|a||at; to; by; for; in|
eg: a tempo = in time (back to the previous speed).
usually in choral music
|a piacere||at pleasure|
The performer is not bound to follow the given rhythm exactly.
An accent is an emphasis on one note. Accents come in three types: dynamic, agogic, and tonic. This is the accent symbol >.
Symbol used to raised or lower the pitch of a note by one half step. Eg: sharps, flats, and naturals.
|ad libitum||ad lib.||at choice; freely|
A passage may be performed freely. / An instrument in a score may be omitted.
|al; alla||in the manner of|
eg: alla marcia = in the style of a march
|alla breve||with a minim beat|
eg: con anima = with spirit
|animando||becoming more lively|
|arco||with the bow|
An instruction to string players to use the bow.
|arioso||like an aria|
Play in the style of an aria (singing)
|arpeggiation||Playing the notes of a chord one after the other.|
eg: allegro assai = very fast
|attacca||go straight on|
Indicates an immediate move to the next section of music.
The vertical lines drawn across the staff to indicate the measures in a musical composition.
|beam||A broad, straight line connecting two or more eighth notes.|
|beat||The steady pulse of music. Beats form the basis of sense of musical time.|
Indicates the repetition of a short passage.
Blue tones ('worried' tones) are tones that are between the diatonic and flatted thirds and sevenths, which characterize the blues scales.
A major scale with a flat third and seventh. It must be remembered that the flat third and seventh were sometimes 'worried' notes, thus their pitches did not always correspond to equal-tempered tuning.
A modern blues style created for instrumental application. Boogie-woogie is characterized by adaptation of the ground bass principle - a repetitious bass figure that suggests the blues chord progression.
eg: con brio = with vigour
|calando||getting softer; dying away|
Usually includes slowing down
|canon||A melody that can be sung against itself in imitation. Also called a round.|
|cantabile||in a singing style|
|capo||the beginning||literally head|
|capriccioso||in a whimsical or fanciful style|
|chord||A combination of three or more pitches sounding at the same time.|
A texture in which the musical material is concentrated into chords with relatively little melodic activity.
|circle of fifths|
A clockface arrangement of the twelve pitches in the order of the number of accidentals in the key signature.
|col; colla; colle||with the|
eg: colla voce = with the voice
|come||as; similar to|
eg: come prima = as before
|common time - c|
Another name for a 4/4 meter signature, sometimes written as a large capital C in place of a meter signature.
eg: tempo comodo = at a comfortable speed
|compound division||The division of the beat into three equal parts.|
|compound meter||A meter in which the beats have a compound division.|
eg: con moto = with movement
A combination of sounds producing a feeling of stability, or of little desire for resolution.
|crescendo||cresc.||gradually getting louder|
Another name for the 2/2 meter signature, it is written as a large capital C with a line drawn vertically through it.
|da capo||D.C.||from the beginning|
An instruction to repeat from the beginning.
|dal segno||D.S.||from the sign|
An instruction to repeat from the sign.
|decrescendo||decresc.||gradually getting softer|
One of the notes in a scale. Degrees are usually numbered starting with the tonic.
Any one of the common scales made of whole and half steps in a particular pattern. The white keys on a piano instrument from a diatonic scale.
|diminuendo||dim.||gradually getting softer|
A combination of sounds that produce harsh, discordant results, and increase the desire for resolution.
eg: dolcissimo = as sweet as possible
eg: doloroso = sorrowful
|dominant||The fifth scale degree of a diatonic scale.|
|doppio movimento||twice as fast|
A symbol written to the left of the note head, which lowers the pitch by a whole step. It is double the effect of a single flat. The symbol looks like two flats connected.
Written to the left of a note, The double sharp raises the pitch of a note by a whole step. It is double the effect of a single sharp. The symbol looks like an X.
|duple meter||A meter that consists of two beats.|
Often indicated with an accent sign, This is an accent created when one note is louder than surrounding notes.
|enharmonic||Two tones having the same pitch but different spelling.|
|expressive, with expression, with feeling|
Often used in conjunction with "da capo" or "dal segno" to indicate where to end the piece after repeating. eg: al fine = to the end
The curved shaded line extending from the head of a stem used to indicate and eighth or shorter note.
|fortepiano||fp||loud then immediately soft|
|forza; forzando||fz||force; strongly accented|
Keyboard music is frequently rotated using this combination of the treble and bass clefs. The two staves are arranged treble over bass. A long, curved, thick bar connects the two staves.
The smallest interval on the standard keyboard. The interval between two adjacent keys (incl. both black and white keys) is a half step.