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


  • walking bass In baroque music, a bass line that moves steadily in a rhythm contrasting to that of the upper parts.
  • waltz Ballroom dance type in triple meter; in the Romantic era, a short, stylized piano piece.
  • Walzer [German] See waltz.
  • Wdhg. [German] See Wiederholung.
  • wedge See hairpin.
  • well-tempered A term applied to an instrument that is voiced and tuned satisfactorily, with the pitches, tone, and timbre having the desired quality of sound.
  • wenig [German] See poco.
  • weniger [German] “Less”.
  • werden [German] To become.
  • Werke ohne Opuszahl [German] “Works without opus number”. A catalogue prepared in 1955 by Harry Halm and Georg Kinsky, listing all of the compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven that were not originally published with an opus number, or survived only as fragments. The abbreviation is also used sometime to refer to works without opus by other composers.
  • white noise Sounds containing every audible frequency at approximately the same intensity.
  • whole note The note with the longest duration in currently used Western music notation.
  • whole tone An interval of two semitones, a major second.
  • whole tone scale A scale built entirely of whole tone intervals. Used commonly by the French impressionists.
  • Wiederholung [German] Repetition.
  • Wiegenlied [German] See lullaby.
  • Wiener Walzer [German] See Viennese waltz.
  • wind ensemble An instrumental ensemble consisting of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.
  • wind instrument Any instrument that produces sound by means of a column of air.
  • windway The pathway or duct in the mouthpiece of a edge-blown aerophone that directs the air stream over the fipple and onto the labium where the air is split and vibrates to produce a sound.
  • WoO [German] See Werke ohne Opuszahl.
  • woodwind A family of blown wooden musical instruments. Today some of these instruments are actually made from metal. The woodwind instruments commonly used in a symphony orchestra are flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, and bassoon.
  • woodwind quintet Standard chamber ensemble consisting of one each of the following: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn (not a woodwind instrument).
  • 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.
  • world music A 20th century term used by the music recording industry to categorize non-American music that does not fit into any of the established genres. This music tends to be folk music from outside of the United States of America.