Glossary of musical terminology
This is a list of musical terms that are likely to be encountered in printed scores, music reviews, and program notes. Most of the terms are Italian (see also Italian musical terms used in English), i...
A cappella
A cappella (Italian for "in the manner of the church" or "in the manner of the chapel") music is specifically group or solo singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be perfor...
A cappella - Wikipedia
A capriccio
A capriccio (Italian: "following one's fancy") is a tempo marking indicating a free and capricious approach to the tempo (and possibly the style) of the piece. This marking will usually modify anothe...
A capriccio - Wikipedia
A due
A due in Italian or à deux in French is a musical direction meaning "for two". Most often seen in its abbreviated form a2, the marking signifies that on a staff that normally carries parts for two pla...
Rhythm
Rhythm (from Greek ῥυθμός, rhythmos, "any regular recurring motion, symmetry" (Liddell and Scott 1996)) generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or o...
Rhythm - Wikipedia
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo ("time" in Italian; plural: tempi) is the speed or pace of a given piece.
A piece of music's tempo is typically written at the start of the score, and in modern Weste...
Tempo - Wikipedia
Ornament (music)
In music, ornaments or embellishments are musical flourishes that are not necessary to carry the overall line of the melody (or harmony), but serve instead to decorate or "ornament" that line. Many or...
Ornament (music) - Wikipedia
Grace note
A grace note is a kind of music notation used to denote several kinds of musical ornaments, usually printed smaller to indicate that it is melodically and harmonically nonessential. When occurring by ...
Grace note - Wikipedia
Acoustic music
Acoustic music is music that solely or primarily uses instruments that produce sound through acoustic means, as opposed to electric or electronic means. The retronym "acoustic music" appeared after th...
Electric instrument
An electric musical instrument is one in which the use of electric devices determines or affects the sound produced by an instrument. It is also known as an amplified musical instrument due to the com...
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production, an electronic musician being a musician who composes and/or performs such music...
Electronic music - Wikipedia
Ad libitum
Ad libitum is Latin for "at one's pleasure" (at liberty); it is often shortened to "ad lib" (as an adjective or adverb) or "ad-lib" (as a verb or noun). The roughly synonymous phrase a bene placito ("...
Ad libitum - Wikipedia
Doctrine of the affections
The doctrine of the affections, also known as the doctrine of affects, doctrine of the passions, theory of the affects, or by the German term Affektenlehre (after the German Affekt; plural Affekte) wa...
Tempo rubato
Tempo rubato (free in the presentation, Italian for: stolen time) is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece a...
Polonaise
The polonaise (Polish: polonez) is a dance of Polish origin, in 3/4 time. Its name is French for "Polish."The polonaise had a rhythm quite close to that of the Swedish semiquaver or sixteenth-note...
Polonaise - Wikipedia
Ambitus
In ancient Roman law, ambitus was a crime of political corruption, mainly a candidate's attempt to influence the outcome of an election through bribery or other forms of soft power. The Latin word amb...
Anacrusis
In poetry and music, and by analogy in other fields, an anacrusis (plural anacruses) is a brief introduction.
In poetry, a set of extrametrical syllables at the beginning of a verse is said to sta...
Andamento
Andamento is an Italian musical term used to refer to a fugue subject of above average length.
The term was coined by G.B. Martini in the second volume of his work Esemplare, ossia Saggio fondamen...
Antiphon
An antiphon (Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί "opposite" and φωνή "voice") in Christian music and ritual is a responsory by a choir or congregation, usually in the form of a Gregorian chant, to a psalm or other ...
Antiphon - Wikipedia
Refrain
A refrain (from Vulgar Latin refringere, "to repeat", and later from Old French refraindre) is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song. Poetic fixed forms that...
Pizzicato
Pizzicato (/ˌpɪtsɪˈkɑːtoʊ/; Italian: pizzicato, translated as pinched, and sometimes roughly as plucked)is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact ...
Pizzicato - Wikipedia
Aria
An aria (Italian: air; plural: arie, or arias in common usage, diminutive form arietta) in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term beca...
Arioso
In classical music, arioso is a type of solo vocal piece, usually occurring in an opera or oratorio, falling somewhere between recitative and aria in style. Literally, arioso means airy. The term aro...
Arpeggio
An arpeggio (it. [arˈpeddʒo]) is a musical technique where notes in a chord are played or sung in sequence, one after the other, rather than ringing out simultaneously. This word comes from th...
Arpeggio - Wikipedia
Harp
The harp is a stringed musical instrument which has a number of individual strings running at an angle to its soundboard, which are plucked with the fingers. Harps have been known since antiquity in A...
Harp - Wikipedia
Chord (music)
A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may, for many practic...
Chord (music) - Wikipedia