Multilingual Music Glossary
Found a word you don't know? No problem. Look it up in the Music Glossary!
We are currently providing explanations for 2433 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
- pasticcio A composition assembled from passages taken from numerous other sources by various composers.
- 8va A directive to perform an octave higher than written.
- libretto A “little book” that contains the complete text of an opera, oratorio, and so forth.
- grunge rock Contemporary Seattle-based rock style characterized by harsh guitar chords; hybrid of punk rock and heavy metal.
- lydian The church mode based on F, containing the notes of the C major scale, yet using F as the tonic.
- thirty-second note A note having the time duration of one thirty-second of a whole note.
- chord A set of three or more (according to certain definitions, even two) different notes that sound simultaneously.
- quadrille An early 19th century ballroom dance for four or more couples.
- galliard Lively triple-meter French court dance.
- Ausdrucksvoll Expressive.
- malinconico Melancholic.
- patter song A comic song in opera and operetta, characterized by a moderately fast to very fast tempo with a rapid succession of rhythmic patterns in which each syllable of text corresponds to one note (there are few or no melismatic passages).
- canzone Literally, “song”. An Italian or Provençal song or ballad. It is also used to describe a type of lyric which resembles a madrigal. Sometimes a composition which is simple and songlike is designated as a canzone, especially if it is by a non-Italian.
- tertian harmony Term applied to harmony which is based upon the interval of the third.
- rigaudon A lively French dance, originally a folk dance but also a court dance and an instrumental form, in duple meter.