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Discovering music through listening
Discovering music through listening

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Glossary

Friday, 19 July 2024, 9:50 PM
Site: Open Learning
Course: Discovering music through listening (DMTL_1)
Glossary: Glossary
A

Accompaniment

The part of the music that is subordinate to a melody.

Articulation

The manner in which notes are differentiated.

B

Bar

A fixed number of beats (2, 3, 4) defined by metre.

Bass line

The lowest part of a piece of music which outlines the chords.

Beat

The basic pulse underlying a piece of music which may be stressed or unstressed.

Block chords

A succession of similar chords.

C

Chord

Two or more notes sounded simultaneously. In Western music the notes sounded operate in relationship to a scale.

Chord progression

A succession of chords related to each other.

Consonance

The harmonious sounding of two or more notes.

Crescendo

Gradually getting louder.

D

Diminuendo

Gradually getting quieter.

Dissonance

Two or more notes sounding simultaneously which create a harsh, unstable sound.

Doubled

Played by more than one instrument or voice.

Dynamics

Loudness, measured in decibels, but perceived as relative loudness or quietness.

F

Form

The shape or organisation of a piece of music.

Fortissimo

Very loud.

G

Genre

A class, type or category of music that behaves according to specific conventions.

H

Harmony

The combining of notes simultaneously.

Homophonic

A texture of several musical lines of similar rhythmic character.

I

Interval

The distance between two pitches.

K

Key

The tonal centre of a composition which defines the relationship of notes, chords and structure.

L

Legato

Smooth, connected.

M

Major/minor

Terms to describe intervals, scales, chords and keys, distinguished mainly by the third note.

Melody

The correct term for a tune.

Metre

The division of pulse into groups of 2, 3 or 4 beats.

Motif

The shortest possible fragment of music that can be perceived structurally.

Movement

A self-contained section of a larger piece of music such as a sonata or symphony. Movements are characterised by differing tempos and characters and in performance are separated from each other by a brief pause.

Muted

Muffled or softened.

P

Pianissimo

Very quiet.

Pitch

The absolute quality of a musical note perceived as high or low, but determined by frequency.

Pizzicato

Plucking the strings of an instrument normally played with a bow.

Polyphonic

A texture in which several independent musical lines interweave.

Pulse

The beat underlying a piece of music.

R

Range

The distance between the highest and lowest note of a melody; the highest and lowest note available on a specific instrument or voice.

Register

The different portions of the range of an intrument or voice.

Rhythm

Patterns of short and long notes.

Riff

A short, repeated melodic pattern in popular music.

Rubato

A flexible approach to tempo in which slight increases or decreases in speed are used for expressive purposes.

S

Staccato

A dry, brittle attack separating notes from each other.

Syncopated

A deliberate disturbance of normal metrical stress, e.g. accenting weak beats.

T

Tempo

The speed of music which is directly connected to the sense of pulse.

Texture

The relationship between melodic (horizontal) and harmonic (vertical) elements of the music.

Timbre

Tone colour, the quality that separates the sound of one instrument or voice from another.

V

Vibrato

A slight fluctuation of pitch produced on sustained notes.