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The Musical Alphabet

A

Allargando

to widen, performed by slowing the tempo and broadening while maintaining a full note

B

Baritone

referring to either a vocal range or instrument; singing in a middle-range voice between the bass and tenor ranges

C

Chromatic

referring to scales or passages comprised of semi-tones or half-steps

D

Diminuendo

musicians should decrease volume

E

Etude

a short musical piece that is written to help a musician practice a certain skill

F

Fortissimo

this symbol (ff) tells musicians to play very loudly

G

Glissando

a continous slide between two notes

H

Heptatonic

a scale that has seven pitches per octave

I

Intonation

how accurate a pitch is, or how in tune a note is

J

Jazz standard

a well-known composition from the jazz repertoire which is widely played and recorded

K

Key signature

a collection of accidentals that let a musician know the key of a section of music

L

Leitmotif

a recurring melodic or harmonic theme in music that is associated with a particular person or idea

M

Marcato

to perform a note with emphasis

N

Natural

an accidental that lets the musician know that no adjustment needs to be made to the note

O

Ostinato

a continued repeated musical phrase or rhythm

P

Pentatonic

a scale compromised of five notes

Q

Quartet

an ensemble compromised of four musicians

R

Ritenudo

immediate reduction of speed

S

Serialism

a modern composition technique where a fixed series of notes are used to create the melody and harmony

T

Tonality

the idea that music is organized around keys or a central tone

U

Upbeat

the space exactly in the middle of two beats

V

Vivace

tempo marking; meaning lively and fast - range is 156-176bmp

W

Waltz

a dance-like piece in a triple meter

X

Xylophone

meaning "the sound of wood;" a musical instrument that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets

Y

Yueqin

a chinese guitar that has a round, hollow wooden body

Z

Zambomba

a Spanish friction drum made from a variety of materials and rubbed with a rod or rope