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

D

  • D.C. [Italian] See da capo.
  • D.S. [Italian] See dal segno.
  • D♯ roller An optional feature added to the E♭ key of a flute, facilitating the movements of the little finger.
  • da capo [Italian] Literally, “from the beginning”. A directive to go back to the beginning of the composition.
  • da capo aria [Italian] A lyric song in A-B-A form, commonly found in operas, cantatas and oratorios.
  • da niente [Italian] See dal niente.
  • dal niente [Italian] Literally, “from nothing”. Out of silence.
  • dal segno [Italian] A directive to go back to a specific place of a composition, marked by a sign.
  • dampen A directive to muffle, deaden or restrain the tone of an instrument.
  • dämpfen [German] See dampen.
  • dance Any physical movements done to music.
  • danse [French] See dance.
  • danza [Italian] See dance.
  • dasselbe Zeitmaß [German] See l'istesso tempo.
  • Dauer [German] See duration.
  • dB See decibel.
  • dead note See false note.
  • decani [Latin] In Anglican church music, referring to the half of the choir sitting on the dean's side of the church.
  • decay The time that it takes for a note to die away once the musician has stopped producing the sound.
  • decibel A logarithmic unit for measuring the intensity of sound, corresponding to the listener's perception of loudness.
  • decisivo [Italian] See deciso.
  • deciso [Italian] Decided, bold.
  • decr. [Italian] See diminuendo.
  • decrescendo [Italian] See diminuendo.
  • deel [Dutch] See movement.
  • degré [French] See degree.
  • degree Any tone of the diatonic scale.
  • demi [French] “Half”.
  • demi-ton [French] See semitone.
  • demisemiquaver See thirty-second note.
  • descant See treble.
  • dessus [French] See treble.
  • détaché [French] Not slurred.
  • determinato [Italian] See deciso.
  • deux [French] “Two”.
  • devil in music See diabolus in musica.
  • di molto [Italian] “By much”.
  • di sopra [Italian] See sopra.
  • diabolus in musica [Latin] Literally, “the devil in music”. A medieval name for the tritone.
  • diatonic Melody or harmony built from the seven tones of a major or minor scale.
  • diatonic scale A seven note musical scale, consisting of five whole steps and two half steps.
  • diatonico [Italian] See diatonic.
  • diatoninen [Finnish] See diatonic.
  • diatonique [French] See diatonic.
  • diatonische [German] See diatonic.
  • diatonisk [Swedish] See diatonic.
  • dièse [French] See sharp.
  • diesis [Italian] See sharp.
  • difference tone A lower tone that is heard when two higher notes are played in such a way that the frequency of the difference tone is the difference of the frequencies of the other two notes.
  • digitación [Spanish] See fingering.
  • dim. [Italian] See diminuendo.
  • dimin. [Italian] See diminuendo.
  • diminuendo [Italian] A directive to smoothly decrease the volume.
  • diminution A Renaissance and Baroque ornamentation which consists of the restatement of a melody in which the note values are shortened, usually by half.
  • direct See custos.
  • direct motion Similar or parallel motion in which two or more parts rise or fall in the same direction simultaneously.
  • dirge A generic term used for a composition designed specifically for a funeral or in commemoration of the dead.
  • discant See treble.
  • discantus [Latin] See treble.
  • disco Commercial dance music popular in the 1970s, characterized by strong percussion in a quadruple meter.
  • discord See dissonance.
  • discordant See dissonance.
  • disgiunto [Italian] See disjunct.
  • disjoint [French] See disjunct.
  • disjunct A melodic line that moves by leaps and skips rather than in steps.
  • disjunto [Spanish] See disjunct.
  • disonancia [Spanish] See dissonance.
  • dispersed harmony Harmony in which the notes which form the various chords are widely dispersed.
  • dissonance Any interval or chord that sounds impure, harsh, or unstable.
  • dissonant See dissonance.
  • Dissonanz [German] See dissonance.
  • dissonanza [Italian] See dissonance.
  • distante [Italian] See lointain.
  • diteggiatura [Italian] See fingering.
  • divertimento [Italian] Instrumental composition intended for entertainment, usually in a number of movements. The term is used particularly in the second half of the 18th century.
  • divertissment [French] A light, entertaining dance and music combination related to the divertimento.
  • divisi [Italian] Literally, “divided”. A directive in ensemble music that instructs one section to divide into two or more separate sections, each playing a separate part. Often these separate parts are written on the same staff.
  • Dixie See Dixieland.
  • Dixieland An early style of jazz originating in the early 20th century in New Orleans with a simple, cheerful character.
  • do central [French] See middle C.
  • do centrale [Italian] See middle C.
  • dobbeltkryds [Danish] See double sharp.
  • dobbeltslag [Danish] See turn.
  • dobbelttrille [Danish] See double trill.
  • doble bemol [Spanish] See double flat.
  • doble redonda [Spanish] See double whole note.
  • doble sostenido [Spanish] See double sharp.
  • 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.
  • doigté [French] See fingering.
  • dol. [Italian] See dolce.
  • dolce [Italian] Sweet, soft, with tender emotion.
  • dolcissimo [Italian] Very sweet, very soft.
  • dolente [Italian] Sorrowful.
  • doloroso [Italian] Sorrowful, painful.
  • dominant The fifth degree of a diatonic scale.
  • donna [Italian] Literally, “woman”, or “lady”. In opera, each of the principal female singers.
  • dopo [Italian] “After”.
  • doppel [German] “Double”.
  • Doppel-B [German] See double flat.
  • Doppelganze [German] See double whole note.
  • Doppelganzenote [German] See double whole note.
  • Doppelkreuz [German] See double sharp.
  • Doppelschlag [German] See turn.
  • Doppeltriller [German] See double trill.
  • doppio [Italian] “Double”.
  • doppio bemolle [Italian] See double flat.
  • doppio diesis [Italian] See double sharp.
  • doppio trillo [Italian] See double trill.
  • dorian A mode used in Gregorian chant based upon the second tone of the major scale. In the key of C, the Dorian mode would be based on D, and would include D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D.
  • dosillo [Spanish] See duplet.
  • dotted note A note that has a dot placed to the right of the notehead, indicating that the duration of the note should be increased by half again its original duration.
  • double bémol [French] See double flat.
  • double croche [French] See sixteenth note.
  • double dièse [French] See double sharp.
  • double exposition In a concerto, a twofold statement of the theme, once by the orchestra and once by the soloist.
  • double flat An accidental sign consisting of two flat symbols, that lowers a note by two semitones.
  • double note See double whole note.
  • double ronde [French] See double whole note.
  • double sharp An accidental sign (‛x’) that raises a note by two semitones.
  • double tonguing A technique used in playing the flute and brass instruments which allows notes to be played in rapid succession. It is achieved by rapidly forming the consonants “T” and “K” in quick succession.
  • double trill A simultaneous trill on two notes, usually in the distance of a third.
  • double whole note A note twice as long as a whole note. Mainly used in pre-1650 music.
  • douce [French] See dolce.
  • doucement [French] Softly.
  • downbeat The first beat of a measure, the strongest in any meter.
  • dramatic soprano A soprano voice type with a heavier tone color and more power throughout her range.
  • dramma giocoso [Italian] A kind of comic opera originating around 1750, with sentimental or pathetic plots bordering on tragedy rather than the traditional lighthearted comic plots.
  • Dreiklang [German] See triad.
  • driedelige maatsoort [Dutch] See triple meter.
  • drone A harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout much or all of a piece, sustained or repeated.
  • dry recitative See recitativo secco.
  • dubbelbe [Swedish] See double flat.
  • dubbeldrill [Swedish] See double trill.
  • dubbele triller [Dutch] See double trill.
  • dubbelkors [Swedish] See double sharp.
  • dubbelkruis [Dutch] See double sharp.
  • dubbelmol [Dutch] See double flat.
  • dubbelslag [Dutch] See turn.
  • dubbelslag [Swedish] See turn.
  • duct flute A type of flute, whose pitch is produced by an air column moving through a channel, or duct, and directed to strike a sharp edge or lip causing the air column to split and vibrate. Several types of duct flutes include recorder, flageolet, penny whistle, whistle flute and slide whistle.
  • duet A composition for two performers.
  • duetto [Italian] See duet.
  • duina [Italian] See duplet.
  • dump A slow, melancholic old English dance, usually in 4/4 time.
  • dumpe See dump.
  • duo [Italian] See duet.
  • duol [Swedish] See duplet.
  • Duole [German] See duplet.
  • duolet [French] See duplet.
  • duoli [Finnish] See duplet.
  • duool [Dutch] See duplet.
  • duple meter A rhythmic pattern with the the number of beats per measure being divisible by two.
  • duplet A group of two notes played in the time usually taken to play three.
  • Dur [German] See major.
  • dur [French] Literally, “hard”. With a harsh or ungraceful tone.
  • durata [Italian] See duration.
  • duration The length of time that a note is sounded or a rest (silence) is observed.
  • Durchkomponiert [German] See through-composed.
  • durée [French] See duration.
  • duur [Dutch] See duration.
  • duuri [Finnish] See major.
  • dwarsfluit [Dutch] See flute.
  • dynamics The softness or loudness of a sound or note.