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music terminology

exam prep

TermDefinition
AB form two-part form
ABA form three-part form with repeated first section
absolute music instrumental music having no intended association with a story, poem, idea, or scene
a cappella choral music without instrumental accompaniment
accelerando becoming faster
accent emphasis of a note
adagio slow
aerophone any instrument whose sound is generated by a vibrating column of air
Alberti bass broken or arpeggiated chord where the notes are sounded lowest to highest and pattern is repeated
aleatoric music chance music
alto female voice of a low range
antecedent phrase first part of a period (question); followed by the consequent phrase (answer)
appoggiatura a grace note performed before a note of the melody and falling on the beat.
aria Song for solo voice found in operas, oratorios, cantatas
arpeggio Broken chord
articulation In music notation articulation marks include the slur, phrase mark, staccato, staccatissimo, accent, sforzando, rinforzando, and legato.
art song Setting of a poem for voice and piano, common in Romantic period
atonality Absence of tonality or key
augmentation Variation of a fugue subject where time values are lengthened
baritone Male voice lower than tenor, higher than bass
bass Lowest male voice
basso continuo Baroque accompaniment made up of bass part, usually keyboard and low string
bebop Complex jazz style meant for listening instead of dancing
bitonality Using two keys at one time
blue note Usually the flattened third and seventh
blues Threè line stanza, using blues notes, and chord progression (1,1,1,1,4,4,1,1,5,4,1,1)
bridge Transition
cadence End of a phrase resting place (perfect authentic, imperfect authentic, half, plagal, deceptive)
cadenza Unaccompanied section for virtuosic solo display near the end (usually in a concerto)
call and response One voice answered by another, either repetition or question and answer
canon A Round
cantata Several movement piece, usually chorus, soloists, and orchestra
cantus firmus Melody- usually gregorian chant, used as basis for polyphonic piece
chamber music Music for small group of musicians
chance music Aleatoric music, happening by chance
chorale Hymn tune, four parts
chord Combination of three or more pitches at once
chordophone Instrument played by vibrating a string
chromatic scale Scale including all 12 pitches, each only a half step away
Church modes Scales using different whole and half step combinations
circle of fifths a visual representation of the relationships among the 12 tones of the chromatic scale, their corresponding key signatures, and the associated major and minor keys
coda concluding section
concerto extended composition for instrumental soloist and orchestra, usually three movements (fast, slow, fast)
concerto grosso composition for several instrumental soloists and small orchestra (late Baroque)
consequent phrase second part of a period (answer); preceded by the antecendent phrase (question)
consonance the combination of notes that are in harmony with each other due to the relationship between their frequencies.
countermelody melodic idea that accompanies a main theme
counterpoint technique of combining two or more melodic lines into a meaningful whole
countersubject in a fugue, a melodic idea that accompanies the subject fairly constantly
crescendo Increase in volume
da capo From the beginning
decrescendo Decrease in volume
development Second section of sonata form in which the exposition theme is developed and moves through different keys
diminution Variation of fugue subject where original time values are shortened
dissonance The combination of notes that are not in harmony with each other
dominant chord Triad built on fifth note of the scale - usually resolves to the tonic chord
downbeat First or stressed beat of a measure
drone Long sustained tone
dynamics Degrees of loudness or softness
episode Transitional section in a fugue between subjects, usually new material
etude A study piece that helps musician study a particular technique
exoticism Use of melodies, rhythms, or instruments that suggest foreign lands
exposition First section of sonata form
expressionism Musical style stressing intense emotion and dissonance (late romanticism)
fanfare a short and lively sounding of trumpets. : a showy outward display.
fantasy A free composition structured according to the composer's fancy.
fermata Sign for to hold
figured bass Bass part of Baraoque accompaniment with figures above it indicating chords
form Organization of a piece
fortspinnung a motif is developed into an entire musical structure by using sequences, intervallic changes or simple repetitions (found in Baroque music)
Free jazz jazz style which departs from traditional jazz
french overture common opening in Baroque suites, oratorios, and operas: first section is slow with dotted rhythms and second section is lighter and quicker
fugue polyphonic composition based on one main theme or subject
fusion jazz rock or other combination
gamelan a traditional instrumental ensemble of Indonesia, typically including many bronze percussion instruments.
gavotte a medium-paced French dance, popular in the 18th century. a piece of music accompanying or in the rhythm of a gavotte, composed in common time beginning on the third beat of the bar.
glissando rapid slide up or down a scale
harmonic rhythm also known as harmonic tempo is the rate at which the chords change (or progress) in a musical composition, in relation to the rate of notes
hemiola a musical figure in which, typically, two groups of three beats are replaced by three groups of two beats, giving the effect of a shift between triple and duple meter.
heterophony type of texture characterized by the simultaneous variation of a single melodic line
homophony one main melody accompanied by chords
idee fixe single melody used in several movements of a long work to represent a recurring idea
idiophone instrument played by hitting or shaking (no membrane)
imitation presentation of a melodic idea by one voice/instrument that is followed by another voice/instrument
impressionism musical style which stresses tone color, atmosphere, and fluidity (Debussy)
improvisation creation of music on the spot
incidental music music intended to be performed before and during a play, setting the mood for the drama
incomplete cadence inconclusive resing point at the end of a phrase which sets up expectations for phrases to follow
interval distance between two notes
inversion variation fugue subject in which each note is reversed in direction; could also refer to notes in a chord not in root position
koto Japanese string instrument
lied German art song
leitmotif short musical idea associated with a person, object (Darth Vader in Star Wars)
libretto text of an opera
lute plucked string instrument used in Renaissance and Baroque music
madrigal composition for several voices to short secular poem (Renaissance)
mass sacred choral composition made up of five sections generally (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) Rossini!!!
melisma one syllable of a word stretch out over many notes in succession
membranophone instrument with a membrane (drum)
meter organization of beats into groups
minimalism steady pulse, clear tonality, insistent repetition of short melodic pattern- trancelike
minuet and trio compositional form in three parts (minuet, trio, minuet) often third movement of symphony, in 3/4
modulation shift from one key to another
monophony single melodic line without accompaniment
motet polyphonic choral work set to Latin text (Renaissance)
motive fragment of a theme or short musical idea developed within a composition
movement piece that sounds complete but is one part of a larger work
nationalism inclusion of folk songs, dances, legends in a composition to associate with specific homeland
neoclassicism musical style marked by emotional restraint, balance, clarity, inspired by 18th century music (mostly during 1920-1950)
nocturne a night piece; usually a slow composition, lyrical, intimate, for piano
octave interval between two tones an 8th apart
offbeat not on the beat
opera drama sung to orchestra accompaniment, featuring recitatives, arias, choruses
oratorio large piece for chorus, soloists, orchestra; several movements, sacred in nature
organum medieval polyphony that consists of Gregorian chant and one or more additional lines; usually parallel in motion
ostinato motive or phrase that is repeated persistently at the same pitch
overture short orchestra composition opens an opera or musical theater show and sets the overall mood
parallel motion melodic lines that move in the same direction at the same time
passacaglia ground bass, chaconne; bass line that forms a complete musical idea that is repeated over and over again through the piece
pedal point single tone held throughout a long section which other parts move independently over top
pentatonic scale five note scale (do, re, mi, so, la) typical in Asian music (black notes of the piano)
period grouping of two phrases that are question and answer
phrase part of melody
Picardy third in the last chord of a piece in minor, this third is raised to make the chord major
pick-up one or more unstressed notes before the first bar line of a piece or passage (anacrusis is the fancy name for a pick-up)
pivot chord moves from the original key to the destination key (usually a closely related key) by way of a chord both keys share. For example, G major and D major share 4 chords in common: G, Bm, D, Em.
pizzicato means of playing stringed instrument where strings are plucked
polychord combination of two chords sounded at the same time (e.g. Cmajor chord and A major chord) (20th century music)
polyphonic two or more melodic lines happening at the same time
polyrhythm use of two or more contrasting and independent rhythms at the same time (20th century, African, Indian, Indonesian)
polytonality using two or more keys at the same time (20th century)
postlude concluding section; end of an art song where the piano plays an extended part
prelude short piece to introduce a fugue or other composition; short piece for piano
primitivism evocation of primitive power through insistent rhythms and percussive sounds (Rite of Spring)
program music instrumental music association with a story, poem, idea, or scene (Romantic period)
progression series of chords
raga pattern of notes serving as melodic framework for improvisation, in Indian classical music
ragtime composed piano music, duple meter, march tempo, left hand plays oom-pah, right hand melody
recapitulation third section of a sontata-form movement, like the exposition but in a new key
recitative vocal line in an opera, oratorio, or cantata that imitates the rhythms and pitch fluctuations of speech; leads into an aria
resolution progression from dissonance to consonance
retrograde variation of a fugue subject in which the subject is presented by beginning with the last note and moving backwards to the first (reverses the order of pitches)
riff in jazz, a short repeated phrase
ritardando becoming slower
ritornello Italian for refrain; a repeated section of music played by full orchestra alternating with other material (Baroque)
rondo ABACADAEA...
rubato slight holding back or pressing forward (borrowing or pushing time) (Romantic music)
scat singing improvising a vocal solo line using non-sense syllables
scherzo compositional form in three parts (ABA), sometimes third movement in symphony, triple meter, fast
sequence in a melody, the immediate repetition of a pattern on a higher or lower pitch
serialism method of composing that uses an ordered group of rhythm, dynamics, tone color, and pitch (20th century)
sitar chordophone from North Indian; long-necked lute
sonata in Baroque and Classical music, instrumental composition in several movements
sonata form form of a single movement (exposition, development, recapitulation, coda)
song cycle group of art songs connected in some way (Romantic music)
sprechstimme German speech-voice, halfway between singing and speaking
staccato short and disconnected
stretto in fugues, subject is imitated before it is completed; one voice tries to catch the other
strophic same music for each verse
subject theme of a fugue
suite Baroque music form, dance inspired movements in same key but differing in tempo, meter, and character
suspension appoggiatura (usually 4-3 or fa-mi)
swing jazz style from 1920s, played by big bands
syncopation accenting of a note at an unexpected time; major characteristic of jazz
tabla pair of drums used in Indian music, pitched on the do and the sol
tag brief coda sometimes played at the end of a jazz piece
tempo the speed of music
terraced dynamics abrupt alternation between loud and soft dynamics (Baroque music)
text painting the musical technique of writing music that reflects the literal meaning of a song. For example, ascending scales would accompany lyrics about going up; slow, dark music would accompany lyrics about death.
thematic transformation alteration of the character of a theme by changes in dynamics, orchestration, rhythm (Romantic music)
theme melody that serves as the starting point for an extended piece of music
theme and variations form in which the theme is repeated over and over again but with variations in melody, rhythm, harmony, dynamics, tone color
through-composed vocal form in which there is new music for each stanza of a poem
tie an arc between two notes of the same pitch indicating that the second note should not be played but added to the first beat
timbre tone color
tonality key
tone cluster chord made up of tones only a half or whole step apart
tone poem symphonic poem; programmatic music in one movement (Romantic)
tonic chord triad built on the first scale degree; main chord of the piece
tremolo rapid repetition of a tone, produced by string instruments playing quick up and down strokes of the bow
triad three note chord
trill ornament consisting of rapid alternation of two tones a half or whole step apart
trio sonata Baroque composition with three melodic lines- two high lines and a basso continuo (four players total- the three refers to the number of lines, not players)
tutti all
twelve-tone method of composing in which all pitches are used once in a pre-determined order, with no tonal center; developed by Schoenberg
unison single melodic line performed by several musicians simultaneously
upbeat unaccented pulse preceding the downbeat
virtuoso performing artist of exceptional technical mastery
vivace lively tempo
whole-tone scale scale made up of six tones, all a whole step apart
Created by: dfryling