Accidentals: Flat or Sharp symbols that raise or lower a given diatonic pitch.
Alto Clef: The middle C falling on the third line of the staff.
Arpeggio: The notes of a chord played in succession to one another, rather than simultaneously.
Atonal: Music that lacks a tonal center, or in which all pitches carry equal importance.
Augmentation: The lengthening of note values used to alter the melody without changing the pitches.
Baroque: The music style between the years of 1600 - 1750.
Bass Clef: The symbol indicating note F as the fourth line of the staff.
Basso Continuo: or "Continuous Bass" - A line throughout an entire work, or section of a work played by the lowest instrument, assisted by a keyboard instrument.
Binary Form: A two-part song form consisting of an initial section followed by a contrasting section. (AB)
Brass: Metal wind instruments such as trumpet, trombone, tuba, and French horn.
C Clef: A symbol that indicates which line represents C on a staff.
Cadence: The melodic or harmonic ending of a piece, or the sections within a piece.
Chamber Music: Music for a small ensemble without a conductor.
Chord: A set of, at least three notes played simultaneously.
Chromatic: Motion by half steps; or use of pitches outside the diatonic scale in which they normally occur.
Classical: The music style from about 1750-1825.
Clef: The symbol used at the beginning of a staff to indicate which lines and spaces represent which pitch.
Common Time: 4/4 meter.
Concerto: A piece for a solo instrument with an orchestral accompaniment.
Concerto Grosso: A type of concerto in which a small group of solo instruments is accompanied by orchestra.
Consonance: Sounds that are in agreement in terms of physical perception of sound.
Counterpoint: The combination of two or more melodic lines played together. A structure built upon competing melodic lines.
Crescendo: A gradual increase in volume.
Degree: A note of a scale, usually as identified by a number.
Diatonic: The notes that occur naturally in a scale, without being modified by accidentals.
Dissonance: Notes that seem to conflict with each other and require resolution.
Dominant: A chord based on the fifth degree of the diatonic scale being used.
Double Flat: A symbol that lowers the note it precedes by one whole step.
Double Sharp: A symbol that raises the note it precedes by one whole step.
Dynamics: Musical term for amount of loudness and intensity of sound
Exposition: The first occurrence of the theme(s) in a piece
Expressionism: An early 20th-century musical style, employing an abstract approach to music.
F Clef: A symbol that indicates which line represents F on a staff .
Figured Bass: The bass part of a piece written by giving a single bass note, with numbers beside it to indicate the chord to be played.
Flat: A symbol that lowers a given pitch by one half-step.
Fugue: A polyphonic form based on a short theme (subject) and structured according to specific rules.
Function: The way in which chords tend to imply movement toward another chord.
G Clef: A symbol that indicates which line represents G on a staff.
Half-Cadence: A cadence that ends on the Dominant instead of the Tonic.
Half-Step: The smallest interval that is commonly used in Western music. There are 12 half-steps in an octave .
Harmonic Progression: The movement from one chord to another.
Imitation: A technique of composition, in which one part introduces a theme which is then played by other parts.
Impressionism: A style of composition, mostly by French composers, popular at the beginning of 1900
Interval: The distance between two notes, in terms of pitch.
Inversion: The different forms that a chord may take by changing the chord member that is the bass of the chord.
Key: The tonal center based on the note (tonic) of the scale on which the piece is based.
Key signature: Accidentals written at the beginning of a staff line to indicate which pitches are to be raised or lowered to match the intended key.
Leading Tone: The 7th degree of the diatonic scale, when it is only a half-step below the Tonic.
Ledger Lines: Lines written above or below the staff.
Major Scale: A diatonic scale where the half steps fall between the 3rd and 4th degree, and the 7th and 8th degree.
Meter: Set of numbers, at the beginning of music, indicating the groupings of musical rhythms into measures
Modulation: To change keys; - the movement from one tonal center to another.
Motif: A short musical idea, or melodic theme that runs throughout a piece.
Movement: A self-contained segment of a larger work.
Natural: A note that has not been raised or lowered from its named pitch. On a piano, naturals are the white keys.
Octave: An interval of eight diatonic scale degrees. Two notes an octave apart have the same letter name.
Opus: ( Op.) The term means work, and is used by composers or publishers to show the chronological order of the composer's pieces, i.e. Op. 1, Op. 2....
Ornamentation: Notes added to the original melody for embellishment.
Overture: The introductory music for an opera, oratorio or ballet, or an independent work in this vain.
Phrase: A single musical idea.
Polyphony: "Many sounds". Music that has more than one melodic line sounding together.
Renaissance: The music style form about 1450-1600.
Requiem: A version of the Mass to commemorate the dead.
Romantic: The music style from about 1825-1900.
Root: The fundamental note of a chord, from which the chord derives its name.
Scale: A series of different notes arranged within an octave.
Score: The written document showing all the parts of a large ensemble, such as a symphony.
Sequence: Repetition of the same basic musical idea at a different pitch.
Sharp: A symbol that raises a given pitch by one half-step.
Sonata: A piece for one, or two instruments, usually in 3 or 4 movements.
Sonata form: A form, usually first movement of a sonata or symphony, based on two contrasting themes used in Exposition, Development and Recapitulation
Staff: The five horizontal lines upon which music is written.
Strings: Family of bowed stringed instruments, such as violin, viola, cello.
Subject: A theme or motif that is the basis for a musical form, usually a Fugue.
Symphony: A piece for large orchestra, usually in four movements.
Theme: A melodic idea that serves as the basic material for a given work.
Time Signature: The numbers written at the beginning of any piece, indicating the length of measures in terms of beats and their rhythmic value.
Tonal: Music which establishes a key center (tonic) and relates to it in a predictable manner.
Tonic: The key center (note), or foundation of, a scale or melody.
Treble Clef: The symbol establishing G on the second line of the staff.
Triad: A chord consisting of three notes.
Wind instruments: Family of instruments in which sound is produced by the vibration of air, including brass and woodwind instruments.
Woodwind family: Wind instruments that were originally made of wood such as flutes, clarinets, saxophones, oboes, and bassoons.