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 2472 terms from 12 languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Latin…

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Some random terms

  • key On a woodwind instrument, the keys are the metal disks that close or open soundholes by means of levers operated by the performer's fingers.
  • sono [Italian] Sound.
  • staccato [Italian] A style of playing notes in a detached, separated, distinct manner, as opposed to legato.
  • piano [Italian] Softly, quietly.
  • garbato [Italian] Kind, amiable, graceful
  • sentimento [Italian] Feeling, emotion.
  • passamezzo [Italian] A 16th and 17th century Italian dance similar to or identical to the pavane.
  • lacrimoso [Italian] Tearful.
  • prima donna [Italian] Literally, “first lady”. Term used in opera for the principal female singer of the opera or of the opera company.
  • nicht [German] “Not“.
  • rhythm and blues An American music style popular between the 1940s and 1960s. Generally played by a lead vocalist or instrumentalist, a rhythm section, and an ensemble of voices, wind instruments, or guitar. Most R&B is vocal, in quadruple time, and in a major key, but characterized by blue notes.
  • bar Each of the lines drawn perpendicularly across the staff to divide it into measures. In common usage the term may also mean measure.
  • 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.
  • rhapsody A one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colors and tonalities.
  • multiphonics The technique of performing two or more tones simultaneously on an instrument that is designed to produce only one tone at a time, like the flute.