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The Music Term Glossary P-Z

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The Music Term Glossary P-Z Empty The Music Term Glossary P-Z

Post by Admin Andrew Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:59 pm

The musical term glossary.

P
• parlando or parlante – like speech, enunciated
• Partitur (Ger) – full orchestral score
• passionato – passionately
• pastorale – in a pastoral style, peaceful and simple
• pausa – rest
• pedale – pedal
• perdendosi – dying away
• pesante – heavy, ponderous
• peu ΰ peu (Fr) – little by little
• pianissimo or pp (usually) – very gently; i.e., perform very softly, even softer than piano. This convention can be extended; the more ps that are written, the softer the composer wants the musician to play or sing, thus ppp (pianississimo) would be softer than pp. Note: any dynamics in a piece should always be interpreted relative to the other dynamics in the same piece. For example, pp should be executed as softly as possible, but if ppp is found later in the piece, pp should be markedly louder than ppp. Likewise, ff should be executed as loudly as possible, but if fff is found later in the piece, ff should be noticeably quieter. More than three ps (ppp) or three fs (fff) are uncommon.
• piano or p (usually) – gently; i.e., played or sung softly (see dynamics)
• piano-vocal score – the same as a vocal score, a piano arrangement along with the vocal parts of an opera, cantata, or similar
• piacevole – pleasant
• piangevole – plaintive
• piω – more; see mosso for an example
• pizzicato – pinched, plucked; i.e., in music for bowed strings, plucked with the fingers as opposed to played with the bow; compare arco (in this list), which is inserted to cancel a pizzicato instruction
• pochettino or poch. – very little
• poco – a little, as in poco piω allegro (a little faster)
• poco a poco – little by little
• poi – then, indicating a subsequent instruction in a sequence; diminuendo poi subito fortissimo, for example: getting softer then suddenly very loud
• portamento – carrying; i.e., 1. generally, sliding in pitch from one note to another, usually pausing just above or below the final pitch, then sliding quickly to that pitch. If no pause is executed, then it is a basic glissando; or 2. in piano music, an articulation between legato and staccato, like portato, in this list
• portato – carried; i.e., non-legato, but not as detached as staccato (same as portamento [2], in this list)
• posato – settled
• potpourri or pot-pourri (Fr) – potpourri (as used in other senses in English); i.e., a kind of musical form structured as ABCDEF... etc.; the same as medley or, sometimes, fantasia
• precipitato – precipitately
• prestissimo – extremely quickly, as fast as possible
• presto – very quickly
• prima volta – the first time; for example prima volta senza accompagnamento (the first time without accompaniment)
• primo or prima (the feminine form) – first
Q
• quasi (Latin and Italian) – as if, almost, e.g. quasi recitativo like a recitative in an opera, or quasi una fantasia like a fantasia
[edit] R
• rallentando or rall. – Broadening of the tempo (often not discernable from ritardando); progressively slower
• rapido – fast
• rasch (Ger) – fast
• religioso – religiously
• repente – suddenly
• restez (Fr) – stay; i.e., remain on a note or string
• rinforzando (rf) – reinforced; i.e., emphasized; sometimes like a sudden crescendo, but often applied to a single note
• risoluto – resolutely
• rit. – an abbreviation for ritardando;[1][2][3][4] also less frequently considered an abbreviation for ritenuto[5][6][7]
• ritardando, ritard., rit. – slowing down; decelerating; opposite of accelerando (see in this list)
• ritenuto, riten., rit. – held back; i.e., slower (usually more so but more temporarily than a ritardando, and it may, unlike ritardando, apply to a single note)
• rolled chord – see arpeggiato in this list
• roulade (Fr) – a rolling; i.e., a florid vocal phrase
• rubato – robbed; i.e., flexible in tempo, applied to notes within a musical phrase for expressive effect
• ruvido – roughly
S
• saltando – bouncing the bow as in a staccato arpeggio, literally means "jumping"
• sanft (Ger) – gently
• scherzando, scherzoso – playfully
• scherzo – a joke; i.e., a musical form, originally and usually in fast triple time, often replacing the minuet in the later Classical period and the Romantic period, in symphonies, sonatas, string quartets and the like; in the 19th century some scherzi were independent movements for piano, etc.
• schleppen (Ger) – to drag; usually nicht schleppen ("don't drag"), paired with nicht eilen ("don't hurry") in Gustav Mahler's scores
• schnell (Ger) – fast
• schneller (Ger) – faster
• scordatura – out of tune; i.e., an alternative tuning used for the strings of a string instrument
• secco, or sec (Fr) – dry
• segno – sign, usually Dal Segno (see above) "from the sign", indicating a return to the point marked by
• segue – carry on to the next section without a pause
• sehr (Ger) – very
• semitone – The smallest pitch difference between notes (in most Western music), (e.g., F–F#).
• semplice – simply
• sempre – always
• senza – without
• senza misura – without measure
• senza sordina, or senza sordine (plural) – without the mute; compare con sordina in this list; see also Sordina. Note: sordina, with plural sordine, is strictly correct Italian, but the forms con sordino and con sordini are much more commonly used as terms in music. In piano music (notably in Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata), senza sordini or senza sordina (or some variant) is sometimes used to mean keep the sustain pedal depressed, since the sustain pedal lifts the dampers off the strings, with the effect that all notes are sustained indefinitely.
• serioso – seriously
• sforzando or sfz – made loud; i.e., a sudden strong accent
• silenzio – silence; i.e., without reverberations
• simile – similarly; i.e., continue applying the preceding directive, whatever it was, to the following passage
• slargando or slentando – becoming broader or slower (that is, becoming more largo or more lento)
• smorzando or smorz. – dying away, extinguishing or dampening; usually interpreted as a drop in dynamics, and very often in tempo as well
• soave – smoothly, gently
• solenne – solemn
• solo, plural soli – alone; i.e., executed by a single instrument or voice. The instruction soli requires more than one player or singer; in a jazz big band this refers to an entire section playing in harmony.
• sonatina – a little sonata
• sonatine – a little sonata, used in some countries instead of sonatina
• sonore – sonorous
• sordina, sordine (plural) – a mute, or a damper in the case of the piano. Note: sordina, with plural sordine, is strictly correct Italian, but the forms sordino and sordini are much more commonly used as terms in music. See also con sordina, senza sordina, in this list.
• soprano – the highest of the standard four voice ranges (bass, tenor, alto, soprano)
• sordino – see sordina, above
• sospirando – sighing
• sostenuto – sustained, lengthened
• sotto voce – under voice; i.e., softly and subdued, as if speaking under one's breath
• spiccato – distinct, separated; i.e., a way of playing the violin and other bowed instruments by bouncing the bow on the string, giving a characteristic staccato effect
• spinto
• spiritoso – spiritedly
• staccato – making each note brief and detached; the opposite of legato. In music notation, a small dot under or over the head of the note indicates that it is to be articulated as staccato.
• stanza – a verse of a song
• strepitoso – noisy
• stretto – tight, narrow; i.e., faster or hastening ahead; also, a passage in a fugue in which the contrapuntal texture is denser, with close overlapping entries of the subject in different voices; by extension, similar closely imitative passages in other compositions
• stringendo – tightening, narrowing; i.e., with a pressing forward or acceleration of the tempo (that is, becoming stretto, see preceding entry)
• subito – suddenly
• sul ponticello – on the bridge; i.e., in string playing, an indication to bow (or sometimes to pluck) very near to the bridge, producing a characteristic glassy sound, which emphasizes the higher harmonics at the expense of the fundamental; the opposite of sul tasto
• sul tasto – on the fingerboard; i.e., in string playing, an indication to bow (or sometimes to pluck) over the fingerboard; the opposite of sul ponticello
T
• tacet – silent; do not play
• tempo – time; i.e., the overall speed of a piece of music
• tempo di marcia – march tempo
• tempo di sturb de neighbors – occasionally seen on jazz charts
• tempo di valse – waltz tempo
• tempo giusto – in strict time
• tempo primo, tempo uno, or tempo I (sometimes also written as tempo I°) – resume the original speed
• teneramente – tenderly
• tenerezza – tenderness
• tenor – the second lowest of the standard four voice ranges (bass, tenor, alto, soprano)
• tenuto – held; i.e., touch on a note slightly longer than usual, but without generally altering the note's value
• tessitura
• tranquillo – calmly, peacefully
• tremolo – shaking; i.e., a rapid repetition of the same note, or an alternation between two or more notes. It can also be intended (inaccurately) to mean a rapid and repetitive variation in pitch for the duration of a note (see vibrato). It is notated by a strong diagonal bar across the note stem, or a detached bar for a set of notes (or stemless notes).
• tre corde or tc (or sometimes inaccurately tre corda) – three strings; i.e., release the soft pedal of the piano (see una corda)
• troppo – too much; usually seen as non troppo, meaning moderately or, when combined with other terms, not too much, such as allegro [ma] non troppo (fast but not too fast)
• tutti – all; i.e., all together, usually used in an orchestral or choral score when the orchestra or all of the voices come in at the same time, also seen in Baroque-era music where two instruments share the same copy of music, after one instrument has broken off to play a more advanced form: they both play together again at the point marked tutti. See also: ripieno.
U
• un, uno, or una – one, as for example in the following entries
• una corda – one string; i.e., in piano music, depress the soft pedal, altering, and reducing the volume of, the sound. In some pianos, this literally results in the hammer striking one string rather than two or three. (For most notes on modern instruments, in fact it results in striking two rather than three strings.) Its counterpart, tre corde (three strings; see in this list), is the opposite: the soft pedal is to be released.
• un poco – a little
• unisono or unis (Fr) – in unison; i.e., several players in a group are to play exactly the same notes within their written part, as opposed to splitting simultaneous notes among themselves. Often used to mark the return from divisi (see in this list).
V
• veloce – with velocity
• velocissimo – as quickly as possible; usually applied to a cadenza-like passage or run
• vibrato – vibrating; i.e., a more or less rapidly repeated slight alteration in the pitch of a note, used to give a richer sound and as a means of expression. Often confused with tremolo, which refers either to a similar variation in the volume of a note, or to rapid repetition of a single note.
• vittorioso – victoriously
• virtuoso – (noun or adjective) performing with exceptional ability, technique, or artistry
• vivo – lively
• vivace – very lively, up-tempo
• vivacissimo – very lively
• vocal score or piano-vocal score – a music score of an opera, or a vocal or choral composition with orchestra (like oratorio or cantata) where the vocal parts are written out in full but the accompaniment is reduced to two staves and adapted for playing on piano
• voce – voice
• volante – flying
• V.S. (volti subito) – turn suddenly; i.e., turn the page quickly
W
• wenig (Ger) – a little, not much
• wolno (Polish) – loose, slowly; found as a directive in The Elephant from The Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saλns
Z
• Zδhlzeit (Ger) – beat
• zart (Ger) – tender
• Zartheit (Ger) – tenderness
• zδrtlich (Ger) – tenderly
• Zeichen (Ger) – sign
• Zeitmaί, also spelled Zeitmass (Ger) – time-measure, i.e., tempo
• zelo, zeloso, zelosamente – zeal, zealous, zealously
• ziehen (Ger) – to draw out
• zitternd (Ger) – trembling; i.e., tremolando
• zφgernd (Ger) – doubtful, delaying; i.e., rallentando
Footnotes
1. ^ http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/textr/Rit.html
2. ^ http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/rit.
3. ^ American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition
4. ^ Gardner Read, Music Notation, 2nd edition, p. 282
5. ^ http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory5.htm
6. ^ Oxford American Dictionary
7. ^ Collins English Dictionary

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