Music glossary/ key terms

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  • Created on: 23-12-16 13:45
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Alevel music- Glossary
A Cappella: One or more vocalist performing Cantata: Music written for chorus & orchestra
without an accompaniment (usually religious)
Accelerando: Gradually quicken the tempo Capriccio: Quick improvised music
Accent: Emphasis on a particular note Chamber music: Music written for 2 to 10 solo
Accented passing note: passing note on the parts featuring 1 instrument to each part (each
weaker beat part bears the same importance.
Acciaccatura: grace note played as quick as Chant: Singing in unison, texts in free rhythm but
possible before playing the main note rhythm is similar to speech.
Adagio: slow movement Choir: Group of singers in chorus
Allegro: play lively & fast Chorale: Hymn sung by a choir and congregation
in unison
Antiphony: 2 choirs singing alternate phrases
Chord: triad (3-4 notes ­ 1,3 & 5 of a scale)
Appoggiatura: leaning note that is dissonant and
is approached by a leap and resolves by step to Chordal homophony: Block chords
the chord note Chord progression: A string of chords played in
Augmentation: When the original motif has longer succession.
note values than previously used Chorus: A group singing in unison
Auxiliary note: non-chord note occurring between Chromatic: Using notes that do not belong to the
and is a step away from 2 harmony notes of the scale of the key
same pitch
Chromatic scale: All 12 notes of an octave
Atonal: music that is performed with regard to
Classical: Time period from 1750 to mid 1820
any key
Clef: symbol at the beginning of a staff
Baroque: Time period from 1600 to 1750
Coda: Closing section of a movement
Beat: The unit of rhythm
Compound time: each beat in a bar is divided into
Binary: 2 repeated sections (AABB) (rounded is
3 smaller units
when a small part of A returns at the end in the
tonic) Concerto: piece written for a solo instrument &
century and
Blues: started at the end of the 19th
was originated by African Americans from work Conjunct: stepwise movement between 2 notes
songs & folk music (European & American) Consonance: Group of tones that are harmonious
Cadence: A sequence of chords that bring an end when sounded together in a chord
to a phrase Contrapuntal: In counterpoint
Cadenza: Improvised cadence by a soloist which Counterpoint: 2 to 3 melodic lines playing at the
later is written out in an Aria/ concerto same time
Call and response: 2 contrasting phrases, where Cross metre: 2 contrasting metres
one is followed by the other
Cross rhythm: 2 contrasting rhythms are played
Canon: Tune is imitated by parts at regular together
Da capo: repeat the piece before stopping at the
Cantabile: style of singing (easy flowing tone) final chord

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Development: Where musical themes are Heterophonic: variations of a single melodic line
developed (sonata form) played at the same time
Diatonic: using notes that belong to the scale of Hexachord: 6 note chord
the key Homophony: Music is sung/ played in unison
Imitation: repetition of a melody in a different
Diminished chord: stack of minor 3rds appearance
part shortly after its 1st
Dissonance: Harsh, discordant & lack of harmony, Imperfect cadence: 2 chords at the end of a
or a chord that sounds incomplete until…read more

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Madrigal: Contrapuntal song written for at least 3 Opera: Drama where words are sung instead of
voices without an accompaniment spoken
Major: 1 of the 2 tonal systems, this one has a Operetta: short light musical drama
more positive affirming character Opus: Way of numbering compositions
March: Music written in 2-step time originally for Oratorio: extended cantata on a sacred subject
military processions Orchestra: large group of instrumentalists playing
Medley: Piece using passages from other together
Orchestration: Arranging a piece of music for
Melismatic:…read more

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Recapitulation: Reprise (in sonata form) Sonatina: brief/ short sonata
Refrain: repeated phrase played at the end of Staccato: short detached notes
each verse of a song Stretto: related to a fugue where there is
Register: Portion of a range of an instrument or overlapping of the main theme, or a motif by 2
voice voices/ instruments a few beats apart
Renaissance: Period of music from 1400- 1600 Suite: collection of instrumental pieces
(re-birth of art & literature) Suspension: a dissonance which is prepared,
Reprise: repeat…read more

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Whole-tone notes: equal to 2 half notes, 4 quarter
notes and 8 eighth notes.…read more


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