GCSE AQA Music Vocabulary

Contains all the key, and needed vocabulary for GCSE Music. Hope it helps. 


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Sharp / Flat Semitone higher / semitone lower
Octave Twelve semitones apart
Range Highest to Lowest note on instrument
Diatonic Keys Music that sticks to the notes of one key
Tonic Key note
Sub Dominant 4th note of scale
Dominant 5th note of scale
Blues Scale A jazz scale in which the third and seventh notes are blue notes
Pentatonic 5 note scale. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th degrees of major scale
Series/note row The order of the twelve chromatic notes as used in Serial music
Step Melody going up or down by one note
Leap Movement by intervals of more than one note
Scalic A melodic passage moving by step
Chromatic Use of all semitones in scale and opposite of Diatonic
Consonance/Dissonance Sound good/bad together
Major A scale running: tone tone semitone tone tone tone semitone
Minor A scale with a flattened third and alternative 6th and 7th notes
Modal White note scale not starting at C. i.e. the order of tones and
semitones is different from major
Atonal Music without a key centre
Perfect ­ V to I Full close
Imperfect - V Half close
Modulation A change of key during a passage of music
Transpose Change the pitch of the music
Pedal Single sustained note
Drone Single sustained note or Multiple notes
Pulse / Beat The regular division of time in music
Triplet 3 notes played in the space of 2. Swing tempo
Dotted rhythm Jagged and uneven effect
Duple Time Two beats in the bar
Triple Time Three beats in the bar
Quadruple Time Four beats in the bar
Irregular Time Where the number of beats in a bar keeps changing
Syncopation Accenting against the beat
Off-beat Like syncopation ­ notes playing across the beat
Cross-rhythm Another form of notes playing across the beat
Counterpoint Where the rhythms are in layers of texture, often imitatively
Moderato At moderate speed
Allegro Fast

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Vivace Lively
Presto Very quick
Accelerando Gradually speeding up
Rallentando Gradually slowing down
Ritenuto Immediately slower
Allargando Getting slower and broadening
Pianissimo very quiet
Piano quiet
Mezzo piano medium quiet
Mezzo forte medium loud
Forte loud
Fortissimo very loud
Crescendo getting louder
Diminuendo getting quieter
Legato Smoothly
Staccato Short and sharp
Tremolo Rapid repetition of a note
Monophonic One sound at a time
Heterophonic Different sounds played together
Homophonic In chords.…read more


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