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 2480 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

  • doppel [German] “Double”.
  • symphonie concertante [French] A musical genre of the late 18th and early 19th centuries that resembles a concerto for two to four solo instruments. It is a composition in two or three movements of a lighthearted character, usually in a major key. The genre features a few solo instruments and orchestra.
  • Lombard rhythm A rhythm associated primarily with baroque music, generally consisting of a stressed sixteenth note followed by a dotted eighth note.
  • sentimento [Italian] Feeling, emotion.
  • suite [French] A work made up of a series of contrasting dance movements, generally all in the same key.
  • anonymous A person whose name is unknown.
  • root position The position of a chord when the base pitch of the chord is in the lowest voice.
  • ad libitum [Latin] Literally, “at will”. At the discretion of the performer. At pleasure, changing the tempo of a particular passage. Sometimes, a part that may be omitted if desired.
  • opus [Latin] A number, often assigned by a publisher, used to classify a particular work of a composer.
  • triple meter A metrical pattern having three beats to a measure.
  • fortissimo-piano [Italian] A dynamic marking (ffp) indicating that the marked note should be attacked very loudly, instantly diminishing to a much softer volume.
  • Trommelbass [German] Literally, “drum-bass”. A bass line that contains steady, constant, repeated notes.
  • dolcissimo [Italian] Very sweet, very soft.
  • crescendo [Italian] A directive to smoothly increase the volume.
  • post-modern A term adopted around the mid-1970s to describe our current eclectic, experimental age.