AP Music Theory vocabulary list
From a packet I got in class. It should include pretty much every vocab word you'll ever see on the AP Music Theory exam. Probably has a few spelling mistakes, repeats or misuses of words here or there, but there are 298 of them so bare with me.
Terms in this set (298)
Ending of a musical phrase
Extension of a cadence using the same chords
Closing musical material, not included in the main idea.
A small coda
Shape of a melody
Melody that is equally important to the main melody; usually provides consonace
One phrase connecting to the other
Part of a motive
A preparatory movement, usually in a slow tempo to introduce a larger composition. The term is chiefly applied to Classical and Romantic music, but is not exclusively applicable to those eras.
Connects the B and A section
A group of people singing a song, usually with multiple parts, together.
The main tune.
Song Form (AABA, ABA, ABA', etc.)
The form a song is in.
Gets you back to the beginning
When the notes in a melody are increased, generally by half, in value. Antonym: Diminution
Stepwise melodic motion
When a melody played in such a way that the time value of every note is shortened, generally halved, in value. Its antonym is ' augmentation'
Melodic motion in intervals larger than a 2nd
When part of the song is broken into parts
Expands beyond expect phrase length
Inversion, Melodic inversion
When you take one of the upper notes of a chord or interval and take the notes bellow it and put them on top.
When sequences are repeated exactly.
When the rhythmic theme is changed
Taking a melodic line and moving the notes to a different octave
pitch and rhythmic pattern, repeated and different pitch levels
A sequence that repeats
When a song is shortened
Change of key in the entire work
To shorten, fragment
Smallest musical idea
The "Call" in a call and response
The "Response" in a call and response
When two phrases begin different
2 periods put together
When two phrases begin the same
Group of phrases that seem to belong together without forming a period
Similar to a Chorus; the main tune
Binary small form
Movement with two main sections (AB)
Rounded binary small form
A B1/2 A
Statement, contrast, return (ABA)
Group of soloists
Music repeats, lyrics change
Main idea of the song, what it's about
When the theme changes in the song
Material is altered during repetition
Capital roman numerals
Indicate major triads
Lowercase roman numerals
Indicate minor triads
Capital roman numeral with *
Lowercase roman numeral with °
Arabic numerals or figured bass numerals do what?
Denote intervals above the bass and hence indirectly indicate chord inversion. Arabic numerals may indicate voice leading and/or nonharmonic tones.
Figured Bass 6
Inidicates first inversion triad (third on bottom)
figured bass 6/4
indicates second inversion triad (5th on bottom)
Figured bass 7
Indicated root position seventh chord (root on bottom)
figured bass °7
Fully diminished seventh chord (diminished triad with minor third on top)
figured bass ø7
Half diminished seventh chord (diminished triad with major third on top)
figured bass 6/5
first inversion seventh chord (3rd on the bottom)
figured bass 4/3
second inversion seventh chord (5th on the bottom)
figured bass 4/2
third inversion seventh chord (7th on the bottom)
figured bass 8-7
suspension where the 8 moves to the seven
9-8. 7-6, 4-3 figured bass
All indicate suspension and a melodic resolution
accidental before Arabic numeral
alteration of an interval
a slash through one of the arabic numerals or a plus after the arabic numeral
indicates that the note creating the interval in question is raised a half step
imperfect authentic cadence
must end on I chord
perfect authentic cadence
V to I; in root position; melody ends on tonic
cadence ends on tonic triad
V to vi
ends on V
Phrygian half cadence
iv6 to V/V7
ends in something other than the tonic chord
IV to I
Augmented triad (*)
two major thirds make up the triad
diminished triad (°)
Two minor triads make up the triad
Major triad (M)
a major then a minor third makes up the triad
Minor triad (m)
a minor then a major third makes up the triad
Major seventh chord (
Major triad with major third on top
dominant seventh chord
a major triad with a minor third on top
minor seventh chord
minor triad with minor third on top
Half diminished seventh chord
diminished triad with major third on top
fully diminished seventh chord
diminished triad with minor third on top
first scale degree
second scale degree
third scale degree
fourth scale degree
fifth scale degree
sixth scale degree
whole step bellow the tonic
half step below tonic
leads to tonic, sets up half cadence
sets up dominant tonic tonailities
Circle of fifths
keys or tonalities ordered by ascending (for sharp keys) or descending (for flat keys) intervals of a fifth
The root of a secondary dominant can move up stepwise in its own deceptive progression
The rate of chord change, or the series of durational patterns formed by the chord changes in a musical work.
change of tone within a piece
common tone modulation
using one or more tones that are common to both keys as an intersection b/w them
modulations without common chords or tones
Pivot chord modulation
using one or more chords that are common to both keys as an intersection b/w them
series of chords that weaken tonality
the V or Dominant of a key other than Tonic
secondary leading tone chord
A leading-tone chord that functions as an applied, or secondary, dominant; usually a fully diminished seventh chord.
a chord other than tonic that seems to the ear to be a temporary tonic
Arpeggiating 6/4 chord
a 6/4 created by arpeggiation of the triad in the bass
cadential 6/4 chord
a 1 6/4 preceding the dominant, often at a cadence, although it contains the notes of the tonic triad, it doesn't exercise a tonic function but rather serves as an embellishment of the dominant. it occurs in a metrically stronger position than the dominant and the upper voices most often move by step to the tones of the dominant. may also be written as V6/4=5/3, including the resolution of the cadential 6/4 to the dominant.
Neighboring of pedal 6/4 chord
(embellishing 6/4, auxilary 6/4) occurs when the third and the fifth of a root position triad are embellished by their respective upper neighboring tones, while the bass is stationary, usually occurring on a weak beat.
passing 6/4 chord
harmonizes the second note of a three note ascending or descending scale fragment in the bass; that is, it harmonizes a bass passing tone. the usual metric placement is on an unaccented beat and the motion of the upper voices is ordinarily by step.
approached by step or leap, same tone as following note
approached by leap, resolved by step
approached by step, resolved by leap
neighboring tone can be known as...
(auxiliary tone, embellishing tone, neighbor note)
double neighboring tone
involves one note on top of the other
approached by step down, resolved by step to the original note
approached by step up, resolved by step down to the original note
neighbor group (cambiata, changing tones, changing notes)
approach my step, resolve by step, moving in the same direction
suspension of same note throughout
tone preceding suspension
When the dissonant note is changed to a consonant one.
opposite of a suspension; resolves up instead of down
a tone held from one chord into another, and then resolved down to the chordal note
notes placed as close as possible on the staff
to duplicate a note into another octave
wide intervals between parts
the note a chord is built on
root is in the bass
a tone that is common in two chords
when two parts move in opposite directions
when a note sounds with its altered equivalent
when an upper voice goes bellow a note used previously in a lower voice, and vice versa
direct fifths/direct octaves
when the outside voices move in the same direction
the relative motion of two melodic parts in which one remains in place or moves relatively little while the other moves more actively.
when an upper voice is lower than a voice lower than it, and vice versa
when two voice parts move in the same direction
when two parts move in the same direction, staying in fifths
when two parts move in the same direction, staying in octaves
In part-writing, similar motion is the situation in which two voices of the composition move in the same direction, either ascending or descending, but they do not necessarily cover the same interval.
note that tends to move in one direction or another
unresolved leading tone
when the leading tone isn't resolved up to the tonic
when the seven in a chord isn't resolved down by step
the repetition of a contrapuntal passage with the voices' parts exchanged.
Voice 1: a b
voice 2: b a
not in the key
a scale that moves by half steps
common practice style
obeys two different kinds of musical norms: first, it uses conventionalized sequences of chords, such as I-IV-V-I. Second, it obeys specific contrapuntal norms, such as the avoidance of parallel fifths and octaves.
pleasing to the ear
in the key
not pleasing to the ear
arabic numerals that tell where the notes in the chord are placed
flatted fifth note
sheet containing words and melody for a song written in simple form
major third in tonic chord of minor key
do i really need to define this
distance between two notes that exceeds an octave
when you move from one note directly to the next
distance between two notes
inversion of an interval
to turn an interval upside down
unison, fourth, fifth
second, third, sixth, seventh
second, third, sixth, seventh.
Lowers them by one half step.
second, third, sixth, and seventh are lowered another half step from minor.
unison, fourth, fifth are lowered from their perfect form
when any interval is raised from its original form
augmented fourth, or diminished fifth
one note is played/sung
two half steps
the style in which an individual note is played
with the bow
plucking the strings
to sing to a single syllable or play without a break (two or more tones of different pitch)
call and response
what the name says?
marks the volume of the song
volume levels shift quickly
a division of a composition, commonly a passage of four or eight measures, forming part of a period.
the speed of the piece
slow and stately
fast and bright
slightly faster than andante
slow and solemn
very very slow
lively and fast
gradually speed up
gradually decreasing tempo
to be played with a flexible tempo
stress given to a note through prolonged duration.
occurs when performer emphasizes a tone by playing it more loudly than the tones around it
The pattern of strong and weak beats based on the "weight" of the downbeat and the "lift" of the upbeat.
pickup note or figure
A compound meter with beat units of unequal duration. These irregular beat lengths are typically (though not always) created by five or seven beat divisions, grouped into beat lengths such as 2 + 3 or 2 + 3 + 2.
the line that shows where one measure stops and one begins
the pulse in a song
a beat that subdivides into three parts
a beat that subdivides into two parts
a common trait in 20th-century music; time signature changes frequently and unpredictably; a rejection of standard metrical patterns in favor of non-symmetrical groupings (Bartok & Concerto for Orchestra)
cross rhythm (polyrhythm)
Two conflicting rhythms used at the same time. Also known as polyrhythm.
dot on the side of a note
takes half the length of the note its beside
long-short rhythmic pattern in which a dotted note is followed by a note that is much shorter
A group of two notes played in the time usually taken to play three
a shift in the rhythmic pulse from a division of 2 to a division of 3, or vice versa. i.e. 6-8 time meter into 3-4 time meter.
asymmetrical groupings with different numbers of beats per measure
how the pulse/beat is established
2 beats per measure
four beats per measure
three beats a measure
the rate at which notes are played
Rhythm where notes with equal written time values are performed with unequal durations, usually as alternating long and short.
the accenting of musical beats not normally accented; notes that aren't played on the beat.
the rate at which music is played
when a note in one measure is held into the next
the top number is the number of beats in the measure.
the bottom number is the note that gets the beat.
three notes played in the space of one or two.
alters a note up or down a half step
In the key of C (up and down):
C D E F G A B C B A G F E D C
harmonic minor scale
In the key of a (up and down):
a b c d e f g# a g# f e d c b a
Melodic minor scale
in the key of a (up and down):
a b c d e f# g# a g f e d c b a
A major scale
natural minor with a raised 6
natural minor with a flat 2
major scale with raised 4
major scale with flat 7
natural minor scale
natural minor scale with a flat 2 and 5
the state of being modal
two keys that share the same tonic but NOT the same key
scale that has five notes to an octave (think Asian music)
2 scales that have the same key, but not the same tonic.
Series of four notes having a pattern of whole step, whole step, half step
Principle of organization around a tonic, or home, pitch, based on a major or minor scale.
whole tone scale
moving only by whole steps
notes sung to one syllable
one note per syllable
1 5 3 5; broken base
a contrapuntal piece of music in which a melody in one part is imitated exactly in other parts, starting at different points.
The underlying harmonic support for a melody; chords may be blocked or broken.
voices working against each other
a copy that is represented as the original
technique in which each phrase of a composition is addressed by all the voices, which enter successively in imitation of each other
two or more melodic lines playing distinct melodies
Accompanying melody sounding against the principle melody
imitation of the subject which enters at a different pitch level; almost like a sequence
one melodic line being improvised upon
sameness, regarding rhythm and melody
chordal texture (homorhythmic)
a type of homophonic texture, with pitches sounding simultaneously
the section of a band or orchestra that plays brass instruments
a bass part written out in full and accompanied by numbers to indicate the chords to be played
the section of a band or orchestra that plays percussion instruments
the section within a jazz band, usually consisting of drums, double bass, piano, banjo, and/or guitar, that establishes the harmony and rhythm
the section of an orchestra that plays stringed instruments
the distinguishing quality of a sound
wind instruments that include the piccolo, flute, oboe, english horn, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone
a part of the score that must be performed without change or omission
a musical phrase repeated over and over during a composition
having two or more independent but harmonically related melodic parts sounding together
most widely used range of pitches in a piece of music
a bass line that moves at a moderate pace, mostly in equal note values, and often stepwise up or down the scale
A song from a larger work
a song that stands alone
solo instrument and orchestra
a musical form consisting of a theme repeated a fifth above or a fourth below its first statement
style, category of music
staged vocal work
a part of a song before the main section
a part of the song after the main section
2 violins, a viola, and a cello
a piece for an orchestra with many movements.
a change of key within a piece
plucked string (tighten or loosen pegs to change pitch)
Approach by step, jump a third, resolve by step to the original note.