the sixteenth-century fantasia.
timbre or tone color
characteristic color or sound of an instrument or voice.
sign or numeral proportion, such as 3/4, placed at the beginning of a piece, section, or measure to indicate the meter.
Tin Pan Alley
jocular name for a district in New York where numerous publishers specializing in popular songs were located from the 1880s through the 1950s OR styles of American popular song from that era.
piece for keyboard instrument or lute resembling an improvisation that may include imitative sections or may serve as a prelude to an independent fugue.
operation within the system of tonality.
the system, common since the late seventeenth century, by which a piece of music is organized around a tonic note, chord, and key, to which all the other notes and keys in the piece are subordinate.
a sound of definite pitch.
term coined by Henry Cowell for a chord of diatonic or chromatic seconds.
symphonic poem, or a similar work for a medium other than orchestra.
the first and central note of a major or minor scale OR the main key of a piece or movement, in which the piece or movement begins and ends and to which all other keys are subordinate.
ancient Greek term used with different meanings by various writers; one meaning is a particular set of pitches within a certain range or region of the voice.
term for the different and contrasting styles in Classic-era music that serve as subjects for musical discourse.
the application of the principles of the twelve-tone method to musical parameters other than pitch, including duration, intensities, and timbres.
item in the Mass Proper that replaces the Alleluia on certain days in Lent, comprising a series of psalm verses.
tragédie en musique or (later) tragédie lyrique
French seventeenth- and eighteenth-entury forms of opera, pioneered by Jean-Baptiste Lully, that combined the French classic drama and ballet traditions with music, dances, and spectacles.
arrangement of a piece for an instrumental medium different from the original, such as a reduction of an orchestral score for piano.
in the exposition of a movement in sonata form, the passage between the first and second themes that effects the modulation to a new key OR more generally, a passage between two movements or sections of a work.
flute blown across a hole in the side of the player; used for medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque forms of the flute to distinguish it from the recorder, which is blown in one end and held in front.
a high voice or a part written for high voice, especially the highest part in three part polyphony of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries OR pertaining to the highest voice.
style common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in which the main melody is in the cantus, the upper voice carrying the text, supported by a slower-moving tenor and contratenor.
the 1300s, particularly with reference to Italian art, literature, and music of the time.
chord consisting of two successive thirds (for instance, C-E-G), or any inversion of such a chord.
rapid alternation between a note and another half step or whole step above.
piece for three player or singers OR the second of two alternating dances, in the Classic-era minuet and trio form OR the second main section of a march.
common instrumental genre during the Baroque period, a sonata for two treble instruments (usually violins) above a basso continuo. A performance featured four or more players if more than one was used for the continuo part.
thirteenth-century motet in four voices, with a different text in each voice above the tenor.
in polyphony of the late twelfth through fourteenth centuries, third voice from the bottom in a three- or four-voice texture, added to a tenor and duplum OR in Notre Dame polyphony, an organum in three voices.
interval spanning three whole tones or six semitones, such as F to B.
a female troubadour.
addition to an existing chant, consisting of words and melody; a melisma; or words only, set to an existing melisma or other melody.
a poet-composer of southern France who wrote monophonic songs in Occitan (langue d'oc) in the twelfth or thirteenth century.
a poet-composer or northern France who wrote monophonic songs in Old French (langue d'oïl) in the twelfth or thirteenth century.
in both the solo concerto and the concerto grosso, designates the full orchestra, also called ripieno OR instruction to an ensemble that all should play.
standard formula for the blues, with a harmonic progression in which the first four-measure phrase is on the tonic, the second phrase begins on the subdominant and ends on the tonic, and the third phrase starts on the dominant and returns to the tonic.
a form of atonality based on the systematic ordering of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale into a row that may be manipulated according to certain rules.
a French Baroque keyboard genre usually the first movement in a suite, whose nonmentric notation gives a feeling of improvisation.
the process of reworking a given melody, song, theme, or other musical idea, or the resulting varied form of it.
variations (variations form)
form that presents an uninterrupted series of variants (each called a variation) on a theme; the theme may be a melody, a bass line, a harmonic plan, or other musical subject.
in the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America, a type of variety show including musical numbers, but without the common theme of a revue.
nineteenth-century operative movement that presents everyday people in familiar situation, often depicting sordid or brutal events.
line of poetry OR stanza of a hymn or strophic song OR sentence of a psalm OR in Gregorian chant, a setting of a Psalm verse or similar text, such as the verses that are part of the Introit, Gradual, and Alleluia.
anthem in which passages for solo voice(s) with accompaniment alternate with passages for full choir doubled by instruments.
a form in vocal music in which two or more stanzas of poetry are each sung to the same music (the verse) and each is followed by the same refrain.
a type of Latin sacred song, either monophonic or polyphonic, setting a rhymed, rhythmic poem.
medieval bowed string instrument, early form of the fiddle and predecessor of the violin and viol.
Spanish relative of the lute with a flat back and guitar-shaped body.
type of polyphonic song in Spanish, with several stanzas framed by a refrain; originally secular, the form was later used for sacred works, especially associated with Christmas or other important holy days.
type of sixteenth-century Italian song, generally for three voices, in a rustic homophonic style.
viol (viola da gamba)
bowed, fretted string instrument popular form the mid-fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries, held between the legs.
bowed, fretless string instrument tuned in fifths (g-d'-a'-e").
French forme fixe in the pattern A bba A bba A bba A, in which a refrain (A) alternates with stanzas with the musical form bba, the a using the same music as the refrain.
English name for the harpsichord, used for all types until the seventeenth century OR type of harpsichord that is small enough to place on a table, with a single keyboard and strings running at right angles to the keys rather than parallel with them as in larger harpsichords.
performer who specializes in one instrument and dazzles audiences with his or her technical prowess.
in polyphony, technique which voices trade segments of music, so that the same combination of lines is heard twice or more, but with different voices singing each line.
bass line in Baroque music-and later in jazz-that moves steadily and continuously.
type of couple dance in triple meter, popular in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, or a short, stylized work for the piano in the style of such a dance.
whole step (or whole tone)
an interval equivalent to two semitones.
a scale consisting of only whole steps.
large ensemble of winds, brass, and percussion instruments, mostly with one player per part, dedicated solely to serious music, rather than to the mix of marches and other fare typically played by bands.
Spanish genre of musical theater, a light, mythological play in a pastoral setting that alternates between sung and spoken dialogue and various types of ensemble and solo song.