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 2449 terms from 12 languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Latin…

You may browse the glossary alphabetically, or directly search for a term by using the search box above.

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

  • microtone Musical interval smaller than a semitone, prevalent in some non-Western musics and in some twentieth century art music.
  • 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”.
  • con mala grazia [Italian] Ungracefully, awkwardly.
  • vocalise [French] A vocal exercise that is sung without words, typically using different vowel sounds.
  • envelope An acoustical term referring to the attack, steady state (or duration), and decay of a sound.
  • raddolcendo [Italian] Growing sweeter and calmer.
  • quintus [Latin] Term used in the 16th century for the fifth voice in a composition having five or more vocal parts. Sometimes it was a countermelody added on top of the usual four voices.
  • cantabile [Italian] Songful, in a singing style.
  • legatissimo [Italian] Very legato, extremely smooth and connected.
  • quadrille [French] An early 19th century ballroom dance for four or more couples.
  • grace note Ornamental note, often printed in small type.
  • gioioso [Italian] “Joyful”.
  • codetta [Italian] Literally, “little tail”. A passage similar to a coda, but on a smaller scale, concluding a section of a work instead of the work as a whole.
  • grand staff A combination of two staves with a brace, usually used for piano music.
  • art music Music implying advanced structural and theoretical considerations and a written musical tradition. It is frequently used as a contrasting term to popular music and folk music.