Musical Terms All Piano Players Should Know
allegro - lively, rather quick.
andante - rather slow, a walking pace.
arpeggio - to play notes of a chord consecutively.
a tempo - in time.
cantabile - in a singing style.
capo - the beginning, the top, a device which bars across the strings.
da capo - return to the beginning.
da capo al fine - return to the beginning and play to the word "fine".
dal segno - repeat from the sign.
eight note - receives one half of a beat in 4/4 time.
fermata - a pause.
fine - the end.
forte - loud.
fortissimo - very loud.
glissando - in a gliding manner, slurred, to slide.
grazioso - gracefully.
hammer - to produce a new note by forcefully striking the string with the left hand.
harmonic - a chime like tone.
half note - receives 2 beats in 4/4 time.
largo - slow and broad.
legato - smoothly.
lento - slow.
moderato - a medium pace.
opus - a work or composition.
piano - soft.
poco a poco - little by little.
ponticello - the bridge of a stringed instrument.
prestissimo - as fast as possible.
presto - quickly.
pull-off - to produce a new note by forcefully removing a finger from the string.
quarter note - receives one beat in 4/4 time.
ritardando - gradually slow down.
rubato - robbed time.
segno - a sign.
segue - go on with what follows.
sforzando - strongly accented.
simile - like, the same.
tacet - be silent.
tenuto - sustained
tremolo - rapid repetition of a note.
vibrato - to vary the pitch of a note with rapid movement of the left hand.
whole note - receives four beats in 4/4 time.
Music that goes along with a more important part; often harmony or rhythmic patterns accompanying a melody.
Moderately fast, lively. Faster than Andante, slower than allegro
Lively, brisk, rapid
Moderately slow, a walking speed
Relating to the period from about 1600-1750, characterized by grandeur and heavy elaboration of design in music.
Two-part form; the structure of a musical composition consisting of two main sections.
Closing of a phrase or section of music
A short lyric form dealing with either secular or sacred subjects
Three or more tones combined and sounded simultaneously
Referring to that period from approximately 1750-1800, characterized musically by objectivity of the composer, emotional restraint, and simple harmonies.
A simultaneious sounding of tones that produces a feeling of rest, i.e., a feeling that there is no need for further resolution.
Gradually growing louder
From the beginning. A direction to repeat the entire compositon from the beginning to the place where the word "fine" appears or to the end.
Gradually growing softer
A simultaneous sounding of tones that produces a feeling of tension or unrest and a feeling that further resolution is needed.
Varying intensities of sound throughout a given musical composition. (Piano, Mezzo Piano, Forte, etc.)
A pause, stop, or interruption as that before the cadenza of a concerto.
The end of a musical piece
Heavy, slow, pondereous in movement
In good taste, tasteful
The sound resulting from the simultaneous sounding of two or more tones consonant with each other
The distance between two tones
The same tempo. (The tempo remains as before, after a change was made)
Large, broad, slow and stately
Smooth and connected
An arrangement of single tones in a meaningful sequence
A repeated melodic or rhythmic fragment
A small section of a composition comprising a musical thought. Comparable to a sentence in language.
Music in which two or more melodies sound simultaneously
Music in which two or more keys are used simultaneously in a given composition
Gradually growing slower
A form of contrapuntal imitation in which the melody is played backwards.
Relating to the nineteenth-century musical period characterized by subjectivity on the part of the composer, emotionalism in music, longer musical forms, and richer harmonies.
The tone of the scale upon which a chord is built
The postion of a chord in which the root appears as the lowest tone.
From the Italian "robbed". Used to indicate a modification of the strict rhythmical flow.
A graduated series of tones arranged in a specified order
Joke, jest. A sprightly movement, light and humorous in nature
A curved line drawn over two or more notes of different pitches, indicating that they are to be executed in a smoothly connected manner without a break.
Separate. Sounded in a short, detached manner
The rhythmic result produced when a regularly accented beat is displaced onto an unaccented beat.
The rate of speed at which a musical compostion is performed
A short musical passage that states an idea. It often provides the basis for variations, development, etc.
The quality of a musical tone that distinguishes voices and instruments.
1. A musical sound 2. The quality of a musical sound
Spirited, bright, rapid, equalling or exceeding allegro
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