Edexcel Musical Terms

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Solo
A complete piece (or a section) for one player or singer with no accompaniment, or for one player or singer with accompaniment
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Tone (quality)
The quality of a performer’s sound (which may be termed rich, rounded, thin, etc.)
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Forces
The instrument(s) and/or voice(s) that perform the music
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Double (verb)
Doubling occurs where one performer consistently plays or sings the same notes as another – strictly speaking at the same octave, but duplication at the octave may be involved
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Glissando
A slide between adjacent notes of a chromatic or diatonic scale. The terms glissando and portamento are to some extent interchangeable, but a portamento involves movements smaller than a semitone (such as a singer can achieve but a pianist cannot)
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Hammer On
A guitar technique used to facilitate fast playing by avoiding the need to pick every note
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Improvisation
A piece composed as it is performed, although frequently based on a pre-conceived ‘stimulus’ such as a melodic theme or chord scheme
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Melisma(tic)
A melisma is a group of notes used to set just one syllable of text. The adjective is ‘melismatic’. Where each syllable has one note, the style is ‘syllabic’
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Pull Off
A guitar technique: a string is plucked by ‘pulling’ the string off the fingerboard with a finger used to fret the note
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Range
The distance between the lowest and highest notes in a single melodic part. (A soprano part working between middle C and the C above has a range – or ‘compass’ – of an octave)
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Wah Wah
The Wah wah (or Harmon) mute, as used with trumpets and trombones. The name is onomatopoeic – the resulting sound can be rather like ‘wah wah’. The same result can be obtained via music technology as a studio effect
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Phrasing
The correct observance of divisions between whole phrases and sometimes shorter groups of notes (often to accord with a composer’s phrase markings)
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Pizzicato
Where the string(s) of a stringed instrument are plucked rather than bowed. The direction ‘pizzicato’ in the score is cancelled by ‘arco’, meaning ‘[with] the bow’
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Tremolo (tremolando)
Rapid repetition of a single note or of notes a 3rd or more apart
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Lyrics
Words to which a song is set (applies to music in popular styles)
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Words’, ‘Text’ or ‘Poem’
Words to which a song is set (applies to music in Western Classical styles)
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Word painting
Word painting occurs when a composer deliberately illustrates a word or phrase with a matching musical image (e.g. by having rising notes for ‘ascending’)
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Baroque
Music in the Western Classical Tradition from c1600‒c1750.
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(Solo) concerto
A work for soloist and orchestra, usually in three movements
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Concerto grosso
A type of concerto favoured in the Baroque period, commonly with three soloists and orchestra
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Fusion
The blending of more than one musical style or culture to create a new ‘fused’ sound (e.g. Afro-Cuban)
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Genre
A type of piece (e.g. opera, rock, concerto)
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Gigue
The term covers both a fast Baroque dance and pieces suggestive of that dance (rather than necessarily intended for use in the dance). A gigue is normally in compound metre (such as 12/8)
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Jazz
Originally a fusion of African and North American styles. A number of varieties of jazz have developed over time, including New Orleans, swing, bebop
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Musical theatre
Musical theatre integrates songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance, within a popular idiom. ‘Musicals’ are extended pieces of musical theatre from which favourite songs are often performed separately
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Prelude
Especially in the Baroque period, an ‘introductory’ piece preceding (an)other piece(s). Later preludes are often just short stand-alone pieces
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Rock
Emerged in the 1950s as ‘rock and roll’, and subsequently developed into a range of different popular styles
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Samba
A dance characteristic of Brazil, but with its roots in Africa. Usually quick, with frequent use of the syncopated rhythm semiquaver-quaversemiquaver.
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Sonata
A fairly extended composition, usually in three or four movements, with one or more (particularly the first) in sonata form. Many sonatas are for solo piano
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Suite
A group of pieces, all or some of which are usually in Baroque or Classical dance styles
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Chorus Effect
An effect used to simulate the small variations of pitch and timing experienced when several performers play or sing the same part
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Flanger
A flanger is an effects unit that creates ‘flanging’, an audio effect which involves mixing together two identical signals, one of them delayed by a small, gradually changing amount
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(Studio) Effects
Methods of artificially creating sounds, or of modifying or enhancing recorded sounds, through use of music technology
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Basso Continuo
Basso continuo is a form of musical accompaniment used in the Baroque period. It means "continuous bass". Basso continuo, sometimes just called "continuo", was played by a keyboard instrument and another bass instrument such as cello, violone (an old
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The quality of a performer’s sound (which may be termed rich, rounded, thin, etc.)

Back

Tone (quality)

Card 3

Front

The instrument(s) and/or voice(s) that perform the music

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Doubling occurs where one performer consistently plays or sings the same notes as another – strictly speaking at the same octave, but duplication at the octave may be involved

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

A slide between adjacent notes of a chromatic or diatonic scale. The terms glissando and portamento are to some extent interchangeable, but a portamento involves movements smaller than a semitone (such as a singer can achieve but a pianist cannot)

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
View more cards

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