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 2432 terms from 12 languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Latin…

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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

  • raddolcendo [Italian] Growing sweeter and calmer.
  • syllabic The style of chant which sets one note to each syllable of text.
  • lento [Italian] Slow.
  • interval Difference in pitch between two notes.
  • word painting Musical depiction of words in text. Using the device of word painting, the music tries to imitate the emotion, action, or natural sounds as described in the text.
  • ambitus [Latin] A range of pitches for a given voice in a part of music. It may also denote the pitch range that a musical instrument is capable of playing.
  • motive The briefest intelligible and self-contained fragment of a musical theme or subject.
  • strain A division of a composition between two double bars. It can also be referred to as a section. A strain will typically contain a primary or secondary melody of the larger composition that is often repeated.
  • terraced dynamics Expressive style typical of some early music in which volume levels shift abruptly from soft to loud and back without gradual crescendos and decrescendos.
  • divertissment [French] A light, entertaining dance and music combination related to the divertimento.
  • suite [French] A work made up of a series of contrasting dance movements, generally all in the same key.
  • musique concrète [French] Music made up of natural sounds and sound effects that are recorded and then manipulated electronically.
  • con semplicità [Italian] “With simplicity”.
  • shanty A song sung by sailors while working on a ship. A shanty has a chorus, which is sung by all, and verses that are usually sung by one voice.
  • flebile [Italian] “Plaintive”.