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GENERAL MUSICAL TERMS
DYNAMICS
Fortissimo -
Forte -
Mezzo Forte -
Mezzo Piano -
Pianissimo -
Very Loud
Loud
Quite Loud
Quite Soft
Very Soft
Crescendo -
Diminuendo -
Subito -
Accent -
Sforzando -
Getting Louder
Getting Softer
Sudden
Stress laid on certain sounds
With sudden force
MELODY AND HARMONY
Harmony:
Tonic
Dominant
Harmonic Rhythm
Major/Minor Chords
Cadences:
- Perfect
- Plagal
- Interrupted
-Imperfect
2…read more

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Rate at which chords change
Made up of the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes in a scale
What concludes a phrase or piece of music
full stop, 5th to 1st
plus +, 4th to 1st
exclamation mark!, 5th to 6th
comma, any note to 5th
Melody:
Step
Leap
Ornamentation
Sequence
Repetition
Modulation
Motivic Development
Melodic Development
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going up or down one note eg. B to C
going up or down by a larger interval eg.…read more

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STRUCTURE
Binary - AB form (or AABB), two main sections. First section
will modulate to a related key.
Ternary - ABA structure
Rondo - Opening theme recurs multiple times e.g. ABACA
Theme - The material (usually a melody) on which part or all
of the piece is based
Variation - Material is repeated in an altered form
Strophic - Only one section and repeated e.g.…read more

Page 5

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Rubato
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Leisurely, quite slow
Broad, slow
Easy-going, at a walking pace
Moderately
Cheerful, fast
Full of life
Very fast
Getting quicker
Getting slower
Broadening
Robbed time
DEGREES OF THE SCALE
1st - Tonic
2nd - Supertonic
3rd - Mediant
4th - Subdominant
5th - Dominant
6th - Submediant
7th - Leading Note
8th - Tonic (octave higher)
TEXTURE AND ARTICULATION
Legato
Staccato
Tremelo
Counterpoint
Solo
Unison
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Page 6

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Tutti
Counter Melody
Descant
Contrapuntal
Imitation
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Smooth
Detached
Rapid reiteration of one note
Art of combining melodies
Alone
Two or more parts sounding the same
Full chorus or orchestra
An additional melody played simultaneously with a prominent lead melody
The tune
An ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme
2 + independent voices/parts playing totally different things against eachother
Musical gesture repeated later in a different form but retains its…read more

Page 7

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Polyphonic -
TIMBRE (INSTRUMENTS AND VOICES)
Vocal Music:
Soprano
Contralto
Tenor
Bass
Baritone
Falsetto
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High Female
Low Female
High Male
Low Male
Quite Low Male
Very High Male
Music Technology:
Electric Guitar
Electronic Keyboard/Piano
Bass Guitar
Sampler
Synthesizer
7…read more

Page 8

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Sequencer
Drum Machine
Reverb
Multi-tracking
Keyboard:
Organ
Pianoforte
Electronic Keyboard/Piano
Harpsichord
SCALES
Major - T T S T T T S
Minor - T S T T S T+S S
Chromatic - S S S S S S S
Whole Tone - T T T T T T T
Pentatonic - T T T+S T T+S
Minor Pentatonic - T+S T T T+S T
T = Tone
S = Semitone
T+S = Tone + Semitone
ERAS OF MUSIC
Renaissance:
1450 - 1600
Mostly vocal music…read more

Page 9

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Classical:
1750 ­ 1810/1827
Less religious
Instrumental music very prominent
Development of instruments
Piano, small brass section
Musical lines much shorter
Very orderly and formal music
Mozart, Haydn
Dynamics from pp to ff
Romantic:
1810/1827 ­ 1910
Very mushy, thick textures
Very "emotional" music ­ angry as well
Music becoming very big and very grand
Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin
Dynamics from pppp to ffff
20th Century:
1910 - ?
A mixture: exploration and experimentation
Often no sense of key or natural melody
Short, spiky lines, often…read more

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Modern The harmonies are often discordant and/or the rhythms are irregular
Modern There are jazz influences
Baroque or Classical There is an orchestra piece in which an emotionally restrained melody is
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