ABA FORM - A piece of music with three sections. The first musical section is played (A), followed by a new section (B), then by a repetition of the first section (A).
ABSOLUTE MUSIC - Instrumental music is music that is not about anything. It doesn't try to tell a story or paint a picture. It just is. Absolute music pieces have titles like "Sonata" or "Symphony". Opposite of "Program Music".
A CAPELLA - Singing without instrumental accompaniment.
ACCELERANDO - Gradually getting faster.
ACCENT - A musical symbol indicating that the note should be played louder to make it stand out from the others.
ACCIDENTAL - A sharp, flat, or natural not included in the key signature.
ACCOMPANIMENT - A part that supports to the main part. For example, a violinist might be supported by a piano or an orchestra when performing a solo work.
ACCORDION - A portable wind instrument with bellows, metal reeds, and a keyboard to play the melody, with buttons for bass notes and chords. It is played by opening or closing the pleated bellows, which move air through the reeds.
ADAGIO - Slow.
AD LIBITUM - At one's pleasure. Indicates that a section of the music may be left out, or played without keeping a steady beat.
AEROPHONE - Any instrument that produces sound by causing air to vibrate within the instrument. Aerophones include instruments like the flute, trumpet and bagpipe.
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - (1901-1971) Jazz trumpeter and singer. Armstrong was an skilled jazz musician with a charismatic stage presence. These unique qualities helped him to be accepted by many groups of people in a still racially divided world. Read more...
ARPEGGIO - Notes of a chord that are played or sung in one after another, rather than simultaneously. Arpeggio is an Italian word that means "in the manner of the harp".
ARRANGEMENT - An adaption of a composition from the way the composer originally wrote it. It may include changes to the melody, harmony, and rhythm of the music.
ARTICULATION - Referring to the musical performance of a note or groups of notes. Articulation marks include the slur, staccato, accent, and legato.
A TEMPO - Return to the previous tempo.
ATONAL - Music that does not have a key "center" or tonic pitch.
AUGMENTATION - To make greater. In music, this typically involves lengthening of rhythmic values of a melody. For example, an eight quarter note melody is augmented if the composer later writes it as eight half notes. Opposite of "Diminution".
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