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 2463 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

  • quarter note A note having the time duration of one fourth of a whole note.
  • pavane [French] Stately Renaissance court dance in duple meter.
  • fipple The block, typically of wood, that forms the floor of the windway of an edge-blown aerophone.
  • passepied [French] A baroque dance in triple meter.
  • operetta [Italian] A less serious form of opera made up of spoken dialog, songs and dances.
  • hopak A folk Ukrainian dance, introduced to the orchestra by such composers as Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky.
  • estinto [Italian] Literally, “extinguished”. A directive to perform as soft as possible.
  • teneramente [Italian] Tenderly.
  • donna [Italian] Literally, “woman”, or “lady”. In opera, each of the principal female singers.
  • heftig [German] Vehement, boisterous.
  • minstrel A court musician or entertainer of the 12th through 17th centuries who performed professionally.
  • M.M. Marking typically found at the beginning of a composition, identifying the tempo of the composition in terms of beats per minute. This marking originally stood for “Mälzel Metronome”, but has since come to designate “Metronome Marking”.
  • slur A curved line drawn over or under a series of notes, indicating that those notes should be played legato.
  • raddolcendo [Italian] Growing sweeter and calmer.
  • pas de deux [French] An established item in ballet consisting of a dance performed by two dancers.