Musical Dictionary:Italian Musical Terms and the Definitions in Their English Equivalents
a - for, at, in, etc.
ab (german) Off Used in organ music
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
Abendmusik (German) Evening or Night Music
Abgestossen (German) Detached, struck off or in a staccato like manner
Abkurzung (German) Abridgment, an abbreviation
Abnehmend ( German ) Diminishing
Abrege (French) Abridgment, also the trackers of an organ
Abstossen ( German ) Similiar in manner of performance to staccato
Abwechselnd (German) Alternating, changing. In organ playing alternately
In chior singing, antiphonally, in dance music, Change of Movements
a cappella -- unaccompanied vocal music
a capriccio - in a capricious style
accelerando - gradually getting quicker
accrescendo - getting louder
Accarezzevole (It.) Blandishing; in a persuasive and caressing manner.
Accelerando (It.) Accelerating the time; gradually Increasing the velocity
of the movement.
Accelerato (It,) Accelerated;
Accent. A strcss or emphasis upon a certain
note or passage to mark its position in the measure, or its relative importance in regard to the
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
adagietto - slow but some what faster then adagio
adagio - very slow
adagissimo - very slowly
ad libitum - at the performer's liberty
A due 'by two' or both performers, as opposed to solo or soloist
affabile - in a pleasing manner
affettuoso - affectionate, with tender warmth
affrettando - hurrying, or in a quickening tempo
agitato - excited, excitedly, agitated
Aigu - shrill, or high pitched
Air - a melody or tune, a song, a 17th or 18th century instrumental composition
Alborada - a Spanish instrumental serenade
al fine - to the end, generally after a repetition
Aliquot strings - piano strings which are placed above normal piano strings.
these additional strings produce a sympathetic resonating sound once strings are struck by the piano hammers. The normal
percussive quality of the piano develops an unusual combination using this technique.
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
Alleluia - Hebrew terminology is hallelujah, which is translated in english into
"praise the Lord". This is generally used in liturgical music and hymns.
Alphorn - a long wooden horn which is still in use by the alpine herdsmen of Switzerland
and other regions in Europe. These are very long horns which the herdsmen used to contact
and call their flocks from a great distance.
al Tedesea -- in the German style
amabile - sweet, loveable
amore - tenderness and affection
anioroso - loving
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
andare - go on
Anglaise - in the English style
anima - (con) with life
anime - lively,. spirited
animito - in a lively and animated manner.
animoso - in a lively manner
antico - ancient
a piacere at pleasure
a poeo by degrees, gradually
a poeo a poeo little by little
appassionato - impassioned
appenato - grieved, distressed
appoggiato - leaning upon, drawn out
arco - 'bow', a music term which directs the player
to bow the violin rather then pluck at the strings, coll'arco, meaning with the bow. The term
pizzicato --Plucked with the fingers--is notated by
an inverted ^ above the notes to be struck or to begin a
plucking motion. Another term seen is areato for violin or
stringed instruments which is described below.
areato - played with the bow
ardente - with fire, vehemently
ardore -- with love and warmth
arioso - in the style of an air, in the manner of the aria, a kind of recitative
quality in the manner of an air.
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)
assai - very, extremely
assai pin - much more
a tempo - in time
attacca - go on to the next
Aubade - a composition for performance in the morning, much like a serenade is intended for evening music.
Augmentation - the increasing of time values
Ave Maria - a prayer to the Virgin Mary, it is used in the Roman Catholic liturgy
generally set to music by various composers-in either the Latin, or translated lanquages.
Musical Dictionary: Music Terms and Glossary added to and updated September 2008 Pianoinstructors.com providing music resources and reference materials for piano, theory and college students
Maintained by Bryon Tosoff