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The Vocabulary from Module 3.6 for the AP Music Theory Exam

A capella

Normally referring to choir music sung without instrumental accompaniment


Emphasis placed on a particular note through metric placement, dynamic level, articulation, duration, or register


A sign placed before a note to indicate a temporary raising or lowering of its pitch or a cancellation of a previous accidental


The study of the physical properties of musical sound

Agogic accent

Emphasis placed on a particular note by virtue of its longer duration than the surrounding notes

Alla breve

Literally "according to the breve", it is a synonym for "cut time."

Altered Chord

A harmony that contains pitches not diatonic in the key in which it appears

Altered Dominant

A dominant or dominant 7th chord with a raised or lowered 5th


A female voice type with an approximate range from g to d2; also, the term normally used to refer to the 2nd highest musical line in a composition


Literally, "Before the crusis (beat)", an upbeat or pickup to the ensuing measure


In a fugal exposition, the imitation of the subject at the level of the dominant


In a period, the 1st of the phrases, ending without a sense of completion and requiring a consequent phrase to bring about a resolution


An embellishing tone usually found at cadences, in which one voice, usually the soprano, resolves to its cadence pitch ahead of the other voices


An embellishing tone approached by leap and resolved to a metrically weaker pitch by step, usually in the opposite direction of the leap

Appoggiatura chord

A 19th century harmony in which several of the chord members resemble appoggiaturas in that they are apporached by leap and resolve by step. The true chord can be found at the point of their resolutions

Arpeggiated six-four chord

A 2nd inversion triad, most often a tonic, that results when the chord is outlined by the lowest voice of the texture


The melodic outlining of a chord in a single voice

Art Song

Music composed for concert performance by a trained singer accompanied by piano


In melody, a period or phrase group in which the phrases are of unequal length


The term given to music that contains neither traditional tonal references nor a pronounced sense that one pitch possesses greater stability than all the others and thus constitutes the tonal center


A contrapuntal device in which a melodic/rhythmic figure appears in longer note values than its original form.

Augmentation dot

a sign placed after a note or rest that extends its duration by one-half the undotted value

Augmented Triad

A three-note chord built of Major 3rds, in which the highest member is an augmented 5th above the root

Authentic cadence

The harmonic formula V-I that creates a Conclusive point of punctuation and repose at the end of a musical thought

Auxiliary chord

Any chord that is heard as a neighbor chord or passing chord to another

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