54 terms

Music Terms

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Anacrusis
Pick up notes
Beam
Lines used to group flag notes (Ex. 16th)
Chord
The simultaneous sounding of two or more pitches
Chromatic Semitone
A semitone notated using the same letter name with the addition of a chromatic sign; e.g. F - F♯.
Diatonic scale
Any scale consisting of seven different pitch letter names and containing five whole steps and two half steps.
Dominant
The fifth degree of a major or minor scale. The chord built on the fifth
degree of a scale.
Flat
(♭) Chromatic sign used to lower the pitch of a note one half step.
Harmonic minor scale
A systematic organization of the pitches used in minor key music for the purpose of study. A natural minor scale with the seventh scale degree raised one half step.
Inversion
An interval that has had one note transposed an octave. A triad/chord that has been restructured such that a component other than the root is the lowest sounding pitch.
Major/minor
Terms used to describe intervals of the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th; the quality of triads/chords and scales/keys.
Melodic Minor scale
A systematic organization of the pitches used in minor key music for the purpose of study. A natural minor scale with the sixth and seventh scale degrees raised one half step ascending and lowered descending.
Natural minor scale
A scale with a whole step/half step pattern of w-h-w-w-h-w-
w. Identical to Aeolian church mode.
Phrase
A melodic unit consisting of several measures ending with a cadence point.
Root position
The organization of the components of a triad/chord such that the root is the lowest sounding pitch.
Subdominant
The fourth degree of a major or minor scale. The chord built on the fourth degree of a scale.
Supertonic
The second degree of a major or minor scale. The chord built on the second degree of a scale.
Tonic
The first degree of a scale. The chord built on this scale degree. The central
pitch in a piece of tonal music.
Treble clef
(𝄞) Also called the G clef. Designates the position of G above middle c on the second line.
Aeolian mode
One of the medieval church modes with a whole step/half step pattern of w-h-w-w-h-w-w. Identical to a natural minor scale.
Bass clef
(𝄢) Also called the F clef. Designates the position of f below middle c on
the fourth line.
Chromatic signs
Sharps (♯), flats (♭) and naturals (♮) added to diatonic notes to indicate pitches that lie outside of a key.
Compound meter
A meter whose primary pulse first subdivides into groups of three.
Diatonic semitone
A semitone notated using two different adjacent letter names; e.g. E - F or F - G♭.
Duple meter
A meter that consists of two primary pulses per measure.
Whole step
Two half steps
Homophonic
A musical texture that has one prominent melodic entity supported
by an underlying harmonic accompaniment. The opposite of polyphony.
Ionian mode
One of the medieval church modes with a whole step/half step
pattern of w-w-h-w-w-w-h. Identical to a major scale.
Mediant
The third degree of a scale. The chord built on the third degree of a scale.
Meter
The organization of the rhythmic component of music into reoccurring
metrical patterns.
Neighbor tone
A non-chord tone generally approached by step and resolved by
step in the opposite direction. It is adjacent to a chord tone.
Relative major/minor
Scales that share the same notes/key signature but have different tonic pitches.
Sharp
(♯) Chromatic sign used to raise the pitch of a note one half step.
Submediant
The sixth degree of a major or minor scale. The chord built on the sixth degree of a scale.
Suspension
A non-chord tone occurring in a metrically strong position resolving down (generally) to become a chord tone. Moving from dissonance to consonance
Triple Meter
A meter that consists of three primary pulses per measure.
Double flat
Chromatic sign used to lower the pitch of a note two half steps
Augmented
A perfect or major interval that is increased in size by one half step. A triad consisting of a major third and an augmented fifth.
Cadence
A point of rest in music. Generally at the end of a phrase.
Circle of fifths
A circular arrangement of keys in the order of ascending fifths (clockwise) and descending fifths (counter-clockwise). In clockwise direction each successive key signature increases by one sharp. In counter-clockwise direction each successive key signature increases by one flat.
Contrapuntal
A musical texture made up of two or more independent lines sounding simultaneously. Prominent in the Baroque era. The opposite of homophony.
Diminished
A perfect or minor interval that is decreased in size by one half step. A triad consisting of a minor third and a diminished fifth.
Enharmonic
Notes that are the same pitch but have different letter names; e.g. F♯ and G♭ or B♯ and C.
Harmonic interval
The simultaneous sounding of two different pitches.
Interval
The measured distance between two notes.
Leading tone
The seventh degree of the scale that lies one half step below tonic. The chord built on this scale degree.
Melodic interval
An interval that has the pitches sounded one after the other.
Natural
Chromatic sign used to cancel a previously sharped or flatted note either in the context of the music or the key signature.
Passing tone
A non-chord tone generally approached by step and resolved by step in the same direction. It lies between two chord tones.
Parallel Major/minor
Scales that share the same tonic pitch but are of different modes and therefore have different key signatures.
Simple meter
A meter whose primary pulse first subdivides into groups of two.
Subtonic
The seventh degree of the scale that lies one whole step below tonic. The chord built on this scale degree.
Ternary form
Music with a phrase structure of A-B-A.
Triad
A three-note chord built from thirds.
Double sharp
Chromatic sign used to raise the pitch of a note two half steps.