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Music Instruments Meaning
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A

A

In music, A is the name of the sixth tone in the model major scale (that in C), or the first tone of the minor scale, which is named after it the scale in A minor. The second string of the violin is tuned to the A in the treble staff.

A CAPPELLA

In music, A cappella is said of compositions sung in the old church style, without instrumental accompaniment; as, a mass a cappella, i. e., a mass purely vocal. The term is also applied to a time indication, equivalent to alla breve.

A FLAT

In music A flat is the name of a tone intermediate between A and G.

A SHARP

In music, A sharp is the name of a musical tone intermediate between A and B.

AARON COPLAND

Aaron Copland was an American composer. He was born in 1900 and died in 1990. He composed Appalachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man and Lincoln Portrait.

ABACUS HARMONICUS

The abacus harmonicus was an ancient diagram showing the structure and disposition of the keys of a musical instrument.

ABBASSARE

In music, abbassare means to lower, for example to tune down a string on an instrument in order to obtain a note not usually within the intsrument's range.

ABBREVIATION

In music, an abbreviation is one or more dashes through the stem of a note, dividing it respectively into quavers, semiquavers, or demi-semiquavers.

ABEGG VARIATIONS

The Abegg Variations is Schumann's Opera 1, for a solo performer, composed in 1830 and written on a theme made out of the notes A-B-E-G-G. The composition was dedicated to his friend Meta Abegg.

ACCELERANDO

In music, accelerando is an instruction to gradually accelerate the movement.

ACCENT

In music an accent is a regularly recurring stress upon the tone to mark the beginning, and, more feebly, the third part of the measure. The term is also applied to a special emphasis of a tone, even in the weaker part of the measure and the rhythmical accent, which marks phrases and sections of a period.

ACCIACCATURA

In music, an acciaccatura is a short grace note, one semitone below the note to which it is prefixed, used especially in organ music. It is now used as an equivalent to the short appoggiatura.

ACCIDENTAL

In music an accidental is a sharp, flat, or natural, occurring not at the commencement of a piece of music as the signature, but before a particular note.

ACCIDENTAL CHORDS

In music, accidental chords are those which contain one or more tones foreign to their proper harmony.

ACCOLADE

In music an accolade is a brace used to join two or more staves.

ACCOMPANIMENT

In music, an accompaniment is a part performed by instruments, accompanying another part or parts performed by voices; the subordinate part, or parts, accompanying the voice or a principal instrument; also, the harmony of a figured bass.

ACCORDION

An accordion is a small portable musical instrument with a keyboard and bellows. It was invented by Damian in 1829.

ADAGIO

Adagio is a musical term indicating that the movement should be played slowly and expressively.

ADDITION

In music, an addition is a dot at the right side of a note as an indication that its sound is to be lengthened one half.

ADJUNCT

In music, adjunct describes a key or scale closely related to another as principal.

ADJUNCT NOTES

In music, adjunct notes are short notes between those essential to the harmony.

ADOLF VON HENSELT

Adolf Von Henselt was a German composer. He was born in 1814 and died in 1890.

ADRIAN WILLAERT

Adrian Willaert was a Venetian composer and the founder of the Venetian school of musical composers. He was born in 1480 at Bruges in Belgium and died in 1562. In 1527 he was appointed music-master of St Mark's in Venice. He was a prolific composer of motets and madrigals.

AEOLIAN HARP

The Aeolian Harp is a sounding-board on which are strung several gut strings of different thickness; these are tuned to the same note and give its various harmonics when made to vibrate by the wind. Its invention is ascribed to St Dunstan, but in its present form it is not thought to have existed before the 17th century.

AFFETTUOSO

Affettuoso is an Italian musical term indicating a tender and affecting style; it lies between adagio and andante, and is frequently joined with these terms.

AFFRETTANDO

In music, affrettando means hurrying onwards.

AFTER-NOTE

In music, an after-note is one of the small notes occurring on the unaccented parts of the measure, taking its time from the preceding note.

AGITATO

In music, agitato means sung or played in a restless, hurried, and spasmodic manner.

AIR

Air is a musical idea, or motive, rhythmically developed in consecutive single tones, so as to form a symmetrical and balanced whole, which may be sung by a single voice to the stanzas of a hymn or song, or even to plain prose, or played upon an instrument. In harmonised chorals, psalmody, part songs, etc., an air is the part which bears the tune or melody - in modern harmony usually the upper part.

AL SEGNO

In music, al segno is a direction for the performer to return and recommence from an indicated point.

ALBAN BERG

Alban Berg was an Austrian composer. He was born in 1885 and died in 1935. He composed Wozzeck, Lulu.

ALBERT LORTZING

Gustav Albert Lortzing was a German composer, actor, tenor, and librettist. He was born in 1801 at Berlin and died in 1851. After working as an actor he produced his first opera 'Ali Pascha von Janina' in Muenster in 1824.

ALEKSANDR SCRIABIN

Aleksandr Scriabin was a Russian composer. He was born in 1872 and died in 1915. He composed Prometheus.

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI

Alessandro Scarlatti was an Italian composer. He was born in 1659 at Trapani, Sicily and died in 1725. For some years he was attached to the court of Christiana, queen of Sweden, at Rome, and in 1694 was appointed mucial director to the viceroy of Naples. Subsequently he became a teacher in three of the four conservatories in Naples. He founded the modern school of Italian Opera, and was a prolific composer in nearly every branch of music.

ALEXANDER BORODIN

Alexander Borodin was a Russian composer. He was born in 1833 and died in 1887. He composed Prince Igor, In the Steppes of Central Asia, Polovtzian Dances.

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV

Alexander Glazunov was a Russian composer. He was born in 1865 at St Petersburg and died in 1936.

ALLARGANDO

In music, allargando means getting slower.

ALLEGRETTO

Allegretto is an indication of tempo in music. It is a diminutive of allegro and signifies a slower movement than allegro but not as slow as andante.

ALLEGRO

Allegro is a musical term signifying a quick, lively rate of movement, nearly intermediate between andante and presto.

ALLEMANDE

The allemande is a dance in moderate two-fold time. It was invented by the French during the reign of Louis XIV and is now mostly found in suites of pieces, like those of Bach and Handel.

ALPENHORN

An alpenhorn is a long bugle-horn made of wood formerly used by Swiss peasants to communicate with each other over long distances.

ALTHORN

The althorn is a musical instrument of the saxhorn family, used exclusively in military music, often replacing the French horn.

ALTISSIMO

In music, altissimo describes the part or notes situated above F in alt.

ALTO

In music, alto was formerly the part sung by the highest male, or counter-tenor, voices; now it is the part sung by the lowest female, or contralto, voices, between in tenor and soprano. In instrumental music it now signifies the tenor.

ALTO CLEF

In music, an alto clef is the counter-tenor clef, or the C clef, placed so that the two strokes include the middle line of the staff.

AMILCARE PONCHIELLI

Amilcare Ponchielli was an Italian composer. He was born in 1834 and died in 1886. He composed La Gioconda.

AMOROSO

In music, amoroso infers that a piece should be played in a soft, tender, amatory style.

ANDANTE

Andante is a musical term denoting a movement somewhat slow (walking pace), graceful, distinct and soothing.

ANDANTINO

Andantino is a musical style rather quicker than andante, between that and allegretto. Some, taking andante in its original sense of going, and andantino as its diminutive, or less going, define the latter as slower than andante.

ANDRE CAMPRA

Andre Campra was a French composer. He was born in 1660 at Aix and died in 1744. From 1679 to 1694 he was conductor at the cathedrals of Toulon, then Arles and afterwards Toulouse before going to Paris in 1694 and becoming conductor at the Notre-Dame, a post he resigned in 1700 to devote himself to composition. He wrote some twenty operas including 'L'Europe Galante' and 'Le Carnaval de Venise'.

ANTARA

Antara is a term used by the Quechua people of Peru for the Andean panpipes made of clay.

ANTICIPATION

In music, anticipation describes the commencing of one or more tones of a chord with or during the chord preceding, forming a momentary discord.

ANTIPHONE

In music, the antiphone is the response which one side of the choir makes to the other in a chant, being alternate chanting or signing.

ANTON BRUCKNER

Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer. He was born in 1824 and died in 1896. He composed 9 symphonies.

ANTON RUBINSTEIN

Anton Grigorovich Rubinstein was a Russian composer and pianist. He was born in 1829 and died in 1894. He became a music teacher in Petrograd in 1848 where he founded the Russian Musical Society in 1861 and the Conservatoire in 1862.

ANTONIN DVORAK

Antonin Dvorak was a Czech composer. He was born in 1841 at Kralup and died in 1904. He became a member of the orchestra in the Bohemian Theatre at Prague, and in 1873 was appointed organist of Saint Aldbert's Church in Prague. From 1892 to 1899 he was director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, and in 1901 was appointed director of the Prague Conservatory.

ANTONIO DIABELLI

Antonio Diabelli was an Austrian composer. He was born in 1781 near Salzburg and died in 1858.

ANTONIO SACCHINI

Antonio Maria Sacchini was an Italian composer. He was born in 1734 at Pozzuoli and died in 1786. A pupil of Durante, he lived in Rome, then Venice, London and Paris. In London he met with a hostile reception. He principally wrote operas, including 'Il Gran Cid', 'Tamerlano', 'Lucio Vero' and 'Oedipe e Colone', the cold reception of the last in Paris indirectly causing his death.

ANTONIO VIVALDI

Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian composer. He was born in 1678 and died in 1741. He composed Concerto grossos (The Four Seasons).

APACHE DANCE

The apache dance is a fast and violent dance in French vaudeville, supposedly between a Parisian gangster and his girl.

APPOGGIATURA

In music, an appoggiatura is a passing tone preceding an essential tone, and borrowing the time it occupies from that or a short auxiliary or grace note one degree above or below the principal note unless it be of the same harmony - generally indicated by a note of smaller size. It forms no essential part of the harmony.

ARAM KHACHATURIAN

Aram Khachaturian was a Russian composer. He was born in 1903 and died in 1978. He composed Ballets, piano pieces and Sabre Dance.

ARCANGELO CORELLI

Arcangelo Corelli was an Italian composer. He was born in 1653 and died in 1713.

ARCHLUTE

The archlute was a double-necked stringed musical instrument of the lute family. It had the bass strings doubled with an octave, and the higher strings with a unison.

ARIA

An aria is a musical composition for solo voice with instrumental accompaniment, usually forming part of an opera, oratorio, or cantata. It provides a lyrical pause in the dramatic action, during which a character can comment on some aspect of the drama. Often it is also a difficult piece, designed to display the singer's skill. The aria originated in Italy in the late 16th century as a short solo song, particularly a strophic song. Composers of the early 17th century developed the 'strophic-bass' aria, in which the bass remained constant for each stanza, while the melody was varied. These strophic-bass arias were subsequently adopted by early opera composers such as the Italian Claudio Monteverdi. Shortly before 1650 a new aria form appeared, which dominated operatic music until about 1750. This was the da capo aria, written in three sections: ABA. To indicate the repeated A section, composers simply wrote the direction da capo after the B section. The da capo aria developed into a long musical structure with the B section usually in a contrasting but related key. An instrumental introduction usually preceded the A section, and an instrumental interlude separated the A and B sections. Many singers took advantage of the repeated A section, using it as a vehicle for virtuosic improvised variations. Alessandro Scarlatti, helped establish the nearly universal use of the da capo aria. Later the 18th-century German-born composer George Frideric Handel used it extensively in his operas and oratorios, and his contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach used it in his oratorios and cantatas. In the late 18th century, operatic reformers such as the German Christoph Von Gluck, reacting against the da capo aria, employed a variety of aria forms. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and others often used arias with two contrasting sections, and the one-section cavatina also became popular. The romanticism of the 19th century fostered wide variety in aria forms. In the late 19th century er dispensed with the aria almost completely in his mature works, favouring a continuous span of music rather than a separation of action and lyrical comment. Although many 20th-century opera composers follow Wagner' s example, others use arias of many different formats.

ARIETTA

In music, an arietta is a short aria, or air.

ARIOSO

In music, arioso is a smooth and melodious style of playing an air.

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG

Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer. He was born in 1874 and died in 1951. He composed Pelleas and Melisande, Pierrot Lunaire, Verklarte Nacht.

ARPEGGIO

In music, arpeggio is the production of the tones of a chord in rapid succession, as in playing the harp, and not simultaneously.

ARRANGEMENT

In music, an arrangement is the adaptation of a composition to voices or instruments for which it was not originally written.

ARRANGER

In music, an arranger is a person who adapts or assists in orchestrating the music of another composer at the composer's request. The use of an arranger became established in Hollywood; Rachmaninov, George Gershwin, and Leonard Bernstein, among others, composed concert works employing such assistance. Arrangers were also common in jazz: the more notable examples include Gil Evans, who arranged music for Miles Davis and others; and Billy Strayhorn who arranged for Duke Ellington. Composers of unauthorised arrangements include J S Bach (who arranged Vivaldi), Mozart (who arranged Handel's Messiah), and Stravinsky (who arranged Tchaikovsky and Pergolesi).

ARRIGO BOITO

Arrigo Boito was an Italian composer and poet. He was born in 1842 at Padua and died in 1918. His chief works are operas influenced by Wagner.

ARSIS

In music, arsis is the elevation of the hand, or that part of the bar at which it is raised, in beating time.

ARTHUR HONEGGER

Arthur Honegger was a French composer. He was born in 1892 and died in 1955. He composed Judith, Le Roi David, Pacific 231.

ASSAI

In music, assai is a direction equivalent to very. Thus the term is applied to other musical terms, such as, adagio assai, meaning very slow.

ATABAL

The atabal is a cylindrical double-headed bass drum of the Basque region; it is wider than tall.

ATABAQUE

Atabaque is a general term for a conical single-headed drum of Brazil; usually played in threes, each of different size.

ATTACCA

In music, attacca is a direction at the end of a movement to show that the next is to follow immediately, without any pause.

ATTENDANT KEYS

In music, the attendant keys the keys or scales most nearly related to, or having most in common with, the principal key; those, namely, of its fifth above, or dominant, its fifth below (fourth above), or subdominant, and its relative minor or major.

AUD

The aud is an Egyptian lute.

AUGMENTATION

In music, in a counterpoint and fugue, an augmentation is a repetition of the subject in tones of twice the original length.

AUGMENTED INTERVAL

In music an augmented interval is an interval increased by half a step or half a tone.

AUTHENTIC

In music, the term authentic describes something as having as immediate relation to the tonic, in distinction from plagal, which has a correspondent relation to the dominant in the octave below the tonic.

AUTOHARP

The autoharp is a zither with a keyboard chord making mechanism which mutes unwanted strings. It is either strummed or picked.

AUXILIARY SCALES

In music, auxiliary scales are the scales of relative or attendant keys.

 
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