Index Page


Scale - A series of notes which define a diatonic tonality, often consisting of eight degrees, and containing a tonic and sometimes also a leading tone.

Second - The interval of two diatonic degrees.

Sequence - 1. Repetition of the same basic melodic theme at a different pitch. 2. A type of Gregorian chant with non-biblical texts, lines grouped in rhymed pairs, and one note per syllable.

Serenade - A love song, or piece traditionally performed below a loved one's window in the evening.

Seventh - The interval of seven diatonic degrees.

Scherzando - in a playful or in a lively manner

Segno - Segno mark sign ( usually seen like this: dal segno or d.s -repeat from the sign

Segue - now follows, go on or proceed with what follows

Sempre -always

Senza -without

Serioso - with a serious approach or manner

Sforzando - strongly accented
sf simile -- in a like manner, continuous

Sharps - An accidental that raises a given pitch by one half-step. See also key signature.

Sixth - The interval of six diatonic degrees.

Sixteenth note/rest - A note/rest half the length of an eighth note and a sixteenth the length of a whole note.

Slur - A curved line placed above or below two or more notes of different pitch to indicate that they are to be performed in legato style.

Smorzando - toning down to a whisper

Solo - a composition for a single voice or instrument

Solmization - The term for the use of syllables for the degrees of the major scale: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la ti, do. The minor scale (natural) is la, ti, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la. (Yamaha uses this method of note naming)

Sonata - A piece for a solo, or accompanied ,instrument, usually in 3 or 4 movements.

Song Forms - The arrangement of sections in a song to contrast similiar and different sections. Often, letters are used to represent different parts of a given selection: ABA, AABA, ABACA, etc.

Sostenuto - more at sustained

Sotto Voce - softly, or also meaning in a low voice

Spirito - with spirit, in a lively manner

Staccato - detached, crisply played

Staff - The five horizontal lines upon which music is written. Usually including a clef, and having a time signature and key signature.

Subdominant - The fourth degree of the major or minor scale. Also, the name of the triad built on the fourth degree of the scale, indicated by IV in a major key and by iv in a minor key.

Subito - Suddenly.

Submediant - The sixth degree of a major or minor scale. Also, the name of the triad built on the sixth degree of the scale, indicated by VI in a major key and by vi in a minor key.

Supertonic - The second degree of the major or minor scale. Also, the name of the triad built on the second degree of the scale, indicated by II in a major scale and iio in a minor scale.

Suspension - The use of a nonharmonic tone to delay the resolution of a chord, frequently as it occurs in a cadence.

Glenn Bonney's Music School © 2000