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Music Dictionary for Kids | M
from Music Dictionary for Kids Index


MAESTRO - Italian for "master" or "teacher". The conductor of a musical ensemble.

MAJOR CHORD - A triad having a root, major third, and perfect fifth.

MAJOR SCALE - A diatonic scale with a bright sound. The pattern for the major scale is W-W-H-W-W-W-H (W=whole step H=half step).

MANDOLIN - A stringed instrument from the lute family. It has a small pear-shaped body, strings, and a neck like a guitar. A sound is made by strumming or picking the strings.

MARACAS - Gourd-shaped percussion instruments that are shaken. They are typically filled with beans or pebbles.

MARCATO - A musical symbol that means to play the note with emphasis.

MARCH - Music with a strong regular beat, typically in 2/4 or 6/8 meter. John Phillip Sousa (1854-1932) is known as the "March King".

MEASURE - A set of beats determined by the time signature between two bar lines on the music staff.

MEDIEVAL ERA - (Before 1450) - The musical period when plainsong of the Roman Catholic Church flourished. Sacred musical forms that developed during the late 13th century include the conductus, discant, and clausulae, motet.

MELODY - A sequence of notes and rhythms. Often composed from one or more motifs (musical fragments) which develop into larger phrases (two, four and eight measures). Also called a "Tune" or a "Theme".

ALAN MENCHEN - (1949-Present) An American musical theatre and film composer. Menchen is best known for his scores for Disney, including the The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

MENO - Less.

MENO MOSSO - Less motion.

METER - A repetitive pattern of strong (accented) and weak (unaccented) beats within a measure.

METRONOME - A device that indicates the exact tempo of the music.

MEZZO - Italian for "half."

MEZZO FORTE (mf) - Medium loud.

MEZZO PIANO (mp) - Medium soft.

MI - The solfége syllable for the third note of the major scale.

MIDDLE C - The "C" in the middle of the 10 line grand staff. Also the "C" in the middle of the piano.

MINOR (SCALE) - A diatonic scale with a dark sound. The three types of minor scales are the natural, melodic, and harmonic minor scales.

MISTERIOSO - Mysteriously.

MIT - With.

MODERATO - Moderate tempo.

MODERN ERA - (1920-Present) The music of the Modern Era is marked by a divergence into a wide variety of compositional styles. Famous composers include George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Arnold Schoenberg, Charles Ives and Igor Stravinsky.

MODULATION - The process of changing from one tonality (key signature) to another.

MOLTO - Very much.

MOOD - The character or feeling of a piece of music.

MOTIVE - Typically a three to seven note melodic or rhythmic pattern.

MOTO - Motion.

JEAN-JOSEPH MOURET - (1682-1738) A French Baroque Era composer. Mouret's dramatic works made him one of the most important composers of French Baroque music. Mouret's Rondeau, from his first "Suite de Symphonies", was adopted in 1971 as the theme for the PBS television series "Masterpiece Theater". It is also a popular choice for weddings.

MOVEMENTS - The large divisions of a piece of music, similar to the chapters of a book.

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART - (1756-1791) An Austrian Classical Era composer. Mozart died at 35 years of age, leaving behind a collection of more than 600 compositions, including works for the symphony, the piano, and the opera. Some of these pieces are considered to be the finest works in the Classical Era style. Read more...

MUSIC - Organized sound.

MUSIC THEORY - The study of how music works.

MODEST MUSSORGSKY - (1839-1881) A Russian Romantic Era composer. Some of his greatest accomplishments include the orchestral work Night on Bald Mountain, made famous when it appeared in Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940), and Pictures at an Exhibition, a collection of piano pieces which describe a set of 10 drawings and watercolor paintings. Read more...

MUTE - An accessory used to color the sound of an instrument.

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