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Conducting Terms

Musical Terms for Basic Conducting

Accelerando gradually increasing tempo
Acciaccatura "crushing," a short appoggiatura or grace note sounded simultaneously with the following note
Accompagnato accompanied, with the accompaniment following the soloist, who may speed up or slow down at will
Adagio at ease; a slow tempo, slower than andante, but not so slow as largo (66-76)
Ad libitum at liberty; the speed and manner of execution are left to the performer
A due for two voices or instruments; two instruments are to play in unison, after divisi or a solo passage for one of the instruments
Agitiato agitated; restless; hurried.
Alla breve two half-note beats to a bar (implies 2/2)
Allargando broadening; becomes slower
Allegretto light; cheerful; like allegro, but a little less fast.
Allegro quick; lively; rapid. (126-168)
Amabile graceful
Andante at a walking pace; at a moderate tempo (76-104)
Animato animated, lively.
Appoggiatura a grace note that "leans" on the following note, taking up some of its value in the measure.
Arco played with the bow; as opposed to pizzicato (plucked), in music for bowed instruments- normally used to cancel a pizzicato direction.
Arioso in the manner of the aria; a short piece like an aria.
Assai very
A tempo in time; indication that the performer should return to the main tempo of the piece.
Attacca attack; direction to begin (attack) the next movement immediately, without gap or pause
Basso continuo continuous bass; a bass part played continuously throughout a piece to give harmonic structure, used especially in the Baroque period.
Cantabile in a singing style
Cesura (caesure) break, stop; a complete break in sound (sometimes called "railroad tracks")
Coda a closing section appended to a movement.
Codetta a small coda.
Colla parte with the soloist.
Colla voce with the voice.
Col legno with the wood of the bow
Con with; used in many musical directions.
Con moto with motion.
Con sordino with a mute.
Dolce sweetly.
Double stop the act of playing two note simultaneously on a melodic percussion instrument or stringed instrument.
Dur (German) major; used in key signatures, A-Dur = A Major.
Espressivo expressively.
Fine the end.
Fortepiano (fp) strong/gentle; loud then immediately soft.
Furioso furiously.
Grave slowly and seriously.
Grazioso gracefully.
Hemiola the imposition of a pattern of rhythm or articulation other than that implied by the time signature; in triple time (3/4) the imposition of a duple pattern.
Langsam (German) slowly.
Larghetto somewhat slowly; not as slow as largo (60-66).
Largo broadly; slowly (40-60).
Leggiero lightly, delicately.
Lento slowly.
Liberamente freely.
L'istesso tempo the same tempo.
Ma non troppo but not too much.
Maestoso majestically, in a stately fashion.
Massig (German) moderately.
Mezzo voce half voice.
Moll (German) minor; used in key signatures; a-moll = a minor.
Molto very.
Mosso moving.
Moto motion; usually seen as con moto (with motion).
Ostinato repeated rhythmical pattern.
Partitur (German) ful orchestral score.
Passionato passionately.
Pastorale in a pastoral style, peaceful and simple.
Pausa rest.
Pesante heavy, ponderous.
Piu more.
Pizzicato plucked.
Poco a little.
Poco a poco little by little.
Poi then; diminuendo poi subito fortissimo (softer then suddenly very loud).
Portamento generally sliding in pitch from one note to another (especially in singing; more often called glissando in instrumental music).
Prestissimo extremely quick; as fast as possible.
Presto very quickly.
Quasi as if.
Rallentando progressively slower.
Rapido fast.
Ritardando slowing down.
Rubato flexible in tempo, applied to notes within a musical phrase for expressive effect.
Schnell (German) fast.
Secco dry; as in secco recitative (dry recitative).
Sehr (German) very
Semplice simply.
Sempre always.
Senza without.
Senza misura without measure.
Senza sordino without the mute.
Sforzando (sfz) made loud; sudden strong accent.
Silenzio silence.
Simile similarly; continue applying the preceding directive to the following passage.
Sotto voce under voice; subdued.
Spiccato distinct, separated; a way of playing a stringed instrument by bouncing the bow on the string.
Stretto a passage in a fugue in which the contrapuntal texture is more dense, due to the close overlapping entries of the subject in various voices.
Stringendo with a pressing forward or acceleration of the tempo.
Subito suddenly,
Sul ponticello on the bridge; an indication to bow very near to the bridge.
Sul tasto on the fingerboard; an indication to bow over the fingerboard.
Tacet silent; do not play.
Tempo giusto in strict time.
Tempo primo/Tempo I resume original tempo.
Tenuto held; sustained for full value.
Tranquillo calmly, peacefully.
Troppo too much; usually seen as allegro non troppo (fast but not too fast).
Tutti all together, usually after a period of a solo section.
Una corda one string; in piano music it means to hold down the soft pedal.
Un poco a little.
Vivace very lively.
Created by: 546876053
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