Music Dictionary for Kids - P

from Music Dictionary for Kids Index


PAN PIPES - A set of pipes of gradually increasing length, that are played by blowing air across the opening in the top of the pipe. They are typical made from bamboo or giant cane. Also called "Pan Flute".

PARALLEL SCALES - Scales which share the same tonic pitch, but have a different key signature. For example, "C Major" and "C Minor". Also see "Relative Scales."

CHARLIE PARKER - (1920-1955) American Jazz saxophonist and composer. Parker was an influential jazz saxophonist, and a leader in the development of bebop. Read more...

PENTATONIC SCALE - A five-note scale consisting of steps 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the major scale. For example, the F major pentatonic scale includes the notes F-G-A-C-D.

PERCUSSION - The family of instruments that produce a sound by being hit, shaken, rubbed or scraped to cause the instrument to make a sound. The percussion family includes the snare drum, bass drum, timpani, xylophone, glockenspiel, chimes, cymbals and a variety of hand held instruments.

PERFECT PITCH - The ability to accurately sing a without referring to a musical instrument for help. Also called "Absolute Pitch".

PESANTE - Heavy.

PETITE - Little.

PHRASE - A musical sentence.

PIANO - An acoustic keyboard instrument that produces a sound when a felt covered hammer strikes a steel string. Also, play "Soft".

PIANISSIMO (pp) - Very soft.

PICARDY THIRD - A major chord serving as the tonic chord at the end of a piece in a minor key. This technique is achieved by raising the third of the expected minor triad by a half step to create a major triad.

PICCOLO - Italian for "little". A little flute that plays one octave higher than a regular flute.

PITCH - The highness or lowness of a music note.

PIU MOSSO - More motion, faster.

PIZZICATO - Plucked. A technique for playing a string instrument requiring plucking the string rather than playing it with the bow.

POCO - Little.

POCO PIU MOSSO - A little more motion.

PRELUDE - A short piece of music which may change in form from piece to piece. It may be a piece of music that is played as an introduction to other music, or it may stand on its own.

PREMIERE - First performance.

ELVIS PRESLEY - (1935-1977) American singer and actor. Elvis is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll", and is one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century.

PRESTISSIMO - Very, very fast. The fastest tempo.

PRESTO - Very fast.

PRIMO - First.

PRINCIPAL - A section leader in an instrumental ensemble.

PROGRAM MUSIC - Instrumental music that tries to tell a story or paint a picture. Movie scores are always program music. Popular program music pieces include The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas and Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky from Disney's Fantasia. Opposite of "Absolute Music".

SERGEI PROKOFIEV - (1891-1953) Russian Modern Era composer. Prokofiev's most popular work is Peter and the Wolf for chamber orchestra and narrator. Read more...