GLOSSARY OF MUSIC: TOP 50 MUSICAL TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Knowing the basic music terms that are commonly used by expert music producers and sound engineers is always helpful. These terms are music-related words that signify a specific effect, note, or audio appearance on a track. Not just in India, this music glossary is recognized worldwide.
For the music enthusiasts and budding music producers, this music glossary is a must know as it is quite beneficial in the long run and understanding the “technical” language of music. You can communicate better with other collaborators about how your music should sound.
BELOW IS THE LIST OF TOP 50 MUSICAL TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Accent refers to when a specific note/phrase is
emphasized with an increase in intensity above the general non-accented notes.
‘Adagio’ is defined as ‘slowly’
in Italian. Adagio is a piece that must be played with a slower tempo(speed).
‘Allegro’ roughly translates to ‘cheerful’ in Italian. In music, Allegro describes it as
being played at an upbeat and bright tempo.
Andante is described as a moderately slow tempo or ‘at a walking pace’.
Alto refers to the contrapuntal part that is higher than the tenor and its associated vocal range. In a 4-part voice, Alto is the second-highest part.
An arpeggio is a type of broken chord. In Arpeggio, the notes that create a chord are played or sung in a rising or descending order.
In music, a bar is a segment of time that represents the number of beats in which each beat is represented by a particular note value. After fixing the bars, you must write your lyrics within the boundaries of a bar.
A Cadence is a basically a two-chord progression at the end of a phrase in music.
A Cadenza is a specific part where soloists are allowed to sing in a “free” rhythmic style and often allowing virtuosic display.
When kept on a stave, it indicates the name and pitch of the notes on the lines.
14. DA CAPO
15. DAL SEGNO
It means the gradual decrease in dynamic volume during the music.
The glockenspiel is a musical instrument with metal bars that are struck by a mallet.
Largo means ‘broad’ in Italian. In music, it refers to a slow and dignified tempo on the track.
Leggero means light in Italian. It instructs the musician to play more lightly, usually fast and in a graceful manner.
Legato is Italian for ‘tied together’ and means that the musical notes are played/sung in a smooth and connected fashion.
A motif in music refers to a short piece of melody that occurs in a musical piece. It can also be called a motive or cell.
As the name states, natural notes are neither sharp nor flat. It is used to tell the musician that the note is natural.
Nonet is a composition that is created with nine musicians or a group of nine performers.
An Ostinato can be both a rhythmic or pitch pattern that repeats consistently throughout the musical piece.
To Pan or Panning is the distribution of a sound signal, determined by a pan control setting, into a new stereo or multi-channel sound field.
Pianissimo is Italian for “very soft”. Pianissimo is an instruction in music that tells musicians to play in a very softly or quieter tone.
Pizzicato means plucked in Italian, It is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string musical instrument.
34. Quarter tone
A quarter tone is a pitch halfway between the usual notes of music or an interval about half as wide as a semitone.
A quintuplet is defined as a grouping of five sixteenth notes to take place within a one-quarter note.
Rhapsody is a term in music which is a one-movement work that is repeated yet integrated, free-flowing in structure.
Ritardando is the gradual slowdown in the tempo of music in a particular direction.
A rondo is a structure of musical pieces and usually contains multiple repeating sections.
Scherzo is a short composition piece, sometimes movement from a large symphony of music.
Sforzando is a musical notation to play a note with sudden or abrupt emphasis. It is abbreviated as ‘sfz’.
A sharp musical note is a semitone than the same natural note generally used in a piece.
A soprano is a range of pitches that has the highest vocal range in all voice types.
Sostenuto in Italian means “sustained”. In sheet music, it is a note or musical passage that requires each note to play beyond its normal value.
When shortened and delayed notes are played, it is called Staccato. It is the opposite of Legato.
The tempo is defined as the pace or speed at which a piece of music is played.
Tenor is the range of notes between alto and bass. The vocal range lies between the countertenor and voice types of baritone.
Tremolo is a modulation effect of trembling in a musical piece. It creates a change in volume.
Trill (also known as ‘shake’) is a musical element that consists of a rapid alternation between two adjacent notes.
The pulsating change in the pitch of a music track is called Vibrato. It is characterized by the variation of the pitch as well as the variable speed.
Vivace means “lively” and is an indication to play in a very quick, upbeat tempo in a music sheet.