Musical Dictionary, providing italian, german and french music terms.
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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; increased rapidity.

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 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

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.

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Musical Dictionary: Music Terms and Glossary added to and updated September 2008 providing music resources and reference materials for piano, theory and college students
Maintained by Bryon Tosoff

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