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Absolute Music: Abstract and ‘pure’ music, not depicting some external, literary idea.

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

Equal Temperament: Tuning system which divides the octave into 12 equal intervals.

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 Triad:   A chord derived from a Major scale and consisting of intervals of Major third and perfect fifth

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.

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