MUSICAL TERMINOLOGY
100 terms for both quizzes in January & May


A TEMPO
the original tempo
ACCELERANDO:
gradually increase in speed
ACCENT:
to place emphasis on a note
ACCIDENTAL:
a sharp, flat or natural sign which raises or lowers pitch one half step
AGITATO:
agitated
ALLA BREVE:
cut time 2/2
ALLARGANDO:
to slow down and stretch
ALLEGRETTO:
a lively tempo, faster than andante, yet slower than allegro
ALLEGRO:
a lively, quick tempo
ANDANTE:
a walking tempo
ARPEGGIO:
a broken chord--notes of chord played separately
ARTICULATION:
the clear and distinct pronunciation of a pitch--nature of initial attack of pitch
BAR LINE:
a line that begins and ends a measure
BEAT:
a unit of musical rhythm and pulse
BRASS:
Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba
CANTABILE:
in a singing style
CHORD:
3 or more notes played simultaneously
CODA:
an ending added (tail) to the end of a piece
COMMON TIME:
4 beats per measure, quarter note gets the beat
CON
with
CON MOTO:
with motion
CONDUCTOR:
one who rehearses and leads the ensemble during performance
CRESC. e DIM.:
increase in volume, then decrease
CRESC. POCO A POCO:
increase volume little by little
CRESCENDO:
gradually increase in volume
CUT TIME:
another name for alla breve
D.C. al CODA:
go back to the beginning, play the coda section at the coda sign
D.S. al CODA:
go back to the sign, then play the coda section at the coda sign
DA CAPO:
the beginning
DECRESCENDO:
gradually decrease in volume
DEL SEGNO:
the sign
DIMINUENDO:
decrease in volume
DIVISI:
divided
DOLCE:
sweetly
ENHARMONIC:
sounds the same, written differently
ESPRESSIVO:
with expression
FERMATA:
a hold or pause
FIRST ENDING:
the final measure(s) of a section before it is repeated
FORTE PIANO:
a strong attack, then immediately soft
FORTE:
loud
FORTISSIMO:
very loud
G.P.:
grand pause--the entire ensemble is silent
HARMONY:
the chordal structure of a piece
INTERVAL:
the vertical distance between two pitches
INTONATION:
accuracy of playing/singing in tune
KEY SIGNATURE:
the sign that tells you what key you are in
LARGO:
slow tempo
LEGATO:
smooth and connected
LEGGIERE:
play lightly, often with spiccato articulation
LEGER LINES:
lines which extend the staff higher or lower
LENTO:
very slow tempo
MAESTOSO:
majestically
MAJESTIC:
regal, slow and steady
MARCATO:
marked
MARCH:
a style of literature most often associated with the military, usually in 2/4 or 6/8
MEASURE:
the space between two bar lines
MELODY:
a succession of tones that have rhythm, pitch and direction
MENO MOSSO:
less motion
METER:
a fixed pattern of beats
MEZZO FORTE:
medium loud
MEZZO PIANO:
medium soft
MODERATO:
moderately fast tempo
MOLTO ESPRESSIVO:
with much expression
MOLTO RIT.:
greatly slowing
MOLTO:
much
NON TROPPO
not too much
NOTE:
a tone of definite pitch and duration
PERCUSSION:
Snare, Bass Drum, Cymbals, Timpani, and Mallets
PHRASE:
a musical sentence
PIANISSIMO:
very soft
PIANO:
soft
PIU MOSSO:
more motion
POCO A POCO:
little by little
POCO ACCEL.:
to increase tempo slightly
PRACTICE:
working individually to develop and improve skill
RALLENTANDO:
gradually slowing
REPEAT SIGN:
tells you to replay the same passage
RHYTHM:
an arrangement of successive short and long sounds according to the beat
RITARD:
to gradually slow down
SECOND ENDING:
measure(s) connecting a repeated section to the next section, and often is the final ending
SENZA:
without
sfzp:
sforzando-piano--hard attack, then suddenly soft
SILENCE:
the absence of sound
SOLI:
the entire section playing together
SOLO:
one instrument performing alone
SORDINO:
muted
SOSTENUTO:
sustained
SPICCATO
short and detached--bow lifts off string between notes
STACCATO:
short and detached
STAFF:
a series of 5 lines and 4 spaces on which music is written
STRINGENDO:
a tightening and increasing of musical tension by hurrying the tempo
STRINGS:
violin, viola, violoncello, string bass, harp
SUBITO
suddenly
SYNCOPATION:
accents on the weak beats of the measure
TEMPO:
speed of the pulse/beat
TEMPO PRIMO:
the first tempo
TENUTO:
to lengthen a pitch
TUTTI:
all performers playing at the same time
VIVACE:
very lively and very fast
WOODWINDS:
Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Clarinet, Saxophone