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GLOSSARY OF MUSICAL TERMS:

O - R

Oblique motion


A type of progression in two-part counterpoint in which one voice moves and the other remains stationary.




Octave


1. A series of eight consecutive diatonic tones. 2. The interval between the first and eighth tones of such a series.




Opus


Work; often written Op. or op. Opus number, one number in the series with which a composer traditionally marks his or her works.




Ornament


An embellishment.




Ossia


Or; or else; indicates an alternative reading or fingering of a passage.




Ostinato


Obstinate; the incessant repetition of a theme.




Ottava


Octave; written 8va---- or 8---- to be played an octave higher; written 8va bassa---- or 8vb---- or 8 bassa---- to be played an octave lower.




Parallel motion


Voice leading in harmony or counterpoint in which intervals move in the same direction.




Passage


1. A portion or section of a piece, usually short. 2. A rapid repeated figure, either ascending or descending.




Passing notes or tones


Notes or tones foreign to the chords which they accompany, and passing by a step from one to another.




Pasticcio (It.) Pastiche (Fr.)


A musical medly of extracts from different works, pieced together an provided with new words so as to form a "new" composition.




Pedal note or tone


A sustained or continuously repeated note (tone).




Perdendosi


Dying away.




Peu à peu


Little by little.




Pesante


Heavy, ponderous; firm, vigorous.




Pezzi


Pieces.




Phrase


A short figure or passage unbroken in continuity and thus complete in itself.




Phrase mark


A curved line connecting the notes of a phrase.




Pezzo


Piece




Phrygian mode


The church mode corresponding to the scale from E to E on the white keys of a piano; the order of intervals is: tone-tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone-semitone.




Piacevole


Pleasant, agreeable.




Pianissimo


Very soft; abbreviated pp.




Piano


Soft, softly; abbreviated p.




Piccanteria, con


With piquant, sprightly expression.




Pietoso


Pitiful, moving.




Piu


More.




Pivot chord


In modulation, a chord pivotal to both the old key and the new key.




Placidamente


Placidly, tranquilly.




Placid


Placid, smooth.




Plein


Full.




Pochissimo


Very little.




Poco


Little. A poco a poco, little by little.




Polka


A lively round dance in 2/4 time.




Polonaise


A dance of Polish origin, in 3/4 time and moderate tempo.




Polymetre


The simultaneous presence of musical lines in different meters.




Polyphony


The combination in harmonious progression of two of more independent melodies.




Polyrhythm


The simultaneous presence two or more conflicting transient rhythms.




Polytonality


The simultaneous use of two or more different tonalities or keys.




Pomposo


Pompously, loftily.




Ponderoso


Ponderous.




Posato


Sedate, dignified.




Presedente


Preceding.




Preciso


With precision.




Prelude


A musical introduction to a composition or drama.




Pressando


Pressing on, accelerating.




Pressez


Accelerate; go faster.




Prestissimo


Very rapidly.




Presto


Fast, rapid.




Primary accent


The downbeat. or thesis; the accent beginning the bar.




Progression


The advance from one tone to another (melodic) or from one chord to another (harmonic).




Pronto


Promptly, swiftly.




Pronunziato


Pronounced, marked.




Quadruplet


A group of four exual notes, to be executed in the time of three or six of the same kind of notes in the established rhythm.




Quasi


As if; nearly; approaching.




Quaver


An eighth note.




Quintuplet


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




Rallentando


To grow slower.




Rapido


With rapidity: rapidly.




Rasch


Fast, rapid, swift.




Recapitulation


A return of the initial section of a movement in sonata form.




Recitando


In declamatory style.




Refrain


A recurring melody of a song, usually at the end of a stanza: in popular music, a chorus.




Religioso


In a devotional style.




Reprise


A repeat.




Rest


A notated duration indicating a pause or interval of silence.




Riff


A short melodic phrase repeated throughout a piece of music. If may also be a characteristic phrase used by an individual musician in various different pieces, as a "musical signature".




Ritardando


Growing slower and slower.




Pensoso


Pensive, thoughtful.




Rigoroso


In strict time.




Risoluto


In a resolute, vigorous, decided style.




Ritenuto


Held back; at a slower rate of speed.




Rondo


An instrumental piece in which the leading theme (A) is repeated, alternating with the others. A typical pattern, with letters representing thematic sections, is: A-B-A-C-A-B-A




Root


The lowest note of a chord in the fundamental position.




Rubato


Robbed; meaning an expressive quickening or slackening from the tempo, usually without alterating the overall pace.




Ruhig


Quiet, calm, tranquil.




Rührung


Emotion





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