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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Some random terms

  • choro [Portuguese] Literally, “cry”, or “lament”. Brazilian popular music instrumental style, born in 19th-century Rio de Janeiro. In spite of the name, the style has often a fast and happy rhythm, characterized by the improvisations of the musician.
  • riff In pop and jazz compositions, a short ostinato, two to four bars long. A prominent feature of jazz music.
  • fauxbourdon [French] A technique of musical harmonization used in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. It consists of the cantus firmus and two other parts a sixth and a perfect fourth below.
  • dolce [Italian] Sweet, soft, with tender emotion.
  • swing A style of jazz playing whose flexible, improvised rhythms resist notation.
  • retrograde Backward statement of a melody.
  • ternary form A three-part musical structure (ABA) based on statement (A), contrast (B) and repetition (A).
  • lentissimo [Italian] Very slow.
  • chromatic Any music or chord that contains notes not belonging to the diatonic scale.
  • moderato [Italian] A moderate tempo, faster than andante but slower than allegretto, usually around 100–120 BPM.
  • reel Moderately quick dance in duple meter danced throughout the British Isles; the most popular Irish traditional dance type.
  • klein [German] Literally, “little”. In reference to intervals, “minor“.
  • program music Music intended to evoke extra-musical ideas, images in the mind of the listener by musically representing a scene, image or mood. By contrast, absolute music stands for itself and is intended to be appreciated without any particular reference to the outside world.
  • blues African-American music genre, characterized by simple repetitive structures and by the use of the blues chord progressions and the blue notes.
  • dodecaphony Ensuring that all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are sounded as often as one another in a piece of music while preventing the emphasis of any.