Vocabulary for Music Exchange Students
Time signature that indicates that there are two beats to a bar
and the quarter-note gets one beat. Also called simple duple.
Time signature that indicates that there are three beats to
a bar and the quarter-note gets one beat. Also called simple triple.
Time signature that indicates that there are four beats to a
bar and the quarter-note gets one beat. Also called simple quadruple.
"Abstract" music or music written in
specific forms for its own sake - that is, with no connection to a story or
other type of "program" .
The joining or
separation of tones.
The clef used for lower-pitched instruments or voices.
A steady pulse.
A musical form that consists of two sections (AB).
Clapping of hands, snapping of fingers, or tapping of
any part of the body to produce different sound effects.
Instrument that is made of metal and that has a
cupped mouthpiece (e.g., trumpet, trombone, tuba).
An extra section of music at the end of a piece.
Patterns by which the conductor indicates the
beats in a bar.
A common term for the gradual increase in volume.
Da capo al coda.
Abbreviated as D.C. al coda. Indication to return to
the beginning of the piece and play to al coda, then play the coda.
Da capo al fine.
Abbreviated as D.C. al fine. Indication to return to
the beginning of the piece and play to fine (the end).
Dal segno al coda.
Abbreviated as d.s. al coda. Indication to return
to the sign § and play to al coda, then play the coda.
Dal segno al fine.
Abbreviated as d.s. al fine. Indication to return
to the sign § and then play to fine (the end).
A common term for the gradual decrease in volume.
Dotted note or rest.
A note or rest to which the dot adds one-half its
value. The following are some examples in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 time:
half-note. A note that is held for three beats.
- dotted half rest. Indication of a period of silence lasting three beats.
- dotted quarter-note. A note that is held for one and one-half beats.
- dotted quarter rest. Indication of a period of silence lasting for one
and one-half beats.
The varying degree of volume.
A note that is held for one-half of a beat.
Indication of a period of silence lasting for one-half of a
Elements of music.
Fundamental components of music. They include
pitch, beat, rhythm, melody, dynamics, tone colour, texture (e.g., homophony,
Family of instruments.
A grouping of similar types of musical
instruments. In European music, there have traditionally been four families of
instruments (i.e., woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussion). Some
musicologists now add extra families to include electronic instruments and
musical instruments of other parts of the world.
First and second endings.
Signs that indicate the following
procedure: at the repeat sign at the end of the first ending, the performer
repeats the section just played, then goes on to play the second ending.
The structure of a piece of music.
An object that can produce a rhythmic or pitched
sound (e.g., stick, comb, pop bottle).
A note that is held for two beats in simple time.
Indication of a period of silence lasting two beats in
Music consisting of a single melodic line with chordal
The distance between two notes.
A repeated melodic pattern.
Music consisting of a single melodic line.
An instrument that one has to hit, scrape, or
rattle in order to make a sound.
A group of sounds that has a beginning, middle, and end.
Notes that lead in to the downbeat.
The highness or lowness of a tone.
Music consisting of two or more melodic lines that are
Music that depicts a story, scene, or emotion.
A note lasting one beat in simple time.
Indication of a period of silence lasting one beat in
The pattern of long and short sounds.
A repeated rhythmic pattern.
A form of music that often consists of five sections, of which
the first, third, and fifth are the same or almost the same (ABACA or ABABA).
Any interval that is larger than a step (or second); for
example, the interval of a third, which is the distance between notes either a
line or a space apart on the staff.
The five lines and four spaces on which music is written.
An instrument that has strings and that is played
with a bow or plucked (e.g., violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, guitar,
The interval between a note that is on a line and a note on the
adjacent space, or vice versa. Also called the interval of a second.
The speed of a piece. Some common tempo indications are:
allegro (quickly and lively), moderato (at a moderate speed), andante (somewhat
slowly, at a walking pace), largo (slowly).
A musical form that consists of three sections. The
third section is a repetition of the first (ABA).
The relationship between the "horizontal" aspect
of music (i.e., melody) and the "vertical" (i.e., harmony). For
example, texture that is mainly vertical is homophonic (i.e., it consists of a
melody with chordal accompaniment), and texture that is mainly horizontal is
polyphonic (i.e., it consists of two or more melodies sung or played together).
Theme and variations.
A form of music in which a melody or section of
music constitutes the basis for a series of variations (A, A1, A2, A3...).
The unique quality of sounds that allows us to
distinguish between them. Also called timbre.
The clef used for higher-pitched instruments or voices.
Also called the G clef.
The sound produced when two or more instruments or voices play
or sing the same pitch. The term also is used to refer to the interval that
occurs when two melodic parts (voices or instruments) join to produce the same
A note that is held for four beats in simple time.
Indication of a period of silence lasting for four beats
in simple time.
An instrument that one has to blown into in order
to make a sound (e.g., clarinet, oboe, English horn, flute, recorder, bassoon).
Despite the name, they are not all made of wood - flutes are usually made of
metal and some clarinets are also made of metal.
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