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 2455 terms from 12 languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Latin…

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If you are looking for a symbol, check out our Guide to Musical Symbols.

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

  • très [French] “Very”, “much”.
  • seconda volta [Italian] “Second time”; may refer to the second ending of a repetition.
  • A440 The standard tuning of the A above middle C at 440 Hz.
  • accompagnato [Italian] Accompanied.
  • villanella [Italian] A Renaissance polyphonic vocal form, usually with a simple tune in the top voice, and somewhat homophonic, regular rhythms in the lower voices.
  • Hertz [German] The basic unit of measurement of frequency, definable as one cycle per second. Usually abbreviated “Hz”.
  • natural A symbol placed by a note signifying that the note should be played unaltered, as opposed to the sharp or flat of the note.
  • severità [Italian] Strictness, severity.
  • open-hole A flute finger key with a perforated center, allowing the use of techniques such as pitch bending or glissando.
  • alt [German] Term used to indicate the tones of the first octave above the treble staff (G5 to F6), which are said to be “in alt”.
  • sprezzatura [Italian] A term used in 17th century Italy describing a free style of performing compositions that ignored strict tempo and rhythm, embracing freedom of tempo and expressiveness.
  • transposing instrument Those instruments which are notated in one key on paper, yet sound another key when they are performed.
  • chest voice The lowest register of the voice.
  • haut [French] Literally, “high”. Medieval category of loud instruments, used principally for outdoor occasions.
  • parody A humorous or satirical composition which exaggerates the features of some other composition.