How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

Band Terms

June 19, 2011
STUDY
PLAY
a2
Both players or 2nd person plays the same part.
Accelerando
A symbol used in musical notation indicating to gradually quicken tempo.
Adagio
A tempo having slow movement; restful at ease.
Agitato
Agitated; with excitement.
Allegretto
Slower than allegro and with a sense of "lightness".
Allegro
A direction to play lively and fast.
Andante
At "walking" tempo.
A Tempo
Back to the original speed.
Cadenza
Originally an improvised cadence by a soloist. Later it became a written out passage to display performance skills of an instrumentalist or performer.
Canon
A musical form where the melody or tune is imitated by individual parts at regular intervals. The individual parts may enter at different measures and pitches. The tune may also be played at different speeds, backwards, or inverted.
Cantabile
A style of singing which is characterized by the easy and flowing tone of the composition.
Con brio
With spirit.
Countermelody
Second melodic line played at the same time as the main theme or malody.
Da Capo
An instruction to repeat the beginning of the piece before going to the coda or proceeding to the fine.
Del Segno
Go back to the "'f," which may not be at the beginning but in the first 1/4 of a work, then play on to the fine.
Dynamics
Pertaining to the loudness or softness of a musical composition. Also, the symbols indicating volume- ppp to fff.
Enharmonic Notes
Two notes that differ in name only. The notes occupy the same pitch. For example: C sharp and D flat.
Grazia
Grace.
Con Grazia
With grace.
Espressivo
A direction to play expressively, conveying emotion, often using vibrato.
Fermata
To hold a tone or rest beyond the note value at the discretion of the performer.
Form
The structure of a piece of music.
Forte
A symbol indicating to play loud- f.
Glissando
Sliding between two notes.
Good Ensemble
Performing with a sense of balance and togetherness between all instruments of a band or orchestra.
Grandioso
Word to indicate that the movement or entire composition is to be played grandly.
Grave
Word to indicate that the movement or entire composition is to be played very slow and serious.
Grazioso
Word to indicate that the movement or entire composition is to be played gracefully.
Interpretation
The expression a performer brings to a composition, making the music "come to life".
Interval
The distance in pitch between two notes.
Good Intonation
The manner in which unison notes are played with regard to pitch between musicians.
Largo
Very slow.
Lento
Slow; slightly faster than largo, slower than adagio.
Legato
Term to indicate articulation that is to be tongued smoothly and somewhat connected.
Maestoso
To be played majestically.
Marcato
Extremely short with a "stinging" type of articulation.
Meno mosso
Less forward motion with regard to tempo.
Mezzo forte
A direction for the dynamics to be played medium loud- mf.
Mezzo piano
A direction for the dynamics to be played medium soft- mp.
Modulation
To switch to another key.
Ornamentation
Notes used to embellish a melodic line, such as grace notes, turns and trills.
Ostinato
A constantly repeated phrase.
Pesante
Heavy.
(Good) Phrasing
Playing a single section or melodic line of music, breathing when it comes to a resting point- creating a musical sentence.
Piano (or "p")
An instruction to play the music at a soft level of volume.
Piu mosso
More forward motion with regard to tempo.
Poco
A little. Used with other terms, e.g. poco accelerando.
Poco a poco
Little by little.
Presto
A direction indicating the tempo is to be very fast.
Rallentando
Slowing the tempo gradually.
Rhythmical playing
The element of music pertaining to time; accurately playing measured groupings of notes in accented and/or unaccented beats.
Ritardando
Slowing down quickly.
Round
Same as a canon where the melody is imitated in two or more voices.
Rubato
The term used to denote flexibility of tempo to assist in achieving expressiveness.
Scherzo
"Joke-Like", a fast movement in triple time.
Sostenuto
Sustaining of tone.
Staccato
Short detached notes, as opposed to legato; does not mean "short".
Syncopation
Accenting of notes played on an "up-beat" or a subdivision of an "up-beat".
Tessitura
The range of an instrumental or a vocal part.
Theme
A melody presented as the main idea in a musical form.
Timbre
Tone color, quality of sound that distinguishes one verse or instrument from another. It is also determined often by the shape of the sound.
(Good) tone
Refers to intonation, pitch, and timbre of an instrument, which expresses meaning, feeling, or attitude of the music.
Tonic or Root
The first tone of a scale also known as a keynote.
Tremolo
Quick repetition of the same note or the rapid alteration between two notes.
Triad
Three note chords consisting of a root, third and fifth.
Trill
Rapid alternation between notes that are a half tone or whole tone apart, which adheres to the key signature.
Unison
Two or more voices or instruments playing the same note simultaneously.
Vibrato
Evenly and rapidly bending a note, similar to wave in the ocean.
Vivace
Play a composition in a brisk, lively, and spirited manner.