music Instrumental music with no explicit pictorial or
literal associations. As opposed to program music.
cappella Music for voices alone, without instrumental
A conspicuous, sudden emphasis given to a particular sound,
usually by an increase in volume.
A notational sign in a score indicating that a specific
note is to be played as a flat, sharp, or natural. The most common
accidentals (flats and sharps) correspond to the five black notes
in each octave of the keyboard.
The subordinate material or voices that support a melody.
(1) the science of sound; (2) the art of optimizing sound
in an enclosed space.
Quite slow tempo.
allegretto Fast tempo; slightly fast tempo
(1) The lowest adult female voice; (2) the second-highest
voice in a four-part texture.
andantino Moderately slow (walking) tempo; a little faster
Originally, a plainchant that framed the singing of a psalm.
The term derives from the early practice of singing psalms
"antiphonally"- that is, with two or more alternating choirs.
A strong-beat dissonance that resolves to a consonance; used
as an expressive device in much tonal music.
In opera or oratorio, a set piece, usually for a single performer,
that expresses a character's emotion about a particular situation.
A singing style between aria and recitative.
A chord whose individual notes are played successively rather
An orchestration of a skeletal score or a reorchestration
of a finished composition.
nova The "new art" of fourteenth-century France; refers
to the stylistic innovations, especially rhythmic, of composers
The manner in which adjacent notes of a melody are connected
song A song focusing on artistic rather than popular expression.
tempo At the original tempo.
atonal The absence of any sense of tonality.
The restatement of a theme in longer note values, often twice
as long (and therefore twice as slow) as the original.
garde In the art, on the leading edge of a change in style.
(1) One of several types of medieval secular songs, usually
in A-A-B form; (2) a type of nineteenth-century character piece
opera A popular eighteenth-century English dramatic form
characterized by spoken dialogue on topical themes interspersed
with popular folk songs.
A type of fourteenth-century italian secular song, similar
to the French virelai.
The theatrical presentation of group or solo dancing of great
precision to a musical accompaniment, usually with costumes and
scenery and conveying a story or theme.
Same as measure.
Adult male voice of moderately low range.
set The underlying tone row in a serial composition.
(1) The lowest adult male voice; (2) the lowest voice in a
clef The clef in the upper staff that shows pitches mostly
below middle C
danse A popular Renaissance court dance for couples.
note In blues singing or jazz, the deliberate offpitch lowering
of certain pitches.
(I)A form of African-American folk music, characterized by simple,
repetitive structures and a highly flexible vocal delivery; (2)
the style of singing heard in the blues.
In string playing, a bundle of bleached horsehairs stretched tautly
between the ends of a wooden stick. To produce a sound, the bow
is drawn over one or more of the strings.
A high-stepping Renaissance group dance.
A family of instruments with cup-shaped mouthpieces through which
the player blows into a series of metal tubes. Usually constructed
of brass or silver.
(1) A passage connecting two sections of a composition; (2) on string
instruments, a small piece of wood that holds the strings above
cadential The musical punctuation that separates phrases or periods,
creating a sense of rest or conclusion that ranges from momentary
An improvised passage for a soloist, usually placed within the closing
ritornello in a concerto movement.
(1) Strict imitation, in which one voice imitates another at a staggered
time interval; (2) a piece that uses canon throughout, such as "Row,
Row, Row Your Boat."
A Baroque genre for voice(s) and instruments on a sacred or secular
poem, including recitatives, arias, and sometimes choruses.
firmus ("fixed melody") A pre-existing plainchant or secular
melody incorporated into a polyphonic composition, common from the
twelfth through the sixteenth centuries.
A male singer castrated during boyhood to preserve his soprano or
alto vocal register. Castratos played a prominent role in seventeenth-
and eighteenth-century opera.
Compact disc-read only memory. A compact-disc technology that enables
a personal computer to access digitally text, still images, moving
pictures, and sound.
A small keyboard instrument invented in 1886 whose hammers strike
a series of resonating steel plates to produce a bell-like but veiled
sound. Used by composers from Tchaikovsky to Boulez.
In certain twentieth-century compositions, a brief, recurring musical
figure that does not undergo traditional motivic development.
music Music played by small ensembles, such as a string quartet,
with one performer to a part.
music A type of contemporary music in which some or all of the
elements, such as rhythm or the interaction among voices, are left
(French, "song") The most popular form of secular vocal music in
northern Europe during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
character piece A short Romantic piano piece that expresses a single
overall mood. choir (1) A vocal ensemble with more than one singer
to a part; (2) a section of an instrumental ensemble, such as a
(1) A German hymn, especially popular in the Baroque; (2) a polyphonic
setting of such a hymn, such as those by J. S. Bach.
A group of three or more pitches sounded simultaneously.
style An alternate term for homophony. chorus (1) Same as choir;
(2) each varied repetition of a 12-bar blues pattern; (3) the principal
section of an American popular song, following the verse(s).
A descriptive term for melodies or harmonies that use all or most
of the twelve degrees of the octave.
scale The pattern that results when all twelve adjacent semitones
in an octave are played successively.
In musical notation, a symbol at the beginning of a staff
that determines the pitches of the lines and spaces. The most common
clefs are treble (4) for indicating pitches mostly above middle
C and bass (9;) for indicating pitches mostly below middle C.
area In a movement in sonata form, the final stage in
an exposition or recapitulation that confirms the temporary or home
key with a series of cadences.
The optional final section of a movement or an entire composition.
A descriptive term for tone rows in which the second half is a transposed
version of the first half.
meters Duple or triple meters in which the individual beats
are subdivided into triple units.
The solo group in a Baroque concerto grosso.
An instrumental composition for orchestra and soloist (or a small
group of soloists).
grosso The principal variety of Baroque concerto, for a small
group of soloists (the concertino) and a larger ensemble (the ripieno).
A style of popular dance music characterized by slick, ostinato-like
rhythms and propulsive, repetitive lyrics.
motion Melodic motion by a leap rather than by a step.
Intervals or chords that sound impure, harsh, or unstable.
(1) The fifth degree of the diatonic scale. (2) the triad built
on this degree; (3) the key oriented around this degree.
seventh chord A dominant triad with an added seventh degree-for
example, G-B-D-F. dotted rhythm The alternation of LONG and short
notes, named after the notation used to record them.
A strong or accented beat, most frequently the first beat of a measure.
A sustained tone (a kind of permanent pedal point) over which a
A composition for two performers.
meter The regular grouping of beats into twos (STRONG-weak).
The most common duple meters have two or four beats per measure.
dynamics The relative softness or loudness of a note or passage.
music Music in which some or all of the sounds are produced
by electronic generators. embellishment An ornamental addition to
a simpler melody.
(1) A group of performers; (2) a musical number in an opera, oratorio,
or cantata sung by two or more performers; (3) the extent to which
a group of performers coordinate their performance.
In an imitative texture, the beginning of each statement of the
The graphic representation of a sound's attack, duration, and pattern
(1) In a fugue, a freer passage between full statements of the subject;
(2) in ritornello form, a freer concertina passage between ripieno
statements of the ritornello.
A type of early instrumental (perhaps dance) music consisting of
independent sections strung together.
A musical piece designed to address a particular technical problem
on an instrument.
The first section of a movement in sonata form.
(I)The general character of a passage or work; (2) the blend of
feeling and intellect brought to a performance by the performer.
A short-lived Austro-German art movement at the beginning of the
twentieth century, marked by a focus on the dark, mysterious side
of the human mind.
The French version of Austro-German Expressionism.
In musical notation, a sign (-) indicating the prolongation of a
note or rest beyond its notated value.
(1) In Baroque and Classical music, the numbers below a staff designating
the harmonies to be filled in above; (2) a general term for a brief
bass The Baroque system of adding figures to a bass line, indicating
what harmonies are to be improvised on each beat.
In plainchant, the concluding note in a mode; corresponds roughly
to the tonic note in a tonal scale.
(1) The last movement of an instrumental work; (2) the large ensemble
that concludes an act in an opera.
arts The realm of human experience characterized as aesthetic
rather than practical or utilitarian, including music, painting,
dance, theater, and film.
A piece of wood extending from the body of a string instrument;
the strings are attached to the end of the fingerboard.
(1) In musical notation, a sign (6) indicating that the note it
precedes is to be played a half step lower; (2) the term used to
specify a particular note, for example, B6.
Frequency-modulation synthesis; a superior version of electronic
synthesis introduced in the consumer market by Yamaha in 1982.
music Music indigenous to a particular ethnic group, usually
preserved and transmitted orally.
A term used to designate standardized musical shapes, such as
binary form or sonata form.
fortissimo Loud; very loud.
The wooden-framed eighteenth-century piano used by Mozart, Haydn,
and their contemporaries.
The technique of developing a them,, by dividing it into smaller
units, most common in the music of the Viennese Classicists.
In acoustics, the number of times per second that the air carrying
a sound vibrates as a wave. fret A raised strip across the fingerboard
of a stringed instrument, designed to produce a specific pitch when
stopped at that point.
A light, popular Italian song, a precursor of the Italian madrigal.
A fugal passage within a composition.
A polyphonic composition that makes systematic use of imitation,
usually based on a single subject, and that opens with a series
of exposed entries on that subject.
The basic pitch of a tone.
A small Javanese orchestra consisting mainly of metal percussion
The term used to identify a general category of music that shares
similar performance forces, formal structures, and/or style-for
example, "string quartet" or " 1 2-bar blues."
Rapid sliding from one note to another, usually on continuous-pitch
instruments such as the trombone or violin, but also on discrete-pitch
instruments such as the piano or harp.
(bass) A repeating pattern, usually in the bass, over which
a melody unfolds, as in Dido's lament from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.
cadence An intermediate cadence, usually on the dominant chord,
within a musical period.
step (semitone) The interval between any two adjacent notes
on a keyboard; the smallest interval in common use in Western music.
(1) In acoustics, a synonym for overtone or partial; (2) in string
playing, a high-pitched, whistling tone made by bowing a lightly
stopped string. harmonic minor scale The scale that results from
flatting the third and sixth degrees of the major scale. harmonic
rhythm The rate at which harmony changes and the degree of regularity
with which it changes.
To provide a melody with a chordal accompaniment.
(1) In general, the simultaneous aspects of music; (2) specifically,
the simultaneous playing of two or more different sounds.
A Baroque keyboard instrument in which the strings are plucked by
The beginning of a theme.
metal A descriptive term for rock bands since the 1970s whose
heavily amplified electric and percussion sounds have been associated
with youthful rebellion and defiance.
(heter-off-ony) A texture in which two or more variations of the
same melody are performed simultaneously, common in folk music.
the six usable degrees of the modal scale, often used to organize
In late medieval polyphony, the alternation of short melodic phrases
(or even single notes) between two voices.
(ho-mof-ony;homo-fonick) Texture in which all the voices move more
or less together (often referred to as the chordal style).
A simple religious song in several stanzas, sung in a church
service by the congregation.
fixe (French, "fixed idea") Term used by Berlioz for the theme
representing his beloved in every movement of his Symphonie fantastique.
The successive repetition in different voices of a single musical
A French art movement of the late nineteenth century that rejected
Romanticism in favor of fleeting, informal scenes from everyday
life. improvisation The spontaneous, on-the-spot creation of music,
preserved today largely in jazz but common in Western music well
into the nineteenth century. incidental music Music performed before
and during a play to intensify the mood.
In the Renaissance, a musical entertainment between the acts of
The manner in which a performer carries out a composer's performance
The acoustical distance between two pitches, usually reckoned by
the number of intervening scale degrees.
A passage or section, often in a slow tempo, that prepares the way
for a more extended section.
The playing of a melody upside down, with upward intervals played
downwards and vice verse, most common in contrapuntal and serial
meter The mixture at a single rhythmic level of more than one
A style of performance developed largely by African-Americans after
1900; the most original form of American music in the twentieth
(zhong-ler;zhong-ler-ess)Male and female musical minstrels of the
(1) In tonal music, one of twelve possible tonalities organized
around a triad built on the main note(2) on a keyboard, a lever
pressed down to produce sound.
signature Sharps or flats placed at the beginning of a staff
to indicate the key of a passage or work.
numbers The common method of referring to works by Mozart, after
the chronological catalogue first published by Ludwig Kochel in
larghetto Very slow tempo; less slow than largo.
The smooth, seamless connection of adjacent notes in a melody.
A term adopted by Wagner's disciples to designate the "leading motives"
in his operas.
A "little book" that contains the complete text of an opera, oratorio,
and so forth.
(German, "song") A vocal piece dating back to the polyphonic
Lied of the fourteenth century. The solo German Lied, accompanied
by piano, reached its zenith during the nineteenth century.
A general term for a discrete voice or part in a vocal or instrumental
drama A sung religious dialogue that flourished during the eleventh
and twelfth centuries. Liturgical in spirit even when performed
outside the formal liturgy, liturgical dramas were the most elaborate
form of medieval music.
An ancient plucked string instrument in the shape of a box (Figure
5. 1), whose association with music especially with the mythological
character Orpheus) is so strong that the word lyric is derived from
A vocal form that arose in Italy during the sixteenth century and
developed into the most ambitious secular form of the Renaissance.
An alternate term for word painting, reflecting the frequent
use of word painting in the Renaissance madrigal.
mode One of two colorings applied to a key, characterized by
the major scale and the resulting predominance of major triads.
Generally sounds bright and stable.
scale A pattern of seven (ascending) notes, five separated by
whole steps, with half steps between the third and fourth and the
seventh and eighth degrees.
seventh A highly dissonant interval a half step smaller than
third An interval consisting of four half steps-, a major third
forms the bottom interval of a major triad.
triad A triad consisting of a major third plus a minor third
bounded by a perfect fifth.
A military style (or piece) characterized by strongly accented
duple meter and clear sectional structures.
(1) The central worship service of the Roman Catholic Church; (2)
the music written for that service.
Polish folk dance in rapid triple meter with strong offbeat accents.
(bar) The single recurrence of each regular pattern in a meter,
consisting of a strong first beat and weaker subsidiary beats and
set off in musical notation by vertical lines known as bar lines.
melisma; melismatic (muh-liz-muh;mel-iz-mat-ic) Technique of singing
in which a single syllable receives many notes.
(1) The aspect of music having to do with the succession of
single notes in a coherent arrangement; (2) a particular succession
of such notes (also referred to as tune, theme, or voice).
The organization of strong and weak beats into a regular, recurring
Mechanical (or, today, electrical) device that ticks (or blinks)
out regular tempos from about 40 to 208 beats per minute.
marking A number, usually placed at the top of a piece, that
indicates tempo by telling how many beats of a certain note value
will be heard per minute, for example, J = 60.
(met-zoh) Medium, as in mezzopiano (medium soft).
Intervals smaller than a half step.
Acronym for "musical instrument digital interface," the industry-wide
standard adopted in 1982 that permits personal computers and synthesizers
to talk to one another.
A descriptive term for a short Romantic piece, usually for piano.
A contemporary style marked by steady pulse, simple triadic
harmonies, and insistent repetition of short melodic patterns.
mode One of two colorings, generally dark and unstable, applied
to a key, characterized by the minor scale and the resulting predominance
of minor triads.
scale The scale in which the third and sixth degrees are the
lower of two options. The melodic minor scale raises the sixth and
seventh degrees in ascending passages and lowers them in descending
third An interval consisting of three half steps; a minor third
forms the bottom interval of a minor triad.
triad A triad consisting of a minor third plus a major third
bounded by a perfect fifth.
A seventeenth-century court dance in moderate triple meter that
later served as the model for the third movement of Classical instrumental
works. mode (1) In the Middle Ages, a means of organizing plainchant
according to orientations around the seven-note diatonic scale (corresponding
to the white notes on a keyboard); (2) in the tonal system, one
of the two colorings, called major and minor, that may be applied
to any of twelve keys.
The process of changing keys in a tonal work, as in "the modulation
from C major to F minor."
allegro Very fast tempo.
A style of accompanied solo singing that evolved in the early Baroque
in which the meaning of the text was expressed in a flexible vocal
(mo-nof-ony;mo-no-fonick) A musical texture consisting of a single
voice, as in plainchant.
Robert, American inventor of early synthesizers. During the
1970s his most popular synthesizer was itself known as "the Moog."
morality play In the Middle Ages, a monophonic drama set to music
to illustrate a moral point, such as the struggle between good and
evil. An example is Hildegarde of Bingen's Play of the Virtues (pages
A descriptive term for the several varieties of polyphonic vocal
music, mostly sacred, from the Middle Ages to the present.
The smallest coherent unit of a larger musical idea.
A self-contained, largely independent portion of a larger piece,
such as a symphony or concerto.
Rapidly developing technology that enables information of all kinds-text,
still images, moving pictures, sound-to be stored and retrieved
on a single digital medium, such as CD-ROM or videodisc.
A descriptive term for the ability of a synthesizer to record different
Broadly speaking, sounds organized to express a wide variety of
theater (musical) A hybrid form of twentieth-century American
musical entertainment that incorporates elements of vaudeville,
operetta, jazz, and popular song.
drama Wagner's designation for his operas. musicology The scholarly
study of music and its historical contexts.
concrete Natural sounds that have been recorded electronically.
A mechanical device used with string and brass instruments to muffle
A nineteenth-century political movement that led in music to
the frequent use of national folk songs, styles, and historical
(1) In musical notation, a sign --
-- indicating that the preceding
accidental applied to this note is to be cancelled; (2) the name
given to such a note, for example, C.
A twentieth-century movement characterized by a selective and
eclectic revival of the formal proportions and economical means
of eighteenth century music.
In plainchant, a style in which each syllable of text receives several
The stemless symbols used in medieval sources to notate plainchant
(see Figure 4.12).
("night piece") A nineteenth-century character piece for piano.
counterpoint Same as unequal-voiced counterpoint.
The slight separation of adjacent notes.
(1) A sound with a specific pitch and duration; (2) in musical notation,
the symbol (e.g., J) for such a sound; (3) a single key on a keyboard.
The interval in which one pitch is doubled (or halved) in frequency
by another pitch. The octave is found in virtually all music systems.
(Divine) The eight daily worship services, apart from the Mass,
in the Roman Catholic Church.
martenot An early electronic instrument invented in the late
1920s by Maurice Martenot.
A drama set to music; the dominant form of Western music from the
seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.
buffa A comic form of eighteenth-century Italian opera featuring
everyday characters involved in outlandish plot intrigues.
seria A serious, heroic form of eighteenth century opera featuring
historical or mythological figures in stereotypical plots stressing
the tension between love and duty.
A light, entertaining version of Romantic opera with spoken
dialogue between numbers.
A "work"; opus numbers were introduced by publishers in the seventeenth
century to identify each of a composer's works.
(English) A musical entertainment usually on a sacred subject and
including recitatives, arias, choruses, and an overture.
The designation of what instruments are to play what voices
or notes in a composition. The process of orchestrating is often
referred to as scoring.
of the Mass In the Roman Catholic liturgy, the five items (Kyrie,
Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) that arc part of every celebration
of the Mass.
An instrument in which air forced through pipes by mechanical means
is controlled by one or more keyboards, including a foot-operated
The earliest type of medieval polyphonic music, in which voices
were added above a plainchant.
An embellishment, such as a trill, used to decorate a melodic line.
A brief pattern repeated over and over again at the same pitch,
often in the bass.
The spectrum of the higher-pitched frequencies that accompany the
fundamental of any pitch and determine its tone color (also called
harmonic or partials).
An instrumental piece that precedes a dramatic work such as an opera
(some overtures are nevertheless independent compositions).
The practice by Renaissance composers of embellishing or elaborating
a cantus firmus in polyphonic vocal works.
Nineteenth-century operatic style in which the voices declaim
in a rapid, speechlike manner against a backdrop of melody and accompaniment.
(1) One of the voices in a polyphonic work; (2) the written music
for a single player in an ensemble.
Same as overtone.
Baroque technique in which a brief melodic idea repeats over and
over while the other voices are varied freely.
work Descriptive term for figuration consisting of rapid runs
and scales, common in keyboard music.
chords On early synthesizers, the cables required to connect
Pulse-code modulation. A more sophisticated method of sampling
introduced into the consumer synthesizer market in the late 1980s.
board An organ's foot-operated keyboard.
point Long-held tones, usually in the bass of a polyphonic passage.
scale A five-note scale found in numerous non-Western musics
and adopted as an exotic element by many twentieth-century Western
Instruments, either tuned or untuned, that produce sounds by being
struck, rattled, or scraped. Common percussion include drums, cymbals,
directions Words or symbols provided by composers to instruct
performers in how their music is to be played, including articulation,
dynamics, expression, and phrasing.
The musical equivalent of a paragraph. period instrument An
instrument of a type that was in use at the time a work was originally
performed. phrase The coherent segments that make up a melody; roughly
equivalent to a sentence in prose.
The manner in which a performer organizes and presents the parts
of a composition.
A keyboard instrument whose tone is produced by hammers striking
strings tightly stretched over a large soundboard. A foot pedal
controls the damping of the strings.
pianissimo Soft; very soft. piano trio A chamber work for piano
and two other instruments, usually violin and cello. pitch (1) The
high and low of sounds, measured in acoustical frequencies; (2)
a particular note, such as middle C.
Playing a string instrument that is normally bowed by plucking the
strings with the finger.
(plainsong, Gregorian chant) Monophonic unison music sung during
Catholic church services since the Middle Ages.
of attraction A term introduced by Stravinsky to describe the
harmonic equilibrium of his neoclassical works.
(po-lif-ony; poly-fon-ick)A musical texture in which the individual
voices move independently of one another.
A texture in which the rhythms of various voices seem to exist
independently of one another.
A generic term for popular music in contemporary America, overlapping
but not identical with rock.
A term adopted around the mid- 1970s to describe our current eclectic,
An introductory piece (though Chopin and other nineteenth-century
composers wrote independent preludes).
The first public performance of a musical or dramatic work.
piano In contemporary music, the modifying of a traditional
grand piano by such techniques as placing various objects between
prestissimo Very fast; extremely fast.
area In a movement in sonata form, the first stage in an exposition;
establishes the tonic key with one or more themes.
music An instrumental work associated explicitly by the composer
with a story or other extramusical idea.
of the Mass The parts of the Mass that vary from day to day
according to the church calendar.
A descriptive term adopted by the most rebellious heavy metal
bands and their followers.
tone Half a semitone.
(1) A piece for four singers or instrumentalists; (2) a group of
four singers or instrumentalists.
(1) A piece for five singers or instrumentalists; (2) a group of
five singers or instrumentalists.
A type of popular American music, usually for piano, that arose
around 1900 and contributed to the emergence of jazz.
The pitch distance between the lowest note and the highest note
of an instrument, a composition, or an individual part.
The third principal section of a movement in sonata form whose function
is to resolve the harmonic conflicts set up in the exposition and
A flexible style of vocal delivery employed in opera, oratorio,
and cantata and tailored to the accents and rhythms of the text.
The compression of a complex, multi-stave score onto one or two
In wind instruments such as the clarinet and oboe, a small vibrating
element made of cane that serves as all (double reed) or part (single
reed) of the mouthpiece.
The relative location within the range of a voice or an instrument,
such as "the piercing upper register of the oboe. "
A move from a dissonance to a consonance.
(I) In music, a brief silence; (2) in musical notation, a sign indicating
such a silence.
In sonata form, the passage that leads from the harmonic instability
of the development to the stability of the recapitulation.
Playing a theme backward.
(1) The pattern in time created by the incidence and duration
of individual sounds; (2) used more loosely to refer to a particular
rhythm, for example, "a dotted rhythm." rhythm & blues (R&B)
A term coined in 1949 to describe the heavily rhythmic urban blues
cultivated mainly by Midwestern African-American musicians.
background The subdivisions of beats within a regular meter.
foreground The regular beats provided by meter.
The largest of the two instrumental groups in a Baroque concerto
ritardando Slowing down the tempo.
(Italian, "the little thing that returns") A recurring theme in
eighteenth-century arias and concertos.
form Baroque instrumental form based on recurrences of a ritornello.
Style of popular vocal music, often for dancing, that developed
in the United States and England during the 1950s, characterized
by a hard, driving duple meter and amplified instrumental accompaniment.
Currently the most widespread musical style in the world.
A musical form in which a main theme alternates with other themes
or sections, for example, A-B-A-C-A.
A simple sung canon in which all voices enter on the same note
after the same time interval.
"Robbed" time; the subtle pressing forward and holding back
the tempo in performance.
The capacity of a synthesizer to extrapolate from a single example
a homogeneous timbre over a wide pitch range.
An array of fixed, ordered pitches bounded by two notes an octave
apart. The common Western scales contain seven notes; in non-Western
cultures, scales may contain fewer or more than seven notes.
(Italian, "joke") A faster, often humorous transformation of a minuet,
introduced into symphonies by Beethoven.
The complete musical notation of a composition, especially for an
ensemble; the individual parts are lined up vertically.
The process of orchestration.
area In a movement in sonata form, the theme or group of themes
that follows the transition and establishes the new key in the exposition.
Same as half step.
(1) The repetition of a musical idea at progressively higher or
lower pitches; (2) a form of medieval chant.
On a synthesizer, programming a series of sounds.
The technique, introduced by Schoenberg, of basing a composition
on a series, or tone row. Boulez and others have extended serialism
to rhythm and timbre.
The interrelationship through time of the parts or sections
of a piece. Standardized shapes are commonly referred to as forms.
(1) In musical notation, a sign (#) indicating that the note
it precedes is to be played a half step higher; (2) the means of
designating particular notes, for example, F#.
meter A meter in which the main beats arc subdivided into twos,
such as 2/4 or 3/4.
("sung play") German folk or comic opera in which arias, ensembles,
and choruses arc interspersed with spoken dialogue.
(1) In musical notation, a curved line connecting notes that are
to be played legato; (2) in performance, the playing of legato.
A chamber work in several movements; in the Baroque, typically
for three parts (the continuo part normally requiring two instruments);
in later periods, for one or two instruments.
form A hybrid of Baroque ritornello form and sonata form often
used in the Classical concerto.
form A musical form or style, originating in the eighteenth
century, based on successive stages of stability, tension, and resolution;
the most influential form developed during the age of tonality.
form A synthesis of sonata and rondo forms, especially popular
in finales of Classical instrumental works.
cycle A collection of poems set to music and tied together by
mood or story line.
A general term for sound quality, either of a brief moment or of
an entire composition.
(1) The high woman's (or boy's) voice; (2)the highest voice
in a polyphonic texture.
A translation of the German Fortspinnung, in reference to the single-minded
use in Baroque music of a brief motive to generate a long, continuous
A vocal delivery, developed by Schoenberg, intermediate between
speech and song.
(1) In musical notation, a dot placed above a notehead to indicate
that it is to receive only about half its regular value; (2) in
performance, the pronounced separation of adjacent notes.
(plural, staves) In musical notation, the five horizontal lines
on which one or more voices are notated.
In vocal works, poetic units two lines or longer of equal length
and accent pattern, often sung to the same music.
In musical notation, the vertical line attached to a notehead.
On the organ, hand-operated levers that activate different means
of sound production, thereby varying the tone color.
(double, triple, quadruple) In string playing, the sounding
of two, three, or four strings at once.
In a fugue, beginning an entry of a subject before a previous entry
quartet (1) Ensemble consisting of two violins, viola, and cello;
(2) a work composed for this ensemble.
Family of bowed or plucked instruments in which thin strings are
stretched over a wooden frame.
form Vocal form in which each stanza of a poem is set to the
same music. structure A term often used in music to mean shape or
The result of the interaction among rhythm, melody, harmony, texture,
color, and shape that gives the music of a particular period or
composer its distinctiveness.
modulation In contemporary music, the shifting among discrete
styles (for example, Renaissance and Viennese Classicism) within
the same composition.
(1) The fourth degree of the diatonic scale- (2) the triad built
on this degree; (3) the key oriented around this degree.
The main theme of a fugue.
(I) A work consisting of a collection of dances, popular in the
Baroque; (2) an abbreviated version of a longer work, for example,
the suite from the film Star Wars.
(I)A style of jazz playing whose flexible, improvised rhythms
resist notation; (2) name used to describe big band jazz from the
1930s and 1940s. syllabic In plainchant, a style in which each syllable
of text receives a single note. symbolism French literary movement
of the late nineteenth century favoring suggestion and allusion
rather than realism or naturalism.
poem Same as tone Poem.
A large orchestral composition in several movements- a dominant
form of public music in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
syncopation The accenting, within a well-defined meter, of weaker
beats or portions of beats. synthesizer An electronic device that
can create a wide variety of sounds in response to the user's instructions.
A group of staves connected by a brace, indicating that they
are to be played simultaneously.
The end of a theme.
The holder to which the strings are attached at the lower end of
the body of a string instrument.
A duple-meter dance from Argentina that was popular in Paris
in the early twentieth century.
(Italian, "time") The speed of a piece of music, usually reckoned
by the rate of its beats. tenor (1) The high male voice; (2) the
second-lowest voice in a four-part texture; (3) the long-held voice
in a medieval organum.
form A three-part musical structure (A-B-A) based on statement
(A), contrast (B), and repetition (A).
The musical weave of a composition, such as homophonic or contrapuntal
anticipation The Romantic practice of introducing fragments
of a theme before presenting it in its entirety.
transformation A Romantic technique that preserves the essential
pitch identity of a theme while altering its rhythm or character.
A self-contained melodic idea on which musical works are frequently
and variations Popular form in which a theme is followed by
variations that preserve the phrase lengths and harmonization of
the theme while varying its rhythms, melodies, and textures.
A descriptive term for a song or an instrumental movement in which
there is no large scale repetition.
(tam-burr) Same as tone color.
signature The two numbers that appear in a score immediately
after the clefs. The upper number indicates how many beats each
measure is to receive; the lower number indicates the value of the
note that receives each beat.
An improvisatory style of keyboard music especially popular during
tonal A harmonic system in which triads are arranged hierarchically
around a central triad called the tonic.
A more general term for pitch or note.
duster The simultaneous sounding of adjacent pitches.
color (timbre) The acoustical properties of a sound, including
its envelope and the distribution of overtones above the fundamental.
tone poem (symphonic poem) A piece of orchestral program music in
one long movement. tone row In serial music, the ordering of all
twelve notes of the chromatic scale to serve as the basis of a composition.
(1) The first degree, or central note, of the diatonic scale;
(2) the triad built on this degree; (3) the key oriented around
this degree. total serialist The application of serial techniques
to all aspects of musical style.
An arrangement, usually for a solo instrument such as a piano,
of an orchestral or vocal work.
In a movement in sonata form, the unstable stage in an exposition
that undertakes the modulation from the tonic to the new key.
transposition To move a passage (or section or entire work) from
one pitch level to another.
clef The clef (@) in the upper staff that shows pitches mostly
above middle C.
In string playing, repetitions of a tone produced by rapid alternation
between up-and-down strokes of the bow.
A chord consisting of three pitches constructed around intervals
of interlocking thirds (on the white notes, this amounts to every
Musical ornament that consists of two notes a half step or a whole
step apart played in rapid alternation.
(1) A work for three performers; (2) the second section of a Baroque
dance such as a minuet.
sonata A Baroque sonata for two treble instruments and continuo,
generally requiring four performers.
meter The regular grouping of beats into threes, as in a waltz.
The grouping of three notes per beat, usually in contrast to the
standard grouping of two notes per beat.
A dissonant interval consisting of three whole steps, known
in medieval music as "the devil in music."
An addition to the plainchant, usually in the form of new text
set to either existing or new music.
trouveres Poet/musicians, usually aristocratic, active in
southern and northern France during the Middle Ages.
A less formal term for a melody, especially a catchy melody.
(Italian, "all") The full ensemble.
cadence A fourteenth-century cadence, closely associated with
Francesco Landini, in which the melody proceeds from the seventh
to the sixth degree of the modal scale before rising a third to
the tonic note.
counterpoint (non-imitative counterpoint) A musical texture
in which independent voices of different character compete for attention.
A descriptive term for music sung or played at the same pitch by
two different voices or instruments.
pulse A rhythmic technique in which meter is replaced by a focus
on the shortest rhythmic value.
A weak or unaccented beat that anticipates a strong downbeat.
(1) Generally, an altered version of a rhythm, motive, or theme;
(2) in theme and variations, each regular section following the
theme, in which the phrase lengths and harmonization remain true
(or close) to the theme while the rhythms, melodies, and textures
A descriptive term for a realistic, often sensational, type
of late-Romantic Italian opera, whose disreputable characters are
caught up in lust, greed, betrayal, or revenge.
dramas A sung monophonic play presented in the Middle Ages by
roving minstrels, who freely mixed secular texts, instrumental music,
One of two sections (verse and bridge) of many American popular
songs, especially common in the sequence verse-verse-bridge-verse.
On string instruments, small but rapid fluctuations in pitch
used to intensify a sound.
In a composition, a focus on exceptional technical demands; in a
performance, a focus on exceptional technical display.
A performer with exceptional technical skills.
(1) The human voice; (2) an independent line in any polyphonic
bass A Baroque pattern in which a bass part moves steadily in
A popular nineteenth-century dance in moderate to fast triple
noise Sounds containing every audible frequency at approximately
the same intensity.
step (whole tone) An interval equal to two half steps.
scale An exotic non-Western scale employed by Debussy and other
A family of instruments, constructed largely of wood, that produce
sound by means of blowing air across an aperture or through a vibrating
painting A technique that became prominent in the Renaissance,
in which musical figures are used to represent specific images-falling,
sighing, weeping, rejoicing, and so forth.