Musical Terms and Expressions Definitions
* Accelerando - tempo gradually gets faster
* Accidental - symbols such as sharps or flats and naturals that raise or lower a pitch.
* Adagio - slow speed (not too slow)
* Allegro - fast tempo / speed
* Andante - play the music at a moderately slow speed.
* Bar Line - a vertical line on the staff to separate measures in a composition.
* Beam - a straight line connecting two or more notes such as eighth and sixteenth notes.
* Beat - a musical pulse or unit of time / the steady pulse of music.
* Chord - a combination of three or more notes sounding at the same time / multiple notes sounding simultaneously (Ex. A C Major chord may consist of the notes C-E-G.)
* Clef - a symbol placed at the beginning of the staff to indicate names of lines and spaces.
* Conductor - the director of a group of musicians.
* Crescendo - gradually get louder
* Decrescendo - gradually get softer
* Dot - a small symbol placed to the right of a note that increases the duration of the note by one half.
* Dynamics - symbols that indicate a change in volume of a song. (The students played the music louder and softer, as indicated by the dynamics written
on the music.)
* Enharmonic - Two notes that sound the same but are spelled differently.
* Fermata - a pause in the music, indicated by a curved arc and a dot (see below).
* Flat - a symbol written to the left of a note that lowers the pitch by a half step.
* Forte - loud. (The percussion section saw the forte mark on their music and played the music with a booming sound.)
* Half Step - the distance between one key and the next adjacent white or black key on a keyboard.
Interval - the difference in pitch between two notes.
* Largo - slow and stately
* Ledger Line - a small line written above or below the staff to extend the range of notation.
* Legato - playing notes in a smooth, connected manner.
* Measure - the space between one bar line and the next.
* Moderato - medium tempo / speed
* Octave - the interval between two adjacent notes of the same name.
* Orchestra - a large group of instrumentalists consisting of woodwind, brass, string and percussion sections.
* Pentatonic - a scale having five tones to the octave, usually avoiding half steps.
(The students played a song on the xylophone using the notes C,D,E,G, and A from the pentatonic scale.)
* Phrase - a complete musical thought.
* Piano - soft
* Pizzicato - pluck strings instead of bowing
* Presto - very fast tempo or speed
* Recorder - an end-blown flute-like instrument that has a whistle mouthpiece, available in soprano, alto, tenor and bass. (The teacher told the students to play the recorder by blowing
* Refrain - the melody of a song that is repeated after each verse. (After singing the second verse of the song, the chorus sang the refrain.)
* Repeat Sign - a sign that indicates a section of music to be played again. (The clarinet players had to go back and play measures 5-13 again when
they got to the repeat sign.)
* Rest - a symbol used to indicate silence in music.
* Sharp - a symbol written to the left of a note that raises the pitch by a half step.
* Slur - a curved line connecting two or more different notes, indicating to play the music smoothly.
* Staccato - a dot over or under notes that indicate playing the music short and detached.
(The students were told to play the notes with a more staccato sound
because they were making each note sound too long.)
* Staff - horizontal lines on which notes are written.
The musical staff has five lines and four spaces.
* Syncopation - a rhythm accented on notes that are not usually stressed.
* Tempo - the speed of a composition. (The director told the students to play the song at a faster tempo.)
* Tie - a curved line connecting two notes indicated to play them as a single note.
* Vivace - lively and quick tempo
* Whole Step - A whole step is equal to two half steps. (Examples - C to D is a whole step. E to F Sharp is a whole step.)