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Music Terminlogy

Vocabulary for Band

Accelerando Gradually growing faster
Accidental Alteration of a note from the key signature until the next bar line
Ad libitum at pleasure
a due for two parts
affetuoso ternderly, with feeling
alla breve ( 2/2 time, cut time
Allargando getting slower and louder
Amoroso with love, warm feeling
animato/ con anima lively, animated
appassionato/passione passionate, fervent
Assai much, very
a tempo return to the original tempo
attacca continue without pause
bravura great technical skill, virtuosity
brillante sparkling, spirited
cadenza a brilliant highly technical solo
cadence the close melodic or harmonic phrase
calmando/calmato quieting down
cantando/cantabile in singing style
capriccioso fanciful, freely
coda a concluding passage added to the form proper
con with
con brio with vigor
con forza with force
con fuoco with fire
con sordino with mute
con spirito with spirit
crescendo becoming louder
da capo (D.C.) from the beginning
dal segno (D.S.) from the sign %
decrescendo becoming softer
diatonic notes within a given scale
diminuendo (decresc.) becoming softer
divisi divided parts where there is normally one
dolce sweet, gentle
doppio movimento twice as fast
double flat lower by one full step
double sharp raise by one full step
dynamics the level of loudness
pianississimo (ppp) very very soft
pianissimo (pp) very soft
piano (p) soft
mezzo piano (mp) medium soft
mezzo forte (mf) medium loud
forte (f) loud
fortissimo (ff) very loud
fortississimo (fff) very very floud
e, ed, et and
espressivo with feeling, with expression
etude a study or exercise focusing on a particular technical or musical problem
fermata a pause or hold
finale last movement
fine the end
forzando a strong accent
giocoso humorous, playful
giusto exact, usual tempo
glissando a glide from one note to the next
grazioso graceful
interval pitch difference between two notes
key signature sharps or flats placed at the beginning of a selection indicating its key
largamente broadly
legato smooth, even without breaks between notes
l'istesso tempo at the same tempo
loco return to normal position
maestoso majestic
marcato accented, stressed
marcia march
meno less
molto very much
morendo fading away
mosso/moto moved, motion
non no, do not
nuance subtle shading in style
ossia an alternate version
pesante weighty
piu more
pochissimo as little as possible
poco a poco little by little
pomposo stately, pompous
quasi almost, as if
rallentando (rall.) becoming slower
ritardando (ritard. or rit.) becoming slower
ritenuto (riten.) immediately slower
rinforzando (rfz) a sudden accent
rubato free use of accel. and rit. within a measure without altering the duration of the measure as a whole
sans/senza without
scherzando playfully
segue continue without pausing
sempre always, throughout
sforzando (sfz) a sudden accent
simile in the same manner
soli a section solo, a group of soloists
solo one performer
sonore resounding loud
sordino mute
sostenuto (sost) sustained
staccato detached
stringendo (string) growing faster
subito (sub) suddenly, at once
tacet be silent
tempo rate of speed
grave solemn, very very slow
largo very slow
adagio, lento, larghetto slow
andante moderately slow
andantino slightly faster than andante
moderato moderate, neither fast or slow
allegretto moderately fast
allegro fast lively
vivo, vivace very fast and intense
presto the fastest conventional tempo
prestissimo as fast as possible
tenuto (ten) held, sustained for full value
timbre tone, color
tranquillo quiet peaceful
trill (tr) a rapid alteration between the written note and the diatonic second above it
troppo too much
tutti all, with all performers
un, uno, uno one
unison together on the same part or in octaves