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RCM History 3

a set of terms for studying History 3 from the Royal Conservatory of Music

QuestionAnswer
pointillism In art-creating images with small dots rather than lines. In music-refers to a spare open musical texture in which short sounds appear, separated by moments in which there is no sound.
chromatic harmony employs notes outside of the major or minor key being used.
ostinato Italian for "unceasing". A short melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic pattern, repeated throughout an entire composition or section of a composition
Requiem A composition in honour of someone who has died.
big band An ensemble of musicians that specialize in jazz music of the "Swing Era" from the 1930's to 1940's.
electronic music Music originated in the 1950's produced and/or treated by technology.
modality A type of scale whose name is determined by the various positions of the whole tone and semitones.
Nationalism Term describing the 19th century movement when European composers added features to their music unique to the characteristics of the country.
cadenza A decorative passage performed near the close of a composition or movement, particularly in a solo concerto.
bel canto Italian for "beautiful singing", it is characterized by florid melodic lines delivered by voices with great agility, smoothness, and purity of tone.
tone row A specific arrangement of twelve tones of the twelve-tone (chromatic) scale as a basis for composition.
recitative In multi-movement vocal compositions it is a sung narrative which describes the action (or a thought or emotion).
lied German for "song", refers most commonly to accompanied songs from the Romantic era (though they existed before this time.) Characterized by expressive emotional nature and prominent piano accompaniment.
swing American style of jazz music originating in the 1930's, made popular by the "big bands"
Neo-Classicism A musical trend cultivated by some 20th century composers (including Stravinsky) who revived the use of forms and thematic development.
ensemble chorus A group of musicians that perform as a unit, such as a chorus which acts a crowd in an opera, participating in the action in addition to singing.
Ragtime An American style of music popular between 1890 and 1910, usually written for piano. Characterized by syncopated rhythms, with the left hand playing evenly and the melody fitting in between.
cantata A term of Italian origins which refers to a poem set to music. A large-scale vocal work, generally performed by voices and instruments, with several movements. Text is often religious in nature.
minimalism A late 20th century musical style featuring the repetition of short, melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic patterns with little variation.
étude French for study or exercise, designed to train a musician technically as well as musically.
opera A drama set to music, usually sung throughout. Combines music, drama, scenery, costumes, dance etc., to create a complete art form
prepared piano Piano adjusted by putting objects between the strings to alter the loudness, pitch and/or tone colour of the music produced.
character piece Music of a "programmatic" nature that represents ideas, scenes, dramatic events, etc through the use of intsruments rather than the voice.
inversion The imitation of a melody performed upside-down (mirror image) from the original melody.
jazz An improvisational style of music originating in New Orleans in the early 20th century. Characterized by syncopated rhythms, 'blue notes' and the use of seventh and ninth chords.
aleatoric counterpoint A type of music where the pitches are fixed but the rhythms are left up to the performers.
virtuosity Quality of being extremely skilled at performing upon an instrument (including voice).
additive meter A pattern of beats that subdivide into smaller, irregular groups.
quotation in music When a composer uses a melody or work written previously (such as folk tune or hymn etc.) and weaves this melody into his own, unique composition.
piano cycle A work that consists of many short, separate pieces which are designed to be played as a whole since they share a common idea, theme, motive, or other unifying factor.
"blue" notes Also known as a "bent" note or pitch, it means there is a semitone drop of pitch on the third seventh and sometimes the fifth note of the scale.
aria A piece sung by solo voice generally with accompaniment and usually in ternary form (or "da capo") Usually found in opera or oratorio.
cyclical elements A compositional device in which a theme, motive, or rhythmic idea returns in each subsequent section of a large-scale work, often transformed in various ways.
twelve-bar blues The most common number of bars, where the harmonic progression repeats every 12 bars.
indeterminancy A performance practice where performers determine the order of movements, thus allowing flexibility
"Tristan" chord Named of the first chord in Richard Wagner's musical drama containing F, B, D sharp and G.
diminution in 20th century music it usually refers to the restatement of the tone row in which the note values are shortened, usually by half.
double fugue two separate subjects of different themes that are eventually combined so the second theme forms a countersubject, or else the second subject is initially presented as the countersubject of the first.
cabaret A form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, distinguished mainly by the performance venue.
tone poem (or symphonic poem) It is a single-movement orchestral genre that develops a poetic idea, suggests a scene, or creates a mood.
primitivism 20th-century compositions that imitate rhythms, melodies, modes, and techniques, of typically non-Western music by indigenous people.
mode of limited transportation A mode that can only be transposed a small number of times rather than the 12 possibilities of the diatonic scales. The number of possibilities depends on the size of the symmetrical unit of that mode.
modified strophic form a lied with some verses set to different music.
double canon music that employs strict counterpoint, where each voice (the leaders and the followers) exactly imitates the previous voice at a fixed distance.
art song usually sung by a solo with accompaniment. It is not part of a larger work but a song with artistic purpose.
illusory rhythm a device where accented notes are played to confuse the ear into thinking the music is slower than what is really being played.
"music of the future" The title of a book that Wagner wrote but also a phrase he used to describe his vision for the future of opera. Music dramas with all the elements unified and controlled by the composer. This includes the libretto, conducting, set and costume design.
chamber music music performed by an ensemble, up to approximately ten performers with typically one performer to a part. String instruments are popular choices by composers, but any instrumentation can be used.
call and response Performance style associated with jazz where a singing leader is imitated by a chorus of followers, or an instrument is answered by other instruments.
flutter-tongue An oscillating, "buzzy" sound with some bending or sliding of notes to articulate a note, usually on a wind instrument, using the tongue to trill an 'r'.
concert overture A single-movement concert piece for orchestra, typically from the Romantic period and often based upon a literary program
Klangfarbenmelodie Translated from German to mean "sound-colour-melody", the term was coined by Arnold Schoenberg to describe a style of composition that employs several different kinds of tone colours to a single pitch or to multiple pitches.
pedal point A low, sustained tone played in the bass part of a composition while the other parts or voices move above it.
retrograde A series of notes (or a tone row) played backwards
Post-Romanticism A continuation of the late Romantic style, particularly in operatic, symphonic, and tone poem forms.
concerto a soloist performing with orchestra.
Expressionism German response to French musical style, Impressionism. Instead of creating impressions of the outer world, the German composers preferred looking inward.
song cycle A popular, 19th century genre, a group of songs that share a common theme or central idea which has been designed to be presented as a unit, with only a slight pause between pieces.
thematic transformation The expansion or development of a theme achieved by varying its melodic outline, harmony, or rhythm.
retrograde inversion a series of notes (or a tone row) played backwards and upside-down.
rondo a form of composition in which the first section alternates with subsequent sections, such as A-B-A-C-A.
microtones An interval that is smaller than a semitone including quarter tones and even smaller.
Leitmotif Expression refers to a recurring motif in a composition which represents a specific person, idea or emotion
atonality Music that is not centered around a central key or scale.
Gesamtkunstwerk Meaning "total work or art". Term used by Richard Wagner to describe his vision for musical dramas
New Romanticism A compositional style of the 20th century beginning ca. 1960. The style embraces techniques and characteristics from the Romantic period, combined with 20th-century innovations.
symphony A large composition for orchestra, generally in three or four movements (sonata cycle form). Romantic much larger than its Classical counterparts
vocalise Usually a vocal warm-up that uses only vowel sounds, rather than words.
blues American form of folk music related to Jazz. Characteristics are "bent" notes-a drop in pitch on the third, seventh and sometimes the fifth degree of the scale.
serialism A method used in tone row compositions in which various musical elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and tone colour are placed in order according to fixed series.
film score Music written to accompany a film, thus tailored specifically to the action on the screen.
syncopation The deliberate shift of the meter or pulse of a composition by means of a temporary shifting of the accent to a weak beat.
Sprechstimme German word referring to a vocal style in which the melody is spoken at approximate pitches, rather than sung on exact pitches.
digital sampling A method by which a previous sound recording is digitally analyzed or modified and then used as the basis in creating a new recording.
rondeau A style of courtly love song, popular during the Renaissance. Definitive characteristic of the rondeau: A-B-A-A-A-B-A-B
Impressionism Term applied to composers such as Debussy and Ravel, who were composing in the same time and place that the symbolist painters were active.
music drama The term applied to Richard Wagner's operas that combine music, scenery, text costume, etc. to create a more cohesive imaginary world than previous operas.
program music Composition with extra-musical content that draws the attention of the listener to a literary, pictorial or other association.
1939 The year in which Alexander Nevsky premiered (as a cantata)
1813 The year Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner were born.
1856 The year in which Robert Schumann died.
1970 The year in which George Crumb's work Ancient Voices of Children premiered in Washington, D.C.
1985 The date of composition for Ligeti's "Desordre" (from Etudes for Piano)
1908-1992 The dates for the life of Olivier Messiaen (born in Avignon, France).
1809-1847 The dates for the life of Felix Mendelssohn (born in Hamburg, Germany)
1902 The year in which Maurice Ravel's piano work Jeux d'eau premiered with Ricardo Vines playing.
1874-1951 The dates for the life of Arnold Schoenberg (born in Vienna, Austria)
Federico Garcia Lorca Spanish poet and dramatist who wrote the poetry that George Crumb used in Ancient Voices of Children.
Nadia Boulanger Philip Glass and Aaron Copland, both 20th-century American composers, studied with her in Paris.
Sergei Eisenstein A Russian film director with whom Sergei Prokofiev collaborated to produce the film Alexander Nevsky in (1939) and later Ivan the Terrible.
Francesco Maria Piave The Italian librettist, journalist and translator who wrote the librettos for many of Giuseppe Verdi's operas including La Traviata
Zoltan Kodaly The Hungarian composer who met Bela Bartok and began to collect, record, and compose works based on regional folk music.
Heinrich Heine The German poet (1797-1856) whose poetry was used as the text for Lieder written by such composers as Schumann and Schubert.
Madame von Meck in 1876, Tchaikovsky was contracted by the wealthy widow who admired his music and provided financial support for over a decade; the two never met in person.
Niccolo Paganini The Italian violin virtuoso (1782-1840) who inspired generations of composers including Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Lutoslawski.
King Ludwig II The King of Bavaria was a great fan of Wagner's music and financed the premiere of Tristan und Isolde at the Munich Royal Court Theater in 1865.
Second Viennese School The term used to describe the Expressionist school of music headed by Schoenberg and his students Webern and Berg, during the early 20th century.
Commedia del'arte A 16th-century form of professional theatre, one of the earliest and most influential in Europe.
Casa Verdi Venetian-style mansion that Giuseppe Verdi built in Milan. Both Verdi and his wife were buried there and the property became a retirement home for musicians.
Created by: sashby on 2011-06-03



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