Multilingual Music Glossary
- f See forte.
- faburden A 15th-century English technique of improvising two parts around the main melody of a cantus firmus. The first part would be sung a third below the melody, except for a few notes that would be a fifth below; the second part would be sung a fourth above the main melody.
- facile “Easy”.
- fadinho See fado.
- fado A type of street song and dance of Portugal, usually accompanied by a guitar.
- false bass See fauxbourdon.
- false note A muted or dampened note that has rhythm but often no discernible pitch.
- falsetto Vocal technique whereby men can sing above their normal range, producing a lighter sound.
- falso bordone See fauxbourdon.
- family A grouping of instruments which produce sound in the same manner and are constructed in the same way but in different sizes, such as the flute family, the clarinet family, the violin family and so on.
- fandango A lively folk and flamenco couple-dance, usually in triple meter, traditionally accompanied by guitars and castanets or hand-clapping.
- fanfare A short, lively, loud, militaristic composition, usually composed for brass instruments and percussions.
- fantaisie See fantasia.
- fantasia Free instrumental piece of fairly large dimensions, in an improvisational style.
- farce A comedy which aims to entertain the audience by means of extravagant and improbable situations.
- farsa See farce.
- fauxbourdon 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.
- feierlich Solemn.
- Feldmusik Music performed outdoors on wind instruments.
- fermaatti See fermata.
- fermat See fermata.
- fermata An element of musical notation indicating that a note should be sustained for longer than its note value would indicate.
- Fermate See fermata.
- fertig Dexterous, nimble, quick.
- festivo Merry, festive.
- ff See fortissimo.
- fff See fortississimo.
- ffp See fortissimo-piano.
- ffz See sforzando.
- fiddle A name for the violin, especially when used to perform folk music.
- fier See fiero.
- fieramente See fiero.
- fiero Proud, haughty, noble.
- fife A small flute with a narrower bore, thus producing a higher, more piercing sound than a flute. Generally used in military bands.
- fifth An interval of five diatonic degrees, counting the first and last degree.
- figure A short musical phrase.
- figured bass A method of indicating an accompaniment part by the bass notes only, together with figures designating the chief chords to be played above the bass notes.
- fin See fine.
- finale The last movement in a composition of several movements.
- fine Literally, “end”. An indication of where a composition ends when there is a repeat.
- fingering The methodical use of fingers in the playing of instruments.
- fingersättning See fingering.
- Fingersatz See fingering.
- fingersætning See fingering.
- fioritura See ornament.
- fipple The block, typically of wood, that forms the floor of the windway of an edge-blown aerophone.
- fipple flute See duct flute.
- fireogtredsindstyvendedelsnode See sixty-fourth note.
- first chair See principal.
- fixed form A form in which the poetic structure determines musical repetitions.
- flageolet A simple recorder with four finger holes, popular in the 17th century in England.
- flamenco A genre of dance and music characterized by its use of modes, its unusual rhythm patterns and its use of guitar accompaniment.
- flat An accidental symbol that lowers the pitch of a note by a semitone.
- flatt. See fluttertonguing.
- flatter. See fluttertonguing.
- Flatterzunge See fluttertonguing.
- flauta baixo See bass flute.
- flauta baja See bass flute.
- flauta de pico See recorder.
- flauta travesera See flute.
- flauto basso See bass flute.
- flauto contralto See alto flute.
- flauto diritto See recorder.
- flauto dolce See recorder.
- flauto traverso See flute.
- flautone See alto flute.
- flebile “Plaintive”.
- flessibile Flexible.
- florid Rich, embellished.
- Flöte See flute.
- flt. See fluttertonguing.
- flue See windway.
- flute A woodwind instrument that is held horizontally and sounded by blowing across the mouthpiece of the instrument.
- flûte à bec See recorder.
- flûte alto See alto flute.
- flûte douce See recorder.
- flûte traversière See flute.
- fluttertonguing Wind instrument technique in which the tongue is fluttered or trilled against the roof of the mouth.
- flz. See fluttertonguing.
- fois “Time”, as in “first time” (première fois) or “second time” (deuxieme fois).
- folk music See traditional music.
- foot joint The last section of a flute, played farthest towards the right.
- forefall An ascending appoggiatura.
- form The structure of a composition, the frame upon which it is constructed.
- formalism The tendency to elevate the formal aspects above the expressive value in music, as in Neoclassical music.
- forme fixe See fixed form.
- forsiring See ornament.
- forslag See appoggiatura.
- förslag See appoggiatura.
- forte “Loud”.
- fortepiano A dynamic marking (fp) directing the performer to attack the written note at the dynamic level of forte (loud) followed by an immediate decrease in volume to piano (soft).
- fortissimo Very loud, louder than forte.
- fortissimo-piano A dynamic marking (ffp) indicating that the marked note should be attacked very loudly, instantly diminishing to a much softer volume.
- fortississimo Extremely loud, louder than fortissimo.
- forza See con forza.
- forzando See sforzando.
- forzato See sforzando.
- fourth An interval of four diatonic scale tones, counting the first and last tone.
- foxtrot Ballroom dance popular in the 19th century.
- fp See fortepiano.
- fragmentation The technique of developing a theme by dividing it into smaller units; most common in the music of the Viennese Classicists.
- frais See fresco.
- frase See phrase.
- fraseeraus See phrasing.
- fraseggio See phrasing.
- fraseo See phrasing.
- frasering See phrasing.
- French model A flute with pointed French-style arms and open-hole finger keys, as distinguished from the plateau style with closed holes.
- frequency Rate of vibration of a string or column of air, which determines pitch. Usually measured in Hertz (Hz).
- fresco “Fresh”, vigorous, lively.
- frisch See fresco.
- fröhlich See allegro.
- frottola A secular song that was popular in Italy in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, direct predecessor of the madrigal.
- frullato See fluttertonguing.
- fuga See fugue.
- fugato In the style of a fugue.
- fugue Polyphonic form popular in the Baroque era in which one or more themes are developed by imitative counterpoint.
- fundamental The base note upon which a chord is built.
- fundamental A base pitch from which a series of harmonics is produced.
- fundamental position See root position.
- funk American musical style that originated in the 1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, soul jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music.
- fuoco See con fuoco.
- furioso “Furious”.
- fusa See thirty-second note.
- fusion Style that combines jazz improvisation with amplified instruments of rock.
- fz See sforzando.