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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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

  • degree Any tone of the diatonic scale.
  • con furia [Italian] “With fury”.
  • affabilità [Italian] Literally, “affability”. A directive to perform with ease and elegance, in a pleasing and agreeable manner.
  • andante [Italian] Literally, “going”. A moderate tempo marking, usually around 76–108 BPM.
  • a due [Italian] For two voices or instruments; a duet. Also used to indicate that two instruments playing from the same part or score are to play in unison, after divisi or a solo passage for one of the instruments.
  • villanelle [French] A French term used in the 16th century for pastoral poems or songs. The term was later revived, and applied to compositions by later composers.
  • forefall An ascending appoggiatura.
  • difference tone A lower tone that is heard when two higher notes are played in such a way that the frequency of the difference tone is the difference of the frequencies of the other two notes.
  • presque [French] “Almost”.
  • non [Italian] “Not”.
  • big band A type of musical ensemble associated with playing jazz music and which became popular during the Swing Era from the early 1930s until the late 1940s. A big band typically consists of approximately 12 to 25 musicians and contains saxophones, trumpets, trombones and a rhythm section.
  • tiento [Spanish] A Spanish Renaissance composition resembling the ricercare or the fantasia.
  • scherzando [Italian] Literally, “joking”. A directive to perform in a lively, playful, animated manner.
  • spiccato [Italian] Very separated, detached.
  • klein [German] Literally, “little”. In reference to intervals, “minor“.