Index Page


a ballata - ( Italian) In the style of a ballad

Abandon - (French) Without restraint

a battuta - (Italian) As beaten, in strict time

Abbandonatamente - (Italian) vehemently, violently

Abbandono - with a passionate expression; even at a reckless abandon

Abblellire - (Italian) To embellish with ornaments

Abellimento - (Italian) A decoration, an ornamentaor embellishment

Absolute Pitch - (see P for perfect pitch)

a cappella - unaccompanied vocal music

a capriccio - in a capricious style

a tempo - return to former tempo

accelerando - gradually getting quicker

accrescendo - getting louder

Accelerando (It.) - Accelerating the time; gradually Increasing the velocity of the movement.

Accelerato (It,) - Accelerated; increased rapidity.

Accent - A stress or emphasis upon a certain note or passage to mark its position in the measure, or its relative importance in regard to the composition.

Accento (It.) - Accent or emphasis laid upon certain notes.

Accentuare (It.) - To accentuate; to mark with an accent. Accessory notes. Those notes situated one degree above, and one degree below the principal note of a turn. The upper note of a trill is also called the accessory or auxiliary note.

Acciaccato (It.) -  Brusquely, forcibly.

Acciaccatura (It.) - A very short grace note; an accessory note placed before A the principal note, which latter takes the accent. The acciaccatura is distinguished by a light diagonal line through note hook.

Accidentals - Sharps, flats, naturals, introduced apart from the signature.

Accidental chords - Chords containing one or more notes foreign to their proper harmony.

Accompaniment - The secondary Parts or voices that accompany the principal parts or voices in any form of composition. Most accompaniments are necessary to the general effect, but some are ad lib. and can be omitted.

Accompaniments - Additional, are parts added to a composition by an editor, generally to supply the place of an obsolete instrument. Accopiato (It.) Bound, tied, joined together.

adagietto - slow but some what faster then adagio

adagio - very slow

adagissimo - very slowly

ad libitum - at the performer's liberty

affettuoso - affectionate, with tender warmth

affrettando - hurrying, or in a quickening tempo

agitato - excited, excitedly, agitated

Air - a melody or tune, a song, a 17th or 18th century instrumental composition

Alberti Bass - A pattern of bass notes that outlines the chord being sounded in the pattern low-high-middle-high.

Alborada - a Spanish instrumental serenade

al fine - to the end, generally after a repetition

al, alla, alle - to the - in the style of

alla breve - in cut time , used as a tempo sign, a C with a slash though it, for quick duple time in which the half note is given one beat instead of the usual two.

allargando - gradually slower and broader

allegretto - slightly slower than allegro

allegro - lively, rather quick

allegro assai - very quick

allegro giusto - quick, with exactness

allegro moderato - moderately quick

Allemande (Fr.) - "German." A stately 16th-century German dance, initially in a duple meter. During the 17th and 18th centuries, it was used as the first movement of the suite.

Altered Chord - A chord in which a note has been changed from its normal position

amabile - sweet, loveable

amore - tenderness and affection

anacruis - literally meaning - on the upbeat. This is the unaccented prepartory note or even a group of notes, which preceded an important note.

andante - rather slow, at a moderate pace.

andantino - generally a little quicker than andante

anima - (con) with life

anime - lively,. spirited

animito - in a lively and animated manner.

animoso - in a lively manner

a poco a poco -a little by little  (also see poc a poco)

appassionato - impassioned

appenato - grieved, distressed

appoggiato - leaning upon, drawn out

arpeggio - playing the notes of a chord consecutively (much like in a harp style, ascending up or down in broken chord form , ie, like a broken triad
C -> E -> G -> C -> E -> G -> C -> E ->G -> C)

Arrangement - An adaptation of a given composition into a form other than as originally composed

assai - very, extremely

assai pin - much more

Atonal - Atonal music is music that has no specific tonality, is not in a specific key and therefore has no specific 'home' note or chord. The word atonality refers technically to various forms of 20th century music not in a key.

Augmentation - the increasing of time values

Augmented - Raised, or enlarged. Generally refers to the raising of a pitch chromatically by one half step.

Augmented Chord - A chord which contains a root, a major third, and an augmented fifth.

Glenn Bonney's Music School © 2000