S4 Prelim Concepts

S4 Prelim Concepts

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Term Definition
Accelerando The tempo (speed) of the music gradually becomes faster. Compare rallentando.
Alberti Bass Broken chords. On Keyboard instruments this effect is achieved when the broken chord is played by the left hand outlining harmonies whilst the right hand plays the melody. Low High Middle High
Arco Bowed Stringed instruments. Opposite of Pizzicato.
Aria A song in an opera with orchestral accompaniment.
Atonal No feeling of key, major or minor. Very dissonant. A feature of some 20th-century music.
Baroque 1600-1750 approximately. Bach and Handel were two of the composers from this period. Look out for Harpsichord
Binary A form in which the music is made up of two different sections labelled A and B. Each section may be repeated. See Ternary.
Blues Scale In the key of C, the main blues scale uses the notes C, Eb, F, Gb, G, Bb, C.
Cadenza A passage of music which allows soloists to display their technical ability in singing or playing an instrument.
Chromatic Notes which move by the interval of a semitone.
Classical A term used to describe/refer to music composed during the period 1750-1810 approximately; the era of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Homophonic
Compound Time The beat is divided into groups of three. Opposite of Simple Time.
Con Sordino Using a mute changes the sound normally produced on an instrument.
Concerto A work for solo instrument and orchestra, e.g. a flute concerto is written for flute and orchestra.
Cross Rhythm Contrasting rhythms played at the same time or played with unusual emphasis on notes.
Descant A counter melody which accompanies and is sung above the main melody.
Double Stopping Technique achieved by bowed stringed instruments playing more than one string at the same time producing more than one note.
Flutter Tonguing Rolling your 'r’s' whilst playing a brass or woodwind instrument.
Gospel Music written with religious lyrics, often in praise or thanksgiving to God. Gospel has its origins in Afro-American culture.
Grace Notes A type of ornament played as a quick note before the main note of a melody.
Homophony Texture where you hear melody with accompaniment or where all the parts move together rhythmically. Opposite of Polyphony.
Imperfect Cadence A cadence consists of two chords at the end of a phrase. An Imperfect Cadence makes a piece of music sound unfinished. See Perfect Cadence.
Indian Music from India which uses instruments such as the sitar and tabla.
Inverted Pedal A note which is held on or repeated continuously at a high pitch. Opposite in pitch to pedal.
Jig A fast dance in compound time. Usually 2 beats in a bar, with each beat dividing into 3 quavers.
Latin American Dance music from South America – or music played in that style. Percussion instruments provide lively off-beat dance rhythms.
Major Tonality The music sounds in a major key – often described as having a cheery, happy feel to it.
Minor Tonality The music sounds in a minor key, often described as having a sadder feel than major.
Melismatic Word Setting Several notes sung to one syllable – the opposite of Syllabic Word Setting.
Modulation A change of key.
Mouth Music Unaccompanied songs with Gaelic or nonsense words, normally sung for ceilidh dances.
Pentatonic Scale Any five-note scale. Scottish and Celtic folk music often use Pentatonic Scales.
Perfect Cadence A cadence consists of two chords at the end of a phrase or piece of music. A Perfect Cadence makes a piece of music sound finished.
Pizzicato Abbreviation pizz. An instruction given to string players to pluck the strings instead of using the bow.
Polyphonic Texture which consists of two or more melodic lines, possibly of equal importance, which weave independently of each other.
Ragtime A style of dance music which became popular at the end of the 19th century and which helped to influence Jazz.
Rallentando The tempo (speed) of the music gradually slows down. (Abbreviation 'rall'.)
Reel A Scottish dance written in simple time with two or four beats in a bar. It is usually in a major key and is played at a fairly fast tempo. Each beat can be heard dividing equally into groups of two or four.
Reggae Reggae has quite a distinctive sound and has the characteristic of strong accents on the 2nd and 4th beats of the bar.
Riff A repeated phrase usually found in Jazz and Popular music.
Romantic In music, the period 1810-1900 approximately, which followed the Classical era.
Rondo A B A C A. A form where the first section (A) comes back between contrasting sections.
SATB SATB is an abbreviation for vocal parts.Soprano – High Female VoiceAlto – Low Female VoiceTenor – High Male VoiceBass – Low Male Voice
Scat Singing Nonsense words, syllables and sounds are improvised (made up) by the singer. Sometimes the singer is imitating the sounds of instruments. Used mainly in Jazz singing.
Simple Time Music has two, three or four beats in each bar. Each beat is usually one crotchet. The first beat of each bar is accented. Opposite of Compound Time.
Syllabic Word Setting Vocal music where each syllable is given one note only. Opposite of Melismatic Word Setting.
Syncopation Strongly accented notes playing off or against the beat and occurs in all kinds of music.
Trill Rapid and repeated movement between two adjacent notes.
Voices in Harmony The sound of two or more notes made at the same time.
Voices in Unison Two or more parts or voices sounding at the same pitch.
Walking Bass A bass line (low notes) often featured in a variety of jazz styles. It goes for a walk, up and down a pattern of notes, and is often played on a double bass.
Waltz A dance with three beats in a bar in simple time.
Whole Tone Scale A scale containing no semitones but built entirely on whole tones.

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