Music Keywords for all areas


Handel's Messiah

Baroque Period-Music written between 1600-1750

Oratorio-Large scale music for orchestra, solo singers and chorus

Affection-The mood of the music-

Diatonic-Notes that are related to each other

Polyphonic-2 or more melodies performed at the same time

Melodic-refers to the melody line (shape)

Libretto-The words of the music

Aria-Solo Vocal piece with instrumental accompaniment

Recitative-Style of singing where it is 'told' using rhythm and natural speech

Chorus-Section for massed voices and orchestra

Imitative-Music that copies each line

Cadence-Can be either Plagal, Perfect, Imperfect or Interrupted.

Perfect Cadence-Dominant to Tonic Chords.  Sounds finished.

Plagal Cadence-Sub-dominant to Tonic chords. Sounds finished.  'Amen' cadence.

Tonality-Is it Major or Minor?

Major-Happy/Positive sound

Minor-Sad/Negative Sound

Tonic-First degree of the scale

Subdominant-Fourth degree of the scale

Dominant-Fifth degree of the scale


Mozart's 40th Symphony in G minor Movt 1      

Classical Period-Music written between 1750-1827

Symphony- A large scale composition consisting of four movements (trad. Classical form)

Homophonic- Music with a melody and an accompaniment or just chords.

Balanced Phrases-Musical phrases with even number of bars (4+4) (2+2)

Sonata Form-Style utilising exposition, development and recapitulation. 1st mvt of symphony.

Rondo-Fourth movement. ABACADA structure.

Minuet & Trio-3rd Movement of Symphony

Exposition-Where ideas are initially stated (2nd subject in dominant key).

Development-Ideas (1st and 2nd Subjects) exploited and altered using rhythm and tonality.

Recapitulation-Ideas are restated (2nd subject now in tonic key)

First subject-First idea in Sonata Form

Second Subject-Second idea in Sonata Form (Dominant key in Exposition and Tonic Key in Recapitulation

Chromatic-Melodies that move by semitones

Semitone-Half a tone, or the distance between a white key and an adjacent black key.

Tone-Whole tone or two semitones

Pathetique-Literally 'pathetic', refers to a melancholic mood

Tutti-literally 'together'


Chopin: Piano Prelude No. 15 in Db Major Op28 (The Raindrop)

Romanticism-Music written between 1827-1900

Virtuoso-Person in music who has mastered the skills and techniques of their art form.

Soft Pedal-Left Pedal.  When pressed will soften the tone of the music.

Sustaining Pedal-Right pedal on piano.  Sustains all the strings by removing the dampers from all strings and allowing them to vibrate freely.

Arpeggio-The notes of a triad played separately rather than all at the same time.

Cantabile-In the singing style', meaning that the melody is to be played legato.

Tempo Rubato-Literally means 'robbed' time - a technique where the player can pull back, or speed up, the tempo for expressive effect.

Dominant Pedal-A long held note using the fifth degree of the scale.

Acciaccatura-A 'crushed' note.  Used for decoration.

Pivot note/chord-Notes and chords that are common in two different keys.


Leonard Bernstein’s Something’s Coming from West Side Story              

Vaudeville-A form of entertainment, popular in the 1700s, in which popular songs were performed with alternative words.



Cherie Hinds


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