Multilingual Music Glossary

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Found a word you don't know? No problem. Look it up in the Music Glossary!

We are currently providing explanations for 2463 terms from 12 languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Latin…

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Please note: a music glossary is just like a dictionary. It contains explanations to musical terms. If you are looking for a piece, please go here instead: search tunes.

Some random terms

  • geschwind [German] Swift, swiftly.
  • shanty A song sung by sailors while working on a ship. A shanty has a chorus, which is sung by all, and verses that are usually sung by one voice.
  • dissonance Any interval or chord that sounds impure, harsh, or unstable.
  • Requiem [Latin] A composition to honor the deceased.
  • hairpin The symbol, made up of two joined lines, used to indicate a crescendo or a decrescendo.
  • quartet A piece for four singers or instrumentalists. Also, a group of such musicians.
  • vocal cords The vocal organs in the human being which produce sound.
  • haut [French] Literally, “high”. Medieval category of loud instruments, used principally for outdoor occasions.
  • soli [Italian] “Alone” (plural form). A directive to perform with an entire section of an ensemble.
  • decani [Latin] In Anglican church music, referring to the half of the choir sitting on the dean's side of the church.
  • cassation Classical instrumental genre related to the serenade or divertimento, often performed outdoors.
  • stretto [Italian] In a fugue, that situation in which the subject and answer overlap one another, or when two subjects enter in close succession.
  • Minnesinger [German] A poet or musician of the Minnesang tradition in Germany, active during the 12th through the 15th centuries.
  • rinforzando [Italian] Literally, “reinforcing”. Dynamic marking indicating that several notes, or a short phrase, are to be emphasized.
  • overture An introductory movement, as in an opera or oratorio, often presenting melodies from arias to come. Also an orchestral work for concert performance.