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 2483 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

  • mediant The third note of a diatonic scale.
  • piccolo [Italian] Literally, “small”. A small flute that sounds an octave above the regular flute, and also an octave above its written music.
  • Longo numbers A numbering system identifying keyboard sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti.
  • mesto [Italian] Sad.
  • minimalist music Contemporary musical style featuring the repetition of short melodic, rhythmic and harmonic patterns with little variation.
  • recitativo secco [Italian] Recitative accompanied only by continuo.
  • Noël [French] Christmas.
  • libretto [Italian] A “little book” that contains the complete text of an opera, oratorio, and so forth.
  • Klavier [German] A keyboard instrument; usually, a piano.
  • motive The briefest intelligible and self-contained fragment of a musical theme or subject.
  • tonic The note upon which a scale or key is based.
  • ballata [Italian] A type of fourteenth-century italian secular song, similar to the French virelai.
  • exposition The first statement of a theme.
  • ober [German] Upper, higher.
  • homophony Music in which one voice leads melodically followed by the other voices more or less in the same rhythm. In contrast with polyphony.