Music Terms

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Accelerando
tempo gradually gets faster
Accidental
symbols such as sharps or flats and naturals that raise or lower a pitch.
Adagio
slow speed (not too slow)
Allegro
fast tempo / speed
Andante
play the music at a moderately slow speed.
Bar Line
a vertical line on the staff to separate measures in a composition.
Beam
a straight line connecting two or more notes such as eighth and sixteenth notes.
Beat
a musical pulse or unit of time / the steady pulse of music.
Chord
a combination of three or more notes sounding at the same time / multiple notes sounding simultaneously
Clef
a symbol placed at the beginning of the staff to indicate names of lines and spaces.
Conductor
the director of a group of musicians
Crescendo
gradually get louder
Decrescendo
gradually get softer
Dot
a small symbol placed to the right of a note that increases the duration of the note by one half.
Dynamics
symbols that indicate a change in volume of a song
Enharmonic
Two notes that sound the same but are spelled differently.
Fermata
a pause in the music, indicated by a curved arc and a dot
Flat
a symbol written to the left of a note that lowers the pitch by a half step.
Forte
loud
Half Step
the distance between one key and the next adjacent white or black key on a keyboard.
Largo
slow and stately
Ledger Line
a small line written above or below the staff to extend the range of notation.
Legato
playing notes in a smooth, connected manner
Measure
the space between one bar line and the next.
Moderato
medium tempo / speed
Octave
the interval between two adjacent notes of the same name.
Orchestra
a large group of instrumentalists consisting of woodwind, brass, string and percussion sections.
Pentatonic
a scale having five tones to the octave, usually avoiding half steps
Phrase
a complete musical thought
Piano
soft
Pizzicato
pluck strings instead of bowing
Presto
very fast tempo or speed
Recorder
an end-blown flute-like instrument that has a whistle mouthpiece, available in soprano, alto, tenor and bass.
Refrain
the melody of a song that is repeated after each verse
Repeat Sign
a sign that indicates a section of music to be played again
Rest
a symbol used to indicate silence in music.
Sharp
a symbol written to the left of a note that raises the pitch by a half step.
Slur
a curved line connecting two or more different notes, indicating to play the music smoothly.
Staccato
a dot over or under notes that indicate playing the music short and detached
Staff
horizontal lines on which notes are written. The musical staff has five lines and four spaces.
Syncopation
a rhythm accented on notes that are not usually stressed.
Tempo
the speed of a composition
Tie
a curved line connecting two notes indicated to play them as a single note
Vivace
lively and quick tempo
Whole Step
equal to two half steps