Index Page


maestoso - dignified, with majesty

maggiore - the major key

main droite - right hand

main gauche - left hand

Major - A term used to describe certain intervals (seconds, thirds, sixths and sevenths), chords.

Major Chord - A triadcomposed of a root, a third, and a fifth.

Major Scale -A diatonic scale where the half-steps fall between the third and fourth, and the seventh and tonic.
mano - the hand

mano destra - the right hand

mano sinistra the left hand

marcando - accented, more at accented

marcato - accented, well marked

Mediant - The third degree of the major or minor scale. The triad built on this degree is labeled iii in the major scale, III in the natural minor scale, and III+ in the harmonic minor scale.

Meno mosso - Less motion

Meter - The meter of a piece of music is the repetitive arrangement of strong and weak pulses in the rhythm
Meters can also be classified as either simple or compound. In a
simple meter, each beat is basically divided into halves. In compound meters, each beat is divided into thirds.  

Metronome - Invented by Maelzel in 1816, the instrument is used to indicate the exact tempo of a composition. An indication such as M.M. 60 indicates that the pendulum, with a weight at the bottom, makes 60 beats per minute. A slider is moved up and down the pendulum to decrease and increase the tempo. M.M. = 120 means that the time value of a quarter note is the equivalent of one pendulum beat when the slider is set at 120.

mezza - (see mezzo)

mezzo - medium, half

mezzo soprano - this a female voice that is lower than a soprano, but higher than a contralto

Minor - The designation for certain intervals and scales. A key based on a minor scale is called a minor key.
The three types of minor scales include natural, hormonic, and melodic, which is used infrequently in choral music. The patterns for natural and harmonic scales are:
natural: whole half whole whole half whole whole
  step step step step step step step
harmonic: whole half whole whole whole 1-1/2 half
  step step step step step steps step
(ascending): whole half whole whole whole whole half
  step step step step step step step
(descending): whole whole half whole whole half whole
  step step step step step step step

moderato - in moderate time

Modulation - To change keys, the movement from one tonic center to another.

molto - very much, a great deal

morendo - dying away in time and tone 

Mordent -An ornament consisting of a single alternation between a given pitch, and the one immeditatly below or above it-called an inverted mordent.

mosso - more movement or motion

Motet - A choral composition, usually on a religious text.

Motif - A short musical idea, or melodic theme that runs through a piece.

moto motion - (con moto - rather quick)

moto perpetuo - perpetual motion 

Movement - A self-contained segment of a larger work. Found in works such as sonatas, symphonies

movimento - impulse, the time of a piece

Glenn Bonney's Music School © 2000