Music Definitions

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

Instrument

Instrument
Brass
Percussion
String
Woodwind

Musical Elements

Rhythm
Melody
Harmony
Orchestration
Structure

Style

Style
Articulations
Dynamics

History

Composer
Time Periods

Languages

French
German
Italian
Russian
Other
Filter Definitions

A

A Piacera
Translates to "at pleasure"; signifies to the performer to use his/her discression in determining the tempo and exact rhythms
A Tempo
Resume the previous tempo; often used after a ritardando, rallentando, ritueno, stringendo, or accelerando
Accelerando
Acceleration of the tempo; similar to stringendo; often abbreviated to accel.
Adagio
Slowly, 66–76 BPM
Adagietto
A faster adagio, 72–76 BPM
Affettuoso
Translates to "affectionate"; play with feeling and emotion
Agitato
Agitated
All' Ongarese
Alla
In the style of
Alla Breve
Alla Marcia
In the style of a march
Allargando
Broadening, widening; results in a decrease of tempo
Allegretto
Somewhat fast, 112–120 BPM
Allegrissimo
High spirits, 172–176 BPM
Allegro
Fast, 120–168 BPM
Allegro Moderato
Moderately fast, 116–120 BPM
Allegro Vivace
Very fast, 172–176 BPM
Andante
Walking speed, 76–108 BPM
Andente Moderato
Slower than moderato but faster than andente, 92–112 BPM
Andantino
A faster andante, 80–108 BPM
Animato
Animated, lively
Appassionato
Play with passion
Appena
Barely, hardly, just
Arpa
Italian for harp
Assai
Very
Au Mouvement
Return to the first tempo
Ausdruck
Translates to "expressive" from German
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B

Bacchette di Conchiglia Sospese
Italian for wind chimes made of shells
Bacchette di Legno Sospese
Italian for wind chimes made of wood
Bacchette di Metallo Sospese
Italian for wind chimes made of metal
Bacchette di Vetro Sospese
Italian for wind chimes made of glass
Batteria
Italian for percussion
Beat
The fundamental unit of time for music and is often reffered to as the pulse
Bewegt
Translates to "animated" from German. Play with motion; in reference to tempo
Beats Per Minute (BPM)
A number that represents the number of beats that occur in a minute
Ben
Well
Blocchi Cinesi
Italian for temple block
Blocchi di Legno Coreani
Italian for temple blocks
Blocco di Legno
Italian for wood block
Bonghi
Italian for multiple bongo drums
Bravura
Translates to "cleverness"; signals to play broadly
Breiter
Broader (not brighter)
Brillante
Brilliant, bright
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C

Calando
1. Decreasing, falling, diminishing, dying away
2. Slowing down
Campanacci
Italian for cowbells
Campane da Pastore
Italian for almglocken
Campane Tubolari
Italian for tubular bells
Campanelli
Italian for glockenspiel
Campanelle di Vacca
Italian for cowbells
Cantabile
Lyrically
Cassetina
Italian for wood block
Castagnette
Italian for castanet
Cimbalini
Italian for fingerCymbals
Clarinetto
Italian for clarinet
Clarinetto Basso
Italian for bass clarinet
Clarinetto Piccolo in mi♭
Italian for E♭ clarinet
Con
With
Con Bravura
With skill
Con Brio
With spirit
Con Dolcezza
With gentleness
Con Fuoco
With fire
Con Moto
With motion
Contrabasso
Italian for double bass
Contrafagotto
Italian for Contrabassoon
Corno
Italian for french horn
Corno Inglese
Italian for english horn
Crotali
Italian for antique cymbals
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D

Dampfer
muted
Deciso
Decidedly
Dolce
Sweet, gentle
Dolcissimo
Very sweet and gentle
Doppio Più Lento
Translates to "double slower"; half the tempo
Doppio Movimento
Translates to "double movement"; double the tempo
Doppio Più Mosso
Translates to "double, more motion"; double the tempo
Dynamic
The volume at which an instrument is played
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E

Energico
Energetic, vigorous, strong
Eroico
Heroic
Espressivo
Expressive, soulful
Etwas
German for "somewhat"
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F

Fagotto
Italian for bassoon
Family
A defined group of instruments that share a similarity
Feierlich
Solemn
Flauto
Italian for flute
Flauto Contralto
Italian for alto flute
Flauto Piccolo
Italian for piccolo
Flessatono
Italian for flexatone
Fiati
Woodwind in Italian. Same as legni
Forte \(\left( f \right)\)
A musical dynamic that denotes to play strongly or loudly
Fortissimo \(\left( ff \right)\)
A musical dynamic that denotes to play very strongly or very loudly
Frusta
Italian for slapstick
Fugato
A section of music in the style of a fugue within a non-fugal piece
Furioso
Furious, raging
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G

Gemachlich
Very comfortable and easy
Gestopft
Stopped. Indicates that a horn player should play the note stopped
Giocoso
Playful
Gioioso
Joyful, cheerful, festive
(Gran) Cassa
Italian for bass drum
Grandioso
Grand, great, magnificent, stately
Grave
Seriously, 25–40 BPM
Grazioso
Pretty, graceful
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H

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I

Immer
Always or constant. Similar to sempre from Italian
In Modo
Translates to "so as"; in the style of
Incalzando
Translates to "creeping up"; used to signify that the music is building
Incudine
Italian for anvil
Instrument
A device that produces sound with the purpose of creating music
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J

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K

Keyboard Instrument
A musical instrument where the musician presses a key to produce a sound; an example is a piano
Kraftig
Strong
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L

Lacrimoso
Tearfully
Lamentoso
Plaintive, mournful, lamenting
Langsam
Slowly
Larghetto
Rather broadly, 60–66 BPM
Larghissimo
Very broadly, 24 BPM or slower
Largo
Broadly, 40–60 BPM
Lebhaft
Lively or fast
Leggiadro
Pretty, gracefully
Leggiero
Play lightly
Legni
Woodwind in Italian. Same as fiati
Lent
Slowly
Lentando
Translates to "loosening"; gradually slow the tempo and diminish dynamic
Lento
Slow, 45–60 BPM
Lo Stosso Tempo
Litterally translates to "the same time"; signifies to keep the tempo the same; often written as L'istesso Tempo
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M

Mäßig
Moderately; in reference to tempo
Maestoso
Stately, majestic
Malinconico
Melincholic, pensive, sad
Marcato
1. Strong accent
2. March tempo with emphasis
Marcia Moderato
Moderate march, 83–85 BPM
Marziale
Meno
Less
Meno Mosso
Less motion
Mesto
Sad
Mezzo
Medium
Mezzoforte \(\left( mf \right)\)
A musical dynamic that denotes to play somewhat stronly or somewhat loudly
Mezzopiano \(\left( mp \right)\)
A musical dynamic that denotes to play somewhat softly
Militare
Italian for snare drum and field drum
Misterioso
Mysterious
Mit
German for "with"
Modéré
Moderate tempo
Moins
Less; often used to lessen the tempo
Molto
Much, very
Morendo
Dying
Mosso
Translates to "blur";movement; motion
Musician
Someone who plays music
Moderato
Moderately, 108–120 BPM
Music
Organized sound
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N

Nicht
not, or without
Nobilmente
Nobly
Non Tanto
Not so much
Non Troppo
Not too much
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O

Ohne
Without. Same as senza from Italian.
Ottavino
Italian for piccolo
Ottoni
Italian for brass
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P

Patetico
Pathetic
Percussion
A family of instruments where the sound is produced by one object hitting another
Percussione
Italian for percussion
Pesante
Heavy, weighty
Piano Forte
The original name for the piano
Pianissimo \(\left( pp \right)\)
A musical dynamic that denotes to play very softly
Piano
1. A percussive, keyboard instrument where a hammer strikes a string to produce the sound; originally named the pianoforte
2. A musical dynamic that denotes to play softly \(\left( p \right)\)
Piatti
Italian for cymbals
Piatti Sospeso
Italian for suspended cymbals
Più
More
Più Mosso
More motion; a slight increase of tempo
Piuttosto
Rather
Poco
Little
Poco a Poco
Little by little
Precipitando
Translates to "Plummeting"; indicates a hurrying/increase of tempo
Prestissimo
Extremely fast, even quicker than presto, over 200 BPM
Presto
Rapidly, quickly, 168–200 BPM
Primo
First
Pulse
The fundamental unit of time in music; it is often what people will tap their foot to; commonly reffered to as the beat
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Q

Quasi
Almost, nearly
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R

Raganella
Italian for ratchet
Rallentando
Slowing of the speed, often more than a ritardando; often abbreviated as rall.
Rapide
Fast, rapid; in reference to tempo
Rasch
Rapidly, quickly; in reference to tempo
Rhythm
The arrangement of sound in respect to time
Ritardando
Translates to "delaying"; signifies a gradual slowing of the tempo; often abbreviated as rit. or ritard.
Ritenudo
Slow down slightly in tempo; abbreviated as riten. and rit. (rit. is also used for ritardando)
Ritueno
An immidiate slowing of the tempo
Rubato
Translates to "steal"; indicates that the performer may alter the tempo for expressive purposes; means to "steal time"
Ruhig
quietly
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S

Saltando
Jumping, bounding
Schalltrichter
Bell
Scherzando
Playfully
Schmettern
Brassy
Schnell
Fast; in reference to tempo
Sega Cantante
Italian for musical saw
Sehr
Very
Senza
Without
Silofono
Italian for xylophone
Smorzando
Dying away in both tempo and volume
Sonagli
Italian for sleighbells
Sostenuto
Sustained; often used to signal that notes should be held for their full value
Sound
Vibrations in the air
Stretto
Quicken the tempo; often used towards the end of a section
Stringendo
Translates to "tightening"; results in a gradual increase of the tempo and is similar to accelerando
Subito
Immidiately, suddenly
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T

Tamburino
Italian for tambourine
Tamburo
Italian for snare drum and field drum
Tamburo Basco
Italian for tambourine
Tamburo Rullante
Italian for tenor drum
Tempo
The rate at which the musical beats progress; the speed of the music; often specified in beats per minute
Tempo Comodo
Comodo translates to "comfortable"; signifies to choose a comfortable tempo
Tempo di…
Translates to "tempo of"; signifies to play in the tempo of whatever procedes it
Tempo Guisto
Translates to "right speed"; signifies to play at a strictly consistent tempo
Tempo Primo
Translates to "first speed"; play at the original tempo of the piece
Tempo Semplice
Translates to "simple speed"; signifies to keep a regular, simple tempo
Tenerezza
Tenderly
Timpanetti
Italian for timbales
Tranquillamente
calmly, safely
Très
Very; in reference to tempo
Trianfonte
Triumphant, victorious
Triangolo
Italian for triangle
Tromba
Italian for trumpet
Tubi di Bambu
Italian for wind chimes made of bamboo
Tumbas
Italian for congo drums
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U

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V

Vibrafono
Italian for vibraphone
Vif
Bright, lively; in reference to tempo
Violino
Italian for violin
Violoncello
Italian for cello
Vite
Fast, quick; in relation to tempo
Vivace
Lively, 168–176 BPM
Vivacissimo
Very lively and fast, 172–176 BPM
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W

Wieder
Again
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X

Xylofono
Italian for xylophone
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Y

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Z

Zart
Sweetly. Same as dolce from Italian
Zuruckhaltend
Reserved, holding back
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