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ADULT MUSIC EDUCATION

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GLOSSARY OF MUSICAL TERMS:

A - D

Accelerando


Accelerating, growing faster.




Accent


A stress, or added emphasis given to a note.




Accidental


Any chromatic sign nof found in the key signature, occurring in the course of a piece.




Adagio


Slow, leisurely.




Ad libitum


A direction signifying that performers may employ the tempo of expression that suits them.




Aeolian mode


A mode corresponding to the progression from A to A on the white keys of the piano; the order of intervals is: tone, semitone, tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone.




Affettuoso


With passion, emotion, feeling; very expressively; tenderly.




Agitato


Agitated.




Aisis


A double sharp.




Al fine


To finish.




Alla breve


A meter of 2/2; two minims per bar.




Allargando


Growing slower.




Allegretto


Quite lively; moderately fast (faster than andante, slower than allegro).




Allegro


Lively, swift.




Al segno


To the sign.




Anacrusis


Commencement of a piece or phrase on a weak beat, weak part of the bar or incomplete bar.




Andantino


A little slower than andante.




Animato


Animated, with spirit, vivaciously.




Andante


Going, moving, with movement; a tempo mark indicating a moderately slow, easily flowing movement between adagio and allegretto.




Antecedent


Any theme or motive propsed for imitation, or imitated further on. Also, the theme or subject of a canon or fugue, as proposed by the first part.




Arabesque


A type of fanciful piano piece.




Arpeggio


A broken chord; each note of a chord played in succession.




Articulation


The manner in which notes are joined one to another; or, on the piano, the way in which a note is depressed and released.




Assai


Very.




A tempo


In time; at the preceding rate of speed.




Attacca


Attack, or begin what follows without pausing.




Bagatelle


A trifle; usually, a short, fairly easy piece.




Ballade


A ballad-like art song, or an instrumental solo piece.




Bar


The metrical unit in a composition, comprising one set of a time signature.




Barline


A vertical line dividing bars on the staff.




Berceuse


A cradle song; lullaby.




Bravura


Boldess, spirit, dash, brilliance.




Breve


Short.




Brillante


Brilliant, showy, sparkling.




Cadence


The close or ending of a phrase, section, movement or piece.




Calando


Decreasing; growing softer and slower.




Cantabile


Singable, song-like; in a singing or vocal style.




Capo


Head, beginning.




Capriccio


An instrumental piece free in form.




Capriccioso


In a cparicious, fanciful, fantastic style.




Cédez


Go slower.




Celere


Rapid, swift.




Chromatic


Outside the scale, relating to tones foreign to a given key; opposed to diatonic.




Coda


Tail, ending.




Codetta


A short coda.




Con


With.




Consequent


The part imitating the antecedent or leader; in a canon, the follower.




Contrary motion


In opposite direction; parts progress in contrary motion when one moves up while the other moves down or, in piano music, when hands move either inwards or outwards together.




Crescendo


Swelling, increasing on loudness; gradually getting louder.




Crotchet


A quarter note.




Cut time


Alla breve.




Dal segno


From the sign.




Decrescendo


Decreasing in loudness; gradually getting softer.




Degree


One of the eight consecutive tones in a major or minor diatonic scale, counted upward from the keynote.




Delicato


Delicately; in a delicate, refined style.




Development


The working out, evolution or elaboration of a theme by presenting it in varied melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic treatment.




Diatonic


Of the scale; by, through, with, within, or embracing the tones of the standard major or minor scale.




Diluendo


Growing softer, dying away.




Diminuendo


Diminishing in loudness.




Distinamente


Distinctly.




Dolce


Sweet, soft.




Dolcissimo


Very sweetly, softly.




Doloroso


In a style expressive of pain or grief.




Dorian mode


The church mode that corresponds to the scale from D to D played on the white keys of the piano; the order of intervals is: tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone, tone.




Double bar


The two vertical lines drawn through the staff to indicate the end of a section, movement or piece.




Dynamics


The varying and contrasting degrees of intensity of loudness in musical tones; volume.




Dominant


The fifth tone in the major or minor scale.




Duplet


A group of two equal notes to be executed in the time of three of the same kind of notes in the established rhythm.





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