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 2459 terms from 12 languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Latin…

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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

  • portamento [Italian] Literally, “carrying”. In singing or playing continuous-pitch instruments, the technique of gliding from one note to another without actually defining the intermediate notes: a smooth sliding between two pitches.
  • malinconico [Italian] Melancholic.
  • nocturne [French] A composition to be played at night in the open air. Also used by composers for piano and orchestral pieces that suggest some aspect of the night and are usually solemn and contemplative.
  • Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis [German] The numbering system identifying compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • calmo [Italian] Calm.
  • mainstream Music which is currently popular and in demand.
  • note A notational symbol used to represent the duration of a sound and, when placed on a music staff, to also indicate the pitch of the sound.
  • vivacissimamente [Italian] A directive to perform in a very lively or brisk manner.
  • avec [French] “With”.
  • bravura [Italian] Literally, “skill”. Great dexterity and skill in execution.
  • ronde [French] Lively Renaissance round dance or country dance associated with the outdoors, in which the participants danced in a circle or a line.
  • lamentoso [Italian] Like a lament, plaintive.
  • burlesque [French] A humorous composition, usually involving parody or grotesque exaggeration.
  • concert A public musical performance.
  • maestoso [Italian] Majestic.