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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Some random terms

  • con forza [Italian] “With force”, vigorously.
  • envoi [French] A short final stanza of a ballade which serves as a summary or dedication.
  • suite [French] A work made up of a series of contrasting dance movements, generally all in the same key.
  • double [French] During the Baroque period, a repetition or variation of an air or a dance that adds extra notes and/or ornaments.
  • tonguing In the performance of wind instruments, the technique of using the tongue to produce certain sounds and effects, and especially the technique in which notes are attacked and articulated.
  • shape note Music notation system originating in nineteenth century American church music in which the shape of the note heads determines the pitch; created to aid music reading.
  • formalism The tendency to elevate the formal aspects above the expressive value in music, as in Neoclassical music.
  • ionian In the system of modes, the ionian mode is the one based on C; therefore, it is the modern major scale.
  • bagatelle [French] A short piece of music, typically for the piano, and usually of a light, mellow character. The term literally means a “trifle”, as a reference to the innocent character of the piece.
  • metrical modulation The shifting from one meter to another in the middle of a composition.
  • gig A term commonly applied to a musical engagement of one night's duration only.
  • ornament Musical flourishes that are not necessary to carry the overall line of the melody (or harmony), but serve instead to decorate or “ornament” that line. Many ornaments are performed as fast notes around a central note.
  • assai [Italian] Much, very much.
  • Übung [German] Exercise.
  • neoclassical Term applied to 20th century composers who use the forms and thematic processes of the classical era.