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RCM History 2

a set of terms for the RCM Music History 2 exam

Monody Meaning "one voice" , a type of music developed by the Florentine Camerata. Consists of a solo voice with simple accompaniment. The voice imitates the natural rhythms of speech and this concept was favoured in early Baroque operas.
trouveres/troubadours A group of poets and musicians who were active in northern France between the 11th and 13th centuries. Many of these musicians were of the upper aristocratic classes, and they often composed their own music in addition to performing.
chorale a hymn of the Lutheran church, usually written for four part harmony; in part developed by Martin Luther during the Renaissance.
piano trio A type of chamber music consisting of a piano, violin, and cello for the instrumentation. The term also refers to music written for this instrumentation.
word painting A musical technique where the music is used to imitate the emotion, action, or description of the text; also used in poetry and other writing, but in music it refers to music which depicts the words.
drone A note performed throughout a composition (or section) as a sustaining bass note. On the vielle (or hurdy-gurdy), melody notes are produced on one or two strings while another string plays this; common in Medieval music.
string quintet An orchestral ensemble that consists of piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass. The term also refers to music written for this instrumentation.
ground bass A short, repeating phrase played by the lower instrumental voice(s) while the upper voices remain independent. The technique was popular during the Baroque period.
fugal texture comes from Latin meaning "flight"; refers to a passage in a composition that features independent melodic lines. There are entrances by the subject followed by an answer.
bas Meaning "low" in French, the word is used to describe hand-held musical instruments from the Middle Ages and Renaissance that are soft and therefore were typically used indoors.
haut Meaning "high" in French, the word is used to describe hand-held musical instruments from the Middle Ages and Renaissance that are loud and were typically used outdoors.
cadenza An improvised and ornamented passage performed in an instrumental concerto by the soloist, near the end of a movement of section. Arias (vocal solo pieces) can also feature this near the end of the piece.
sinfonia this Italian word refers to an orchestral interlude that was used between the scenes in early Baroque operas; were not recurring, but rather short pieces of unique music.
virelai Originated from the Old French word meaning "to turn or twist". One of three fixed poetic forms frequently used by Ars nova composers, including Machaut. The form consists of ABBA and generally featured a secular text.
opera buffa The 18th century Italian version of comic opera. The addition of comic stories to opera was part of the transition towards operas that were meant to be simple entertainment.
sonata cycle The term which describes the multi-movement structure found in sonatas, string quartets, symphonies, concertos, and other large-scale works of the Classical (and Romantic) eras.
stile rappresentativo meaning "theatrical style" in Italian, it is a dramatic recitative style developed in the 16th century in which the melody moves freely over a foundation of simple chords.
clausula Latin for "ending", a clearly defined section of music that was frequently used in polyphonic music of the late 12th and early 13th centuries. It is similar to a phrase in Classical music.
string trio Three solo instruments( usually two violins and a cello, or one violinist, one viola player, and a cello) performed together as a chamber ensemble. The term also refers to music written for this instrumentation
Italian madrigal a vocal genre that first developed in Italy during the Renaissance. They are generally written for four to six voices that may or may not have instrumental accompaniment.
double exposition In many Classical concertos, this term refers to the twofold statement of the first theme, once by the orchestra and then again by the soloist.
Agnus Dei meaning "Lamb of God" in Latin, it is the fifth and final part of the Ordinary Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. The text is usually from the book of John (in the New Testament section of the Bible).
nonsense syllables English madrigals are festive and humorous, and as a result they introduced syllables with no meaning such as "fa la la."
sonata Italian for "sound", it is a Classical instrumental genre in several movements to be performed by a soloist or an ensemble. As it developed, it became longer and adopted the sonata-allegro form for the first movement.
Gloria The Latin phrase meaning "Glory to God in the heavens" begins the second item of the Ordinary Mass.
sonata-allegro form The form generally used for the opening movement of the Classical sonata, consisting of three sections: the exposition, development, and recapitulation, with a coda at the end.
aria a song for single voice, with or without accompaniment. It first developed in Baroque operas. There are generally two contrasting sections, with a decorated repeat for the first section.
triplum The third from lowest part, or voice, in a motet. By the late 13th century, it was often written in quicker time values than the other voices.
pavane a French Renaissance dance that was frequently used as the first in a series of dances. A slow, stately court dance in duple meter that was popular throughout Europe.
string quartet A group of four solo instrumentalists usually consisting of a first and second violinist, violist, and cellist who perform together as a string ensemble. The term also refers to music written for this instrumentation.
chorale prelude A short Baroque organ composition in which a traditional chorale melody was embellished. It was usually intended as an introduction before the congregation would begin to sing a hymn(or chorale).
arioso a recitative with the lyrical quality of an aria but usually without the same structure (ternary). This form of singing has existed since the Baroque era.
empfindsamkeit Meaning "sensitive" in German, it is an expressive musical style. It refers to music with elements of surprise, abrupt harmonic changes, modulations, suspenseful pauses, changes of texture, and sudden dynamic shifts.
ronde the French word for "round" which refers to the fact that the participants danced in a circle or a line. It is a Renaissance dance which is associated with the outdoors.
rounded binary form A version of binary form with a restatement of the "A" section which ends on a harmony other than tonic, requiring the "B" section to return the music back to the tonic. The difference between this and ternary is the treatment of the cadences.
melismatic from the Greek word meaning "song"; refers to a type of text setting when a word is stretched over a series of notes. This style is often found in chants.
chorus An ensemble of mixed singers who perform together in a large-scale vocal work, such as an opera or oratorio. Also, a composition written for such an ensemble.
menuet and trio A form which uses a stately triple meter and is often the third movement in the Classical sonata cycle.
rhythmic modes A Medieval concept which led to rhythmic patterns being regulated by approximately 1250. This system is essentially the first stage of the history of rhythm.
monophonic texture Music that is written for a single melodic line-the music may have different voices and/or instruments, but they all perform the same music at the same time. Typical of early chants.
consorts of instruments A 16th century group of instruments from the same family (such as recorders or shawms), but in different sizes. The sounds therefore blended together well.
responsorial singing A type of singing in which a soloist(s) alternates with the choir. The style often consists of a verse for the soloist, then imitated by the choir.
chromaticism Any music or chord that contains notes that do not belong to the diatonic scale.
bridge A transitional passage which connects two sections of a composition. A common device in the exposition and recapitulation sections of a sonata-allegro movement, generally used between the first and second themes.
recitativo secco A type of recitative which features sparse accompaniment and moves with great freedom, reflecting the natural cadence of speech. Means "dry" in Italian.
syllabic The type of text setting which was common in Gregorian chants.
ballade French for "a dancing song" and generally contains three stanzas.It is a poetic style and chanson genre from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, usually with a text related to courtly love.
improvisation The spontaneous performance of music without previous preparation or written notes.
duplum From the Latin word meaning "two". In 11th century organums it was the part above the tenor.
concerto A composition that shows off a specific instrument (or instruments), with the orchestra used as accompaniment. Popular instruments were the violin and piano.
opera seria A large Italian work of the 18th and 19th centuries that had a heroic or tragic storyline.
polyphonic texture A style of composition that has many voices, each with its own melody, thus creating rich sound.
ripieno Italian, originally from the Latin plenus, or "full". It is the instrumental ensemble in the Baroque concerto grosso; the opposite of a solo passage.
High Mass The celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass in which the items are sung, distinguishing it from the low Mass, in which all the prayers are read or recited without music.
ostinato Italian for "unceasing" and refers to a short melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic pattern that is repeated throughout an entire composition or some portion of a composition.
strophic form A song structure in which every verse of the text is sung to the same musical tune.
neumes A symbol that specified the pitch during the Middle Ages before notation became standardized.
Rococo A term applied to French(and some German) compositions of the 18th century, implying a light, airy, graceful and ornamented style, in response to the more rigid lines and complex textures of the Baroque era.
symphony Greek for "sounding together". By the Classical era, the term applied to a large composition for orchestra, generally in three or four movements.
libretto Italian for "little book", a printed copy of the words to a large-scale vocal work.
scherzo Italian for "jest", a composition in A-B-A form, usually in triple meter. In the early 17th century, it was a piece of playful character, with animated rhythm. During the Classical era, Beethoven used this in the third movement of his sonata cycle.
da capo aria A lyric song in ternary form, commonly found in operas, cantatas and oratorios.
English Madrigal A popular Renaissance vocal genre originating in Italy. Subject matter was usually light-hearted having word painting as well as harmonic and rhythmic contrast.
Credo Latin for "I believe" and is the title for the third movement of the Ordinary Mass.
stile concitato Italian for "agitated style". Monteverdi gave this term to a musical style which expresses anger and agitation. Musical effects such as rapid repeated notes symbolized emotions such as passion.
branle From an Old French word, meaning "to shake". It is a country dance that was popular during the Renaissance. Danced by a group of couples, some dancing in a line and some in a circle.
Ars nova Latin for "new art", it refers to a musical style of the 14th century. During this period, musical themes were increasingly transformed from religious to secular.
embellishment An ornamentation: notes, usually of short duration, are added to the main melody of a composition to decorate or ornament the melody. These notes may be either written down by the composer, or improvised by the performer.
cantus firmus Latin for "fixed melody"; the basis of polyphonic compositions during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The tune was taken from a Gregorian chant and would move very slowly underneath more rapid vocal or instrumental lines above it.
oratorio Latin for "a place to pray"; a large scale vocal, unstaged, dramatic composition originating in the 17th century. The text or libretto was usually based on religious subjects.
Motetus The Medieval term for the second voice of the motet also used to describe the entire composition.
recitativo accompagnato An accompanied vocal solo found in large scale vocal genres such as opera, cantatas, and oratorios.
theme and variations A style of composition that first presents a basic theme and then develops and alters that theme in successive statements, using techniques such as varied instrumentation, tempo, register and rhythm. The second movement of the Classical sonata cycle.
toccata Italian for "touched"; an 18th century fantasia-like composition for keyboard instrument. It features virtuosic playing, with rapid runs, large chords, and free style.
saltarello Italian for "little hope" or "jump". An Italian dance dating back to the 14th century which was popular until the Baroque era. The dance is in a quick 3/4 or 6/8 time, mostly in triplets, with a hop step at the beginning of each measure.
Baroque dance suite A set of dances containing an optional prelude, followed by the Allemande, the Courante, the Sarabande, the Intermezzi,and the Gigue.
musica ficta Refers to notes that a modern performer would change by a semitone when playing Medieval music; these alterations are not written into the manuscript.
opera A musical drama complete with libretto and usually sung throughout. It is a combination of music, drama, scenery, costumes, dance, etc., which creates a complete art form.
double An old name for a variation used mainly by Baroque composers including Handel.
gradual The fourth item of the Proper Mass. The text comes primarily from the Psalms and melodies are generally melismatic and responsorial.
binary form Two-part(A-B) structure of music; usually each part is repeated.
estampie One of the oldest surviving purely instrumental forms from the 13th and 14th centuries. Constructed in three to seven separate sections called puncta, each repeated immediately with two closes, the first called ouvert, and the second called clos.
ritornello form A short recurring instrumental passage in a Baroque concerto, particularly in a tutti section.
monothematic A sonata form movement that is based upon a single theme, rather than a contrast between two different thematic groups.
solo concerto A composition that showcases a specific instrument(s), with the orchestra used as accompaniment.
galliard French for "merry", it is a lively Renaissance dance in triple meter usually followed and complementing the pavane.
neumatic A text setting found in chants, one syllable of text given to one character. In comparison, syllabic texture is one note per syllable, and melismatic is many notes per syllable.
imitation Refers to the repetition in a second voice or part of a theme, motif, or phrase presented by a first voice or part.
rondeau Medieval and Renaissance style of courtly love song. The definitive characteristic of this term was its structure: A-B-a-A-a-b-A-B.
chordal declamation A popular technique in the 15th and 16th centuries. All the parts sing in identical rhythms, producing homorhythmic texture.
Mass proper The type of musical work used in the Roman Catholic church where chants and prayers vary from day to day throughout the Church year according to the particular liturgical occasion (Easter, Christmas, etc.)
Mass Ordinary The type of musical work used in the Roman Catholic church where the chants and prayers remain the same throughout the year: Kyrie eleison; Gloria in excelsis Deo; Credo; Sanctus Benedictus; Agnus Dei; Ita missa est.
Rocket Theme A technique developed by the Mannheim orchestra in Germany during the 18th century. A rapid upward arpeggio over a large range, combined with a crescendo, which became popular during the Classical era.
modes A series of notes into which the octave is divided according to specific systems. These evolved by the 11th century. Early examples include Ionian, Dorian, Aeolian, etc (The major and minor scales are also types of these).
piano quintet A chamber group which usually consists of a piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.
plainchant (or plainsong) Also known as "Gregorian chant", it is one of the earliest surviving styles of music in Western Europe. A prayer set to music with monophonic texture and conjunct melodies.
polytextuality When several texts are used simultaneously in a piece; can also mean several parts singing different words at the same time in the same language.
organum Refers to the earliest type of polyphonic music used in the 12th and 13th centuries; developed from the practice of adding voices above a chant (cantus firmus).
tenor From the Italian word meaning "to hold". In the Middle Ages it was the foundations or sustaining part or a polyphonic composition. Generally the lowest voice in a piece such as an organum or motet.
basse danse A French Renaissance court dance that was graceful and stately, without rapid steps and leaps of other dances from that era. A dance that proceeded around a hall in a gentle, dignified manner, led by the highest ranking couple.
canon From the Greek word meaning "reed", therefore meaning something straight or something ruled or measured. A strict counterpoint in which each voice exactly imitates the previous voice at a fixed distance.
ordre Refers to a Baroque dance suite, which had a fixed set of four dances and several dances.
prelude Refers to both an instrumental composition intended to introduce a larger composition, as well as a short composition for a keyboard instrument.
ornamentation Decorative notes of short duration added to compositions (by virtually any instrument) to emphasize certain notes and to add flavor to the composition.
fantasia Refers to an instrumental composition in which a composer allows his imagination to dictate the form and organization of a composition.
Kyrie Meaning "Lord, have mercy" in Greek, it is the first movement of the Mass Ordinary and the only movement that contains Greek text.
chorale variations A Baroque organ composition wherein a congregational hymn is the basis for a set of variations.
concerto grosso Italian for "large ensemble", it refers to a Baroque style of music in which a small group of solo instruments plays in opposition to a larger ensemble.
a cappella Italian for "in the chapel style", it refers to choral or vocal music performed without instrumental accompaniment.
concertino Italian for "little ensemble", it describes a solo group of instruments within the Baroque concerto grosso.
Sanctus Latin for "Holy", this is the oldest item for the Ordinary Mass following the Offertory.
rondo An 18th century term, referring to a form of composition in which there are usually three sections, arranged: A-B-A-C-A, for example.
cornetto A Renaissance wind instrument of the brass family, yet made of wood, with finger holes similar to those of a recorder, and has a curved shape.
dulcimer A stringed instrument consisting of a wooden frame over which several strings are stretched. The strings are then struck with hammers.
vielle A French stringed instrument consisting of a wooden frame over which several strings are stretched. The strings are then struck with hammers. Popular in Europe by the 1600's and can be classified as a Bas instrument.
viol A stringed musical instrument, pre-violin but larger with six strings that are struck with a bow. The neck has frets, used for stopping the strings. The word also refers in general to any bowed stringed instruments that preceded the modern violin family.
oboe d'amore Italian for "oboe of love", it is a member of the modern oboe family with a soprano/alto range that is somewhat gentler with lower notes that are dark, full and rich.
taille An older term which refers to the tenor part, usually performed by the viola.
recorder An indoor (Bas) wind instrument that was popular from the Middle Ages to the Baroque era. It is a simple instrument related to the flute sounded by blowing into one end and the pitch is adjusted by covering finger holes.
harpsichord Early stringed keyboard instrument that produces tones by plucking strings with quills rather than by striking them with hammers (as in the modern piano). The range of this instrument is generally about four octaves.
viola da gamba Refers to a family of bowed stringed instruments (Bas, or indoor) popular during the Renaissance. This family is the ancestor of the modern double-bass. The tone was softer and sweeter than that of the modern violin family.
Violoncello The third lowest member of the stringed instruments. It is as expressive but with a richer, deeper, tone.
clavier French and German word referring to any type of keyboard instrument - harpsichord, clavichord, or piano.
nakers Small Medieval kettledrums (copper shells with calf or goat skin heads tensioned by hemp cord). The modern equivalent is the timpani.
psaltry One of the ancestors of the dulcimer. A Medieval instrument, consisting of a soundbox over which a varying number of strings were stretched-these strings were plucked or bowed; similar to a zither and classified as a Haut instrument.
oboe da caccia Italian for "hunting horn", a Baroque instrument from the oboe family. It has an alto/tenor range pitched a fifth below the oboe.
clavichord A small keyboard instrument popular in the Renaissance and with J.S. Bach during the Baroque era. Strings are struck on this instrument therefore the volume of the clavichord is very soft.
sackbut An early English brass instrument used during the Renaissance. It is the predecessor to the trombone, and is classified as a Haut ("outdoor") instrument.
regal Refers to a portable organ popular during the Medieval and Renaissance eras in Germany, England and Italy. Sound is produced by reeds, and it was often small enough to be folded up like a book and carried.
lute Popular in the Middle Age and Renaissance periods. It is a plucked string instrument of the guitar family, with a short, fretted neck, rounded back, and a large body something between oval- and pear-shaped.
cembalo An old name for a harpsichord. Thus, it is a keyboard instrument, popular during the Baroque era.
tabor A small drum that has strap by which it is suspended from the players shoulders. Played with the pipe by one performer since the pipe has only three holes and can be played with one hand, leaving the other hand available to play a drum.
clavecin French word for "harpsichord" or spinet. The harpsichord was most popular during the late Renaissance and Baroque periods.
shawm A popular Middle Ages and Renaissance instrument that was used from the 13th to 17th centuries. It has a double reed and a particularly loud, rough, nasal tone. It was made in seven sizes, preceded the oboe, classified as an outdoor (haut) instrument.
virginal A keyboard instrument related to the harpsichord, popular during the 16th and 17th centuries in England. It has one set of strings and jacks and one keyboard.
crumhorn A Medieval and Renaissance wind instrument related to the recorder, but with an encased double reed. It is sounded by blowing into a mouthpiece, not by placing the lips directly on the reeds.
positive From the Latin "ponere", meaning "to place". A small, single manual (or keyboard) organ which was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries though developed much earlier. Consists of a keyboard, bellows and stops with short legs for a table top.
rebec A Medieval and Renaissance bowed string instrument (originating in Arabia), either pear shaped or long and narrow and usually three strings. It was used mainly in secular and dance music from the 13th century onwards and is classified as a Bas instrument.
portative A small Medieval organ operated by only one person and small enough to be carried or set on a table. It usually had one set of pipes and was often used for processional music. It was strapped over the performer's shoulder.
Franco-Flemish school Headed by Josquin Desprez. It was the third of the three Netherlands Schools. These composer's were interested in creating new techniques within the popular existing forms, as opposed to inventing new form types.
Christoph Willibald Gluck A Baroque composer known for his opera reforms, including the need to make opera more realistic and reflect genuine human emotions. Created a more international style of opera, taking elements from German, Italian and French operas.
Fiztwilliam Virginal Book The largest manuscript collection of English keyboard music surviving form the 16th to 17th centuries. It contains repertoire of an early 17th century amateur virginal player. Musical forms range from contrapuntal to spontaneous character pieces.
Pope Gregory I A pope of the Roman Catholic church from 590 until his death in 604. He is important because he preserved chants from the church. He codified and catalogued many chants.
Danseyre A collection of compositions modified by Tylman Susato most likely published for wealthy amateur musicians rather than professional dance musicians.
Martin Luther The founder of the Lutheran church which broke away from the Catholic Church. He played an important role in music, helping to create the modern Christian hymn so to bring the message of the scriptures to congregations. Translated the Bible into German.
Hildegard of Bingen A visionary, a poet, a composer, a naturalist, a healer and theologian. Even though she received no formal training in music, her talent and motivation drove her to write 77 chants as well as the first ever musical play, Ordo Virtutum.
Sturm und drang German for "storm and stress" the term refers to both a style of composition and a movement in German literature and art that relished tormented, terrified, and irrational feelings.
Musica enchiriadis An anonymous treatise meaning "music manual". It contains the first known polyphonic notation. It was a manual for singers and is one of the major musical documents of the Middle Ages.
Le nuove musiche Meaning "the new music", it was a musical collection written by Italian composer (and Florentine Camerata member) Giulio Caccini in 1602. The book contained solo songs using monody.
Protestant Reformation Begun with Martin Luther, led to Protestant Christians recreating worship by significantly modifying the liturgy from the Roman Catholic traditions. Protestant congregations did not use the Mass, for example.
Mannheim school Became a great musical centre in Germany during the mid-18th century. Several musical innovations took place there and were named after it, including the ___________ roll, rocket, and crescendo.
Florentine Camerata A group of artists, writers, and musicians who sought to revive Greek drama, which developed into the birth of opera.
Counter-Reformation The Roman Catholic's response to the Protestant churches that broke away from the Catholic church. The Catholic church encouraged ornate and exuberant art and music, which became known as "Baroque" style.
Musica Transalpina In England 1588, Nicholas Yonge published the first and most important collection of Italian madrigals in this publication. It means "translated music".
Notre Dame school This organum music was at its height during the 12th and 13th centuries. The musicians here were the first to solve the problem of notating more than two voices by fixing a definite rhythm.
Phillipe De Vitry Th author of the music theory text called Ars nova, which became the name of that entire period of music history. His rhythmic developments led to greater independence of the vocal parts.
Council of Trent The Catholic council dealing with church music. In terms of music, polyphonic music was permitted in addition to the use of traditional chant as long as the texts of polyphonic pieces were not obscured.
Isorhythm A repeating rhythmic pattern in one or more of the voices in a Medieval motet. First developed by Phillipe de Vitry.
organal A style of music where the tenor sings the original chant melody in very long notes while the upper voices move freely and rapidly above it.
discant (or descant) An early form of harmony used in the Middle Ages which developed from organum. It was formed by adding a part or parts to the tenor, differing from organum in that the parts moved not only in parallel motion but also contrary motion.
antiphonal Refers to a performance style in which an ensemble is divided into two or more groups, performing alternately as separate groups and in unison.
Trouser role A man's or boy's Baroque (or Classical) operatic part sung by a woman. It is also known as a "Breeches Part". The woman singing a man's part can be found in Mozart's and Handel's best known operas.
motet A polyphonic vocal style of composition. It was popular in the Middle Ages, when it consisted of a tenor voice foundation upon which other tunes were added.
castrato A male singer who was castrated during boyhood to preserve the soprano or alto vocal register. This practice was sanctioned by the Catholic church because women were not permitted to sing in the church.
treatise A book or essay written about a specific topic, in which its principles are discussed and explained.
liturgy Refers to the standard written forms of services in churches such as the Roman Catholic church.
recitative In an opera, oratorio, cantata, or other multi-movement vocal composition, it is a narrative song that describes an action, thought, or emotion. It follows the natural flow of the language, and is more a speaking composition than a singing composition.
Created by: sashby on 2010-01-20

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