Glossary of Musical Terms
A-C | D-L | M-R | S-Z
A - an Italian proposition, meaning to, in, by, at.
Accelerando - accelerating the time, gradually faster and faster.
Adagio - slow.
Adagio Assai, or Molto - very slow.
Ad Libitum - at pleasure.
Affetuoso - tender and affecting.
Agitato - with agitation.
Alla Capella - in church style.
Allegretto - less quick than Allegro.
Allegro - quick.
Allegro Assai - very quick.
Allegro ma non troppo - quick but not too quick.
Amabile - in a gentle and tender style.
Amateur - a lover but not a professor of music.
Amoroso or Con Amore - affectionately, tenderly.
Andante - gentle, distinct, and rather slow, yet connected.
Andante Con Moto - quicker than Andante.
Andantino - somewhat slower than Andante.
Animato, or Con Anima - with fervant, animated expression.
Animo, or Con Animo - with spirit, courage and boldness.
Antiphone - music sung in alternate parts.
Arioso - in a light, airy, singing manner.
A Tempo - in time.
A Tempo Giusto - in strict and exact time.
Ben Marcato - in a pointed and well-marked manner.
Bis - twice.
Brilliante - brilliant, gay, shining, sparkling.
Cadence - closing strain: also, a fanciful extemporaneous embellishment at the close of a song.
Cadenza - same as the second use of Cadence. See Cadence.
Calando - softer and slower.
Cantabile - graceful, pleasing, singing style; a pleasing, flowing melody.
Canto - the treble part in a chorus.
Choir - a company or band of singers; also that part of a church appropriated to the singers.
Chorist, or Chorister - a member of a choir of singers.
Col, or Con - with.
Col Arco - with the bow.
Comodo, or Commodo - in an easy and unrestrained manner.
Con Brio, or Brioso - with brilliancy, brilliant.
Con Affecto - with expression.
Con Dolcessa - with delicacy.
Con Dolore or Con Duolo - with mournful expression.
Conductor - one who superintends a musical performance; same as Music Director.
Con Energia - with energy.
Con Expressione - with expression.
Con Fuoco - with ardor, fire.
Con Grazio - with grace and elegance.
Con Impeto - with force, energy.
Con Gusto - with chaste exactness, with taste.
Con Moto - with emotion.
Con Spirito - with spirit, animation.
Core - chorus.
Crescendo, or Cres - gradually increasing the sound.
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Da - for, from, of.
Duet - for two voices or instruments.
Diminuendo - gradually diminishing the sound.
Da Capo - from the beginning.
Declamendo - in the style of declamation.
Decrescendo - diminishing, decreasing.
Devozione - devotional.
Delettante - a lover of the arts in general, or a lover of music.
Di Molto - much or very.
Divoto - devotedly, devoutly.
Dolce - soft, sweet, tender, delicate.
Dolente, or Dolorosa - mournful.
Doloroso - in a plaintive mournful style.
E, and Elegante - elegance.
Energico, or Con Energia - with energy.
Expressivo - expressive.
Fine, Fin, or Finale - the end.
Forte, or F - loud.
Forzando, Forza, or Fz - sudden increase of power.
Fugue, or Fuga - a composition which repeats or sustains, in its several parts, throughout, the subject with which it commences, and which is led off by some one of its parts.
Fugato - in the fugue style.
Fughetto - a short fugue.
Giusto - in exact and steady time.
Grazioso - smoothly, gracefully.
Grave - slow and solemn.
Impressario - the conductor of a concert.
Lacrimando, or Lacromozo - mournful and pathetic.
Lamentevole, Lamentando, or Lamentabile - mournfully.
Larghissimo - extremely slow.
Larghetto - slow, but not so slow as Largo.
Largo - slow.
Legato - close, gliding, connected style, slurred.
Leggiero - light.
Lentando - gradually slower and softer.
Lento, or Lentamente - slow.
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Ma - but.
Maestoso - majestic, majestically.
Maestro di Capella - chapel master, or conductor of church music.
Marcato - in a strong and marked style.
Messa di Voce - moderate swell.
Moderato, or Moderamente - moderately, in moderate time.
Molto - much or very.
Molto Voce - with a full voice.
Morendo - gradually dying away.
Mordente - a beat or transient shake.
Mosso - emotion.
Moto - motion.
Non - not, as.
Non Troppo - not too much.
Organo - the organ.
Orchestra - a company or band of instrumental performers.
Pastoral - applied to graceful movements in sextuple time.
Piano, or p - sweet, soft.
Pianissimo, or pp - very sweet and soft.
Piu - more.
Piu Mosso - with more motion, faster.
Pizzicato - snapping the violin string with the fingers.
Poco - a little.
Poco Adagio - a little slow.
Poco a Poco - by degrees, gradually.
Portamento - the manner of sustaining and conducting the voice from one sound to another.
Precentor - conductor, leader of a choir.
Presto - quick.
Prestissimo - very quick.
Rallentando, Allentando, or Sientando - slower and softer by degrees.
Recitando - a speaking manner of performance.
Recitante - in a style or recitative.
Recitative - musical declamation.
Rinforzando, Rinf, or Rinforzo - suddenly increasing in power.
Ritardando - slackening the time.
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Semplice - chaste, simple.
Sempre - throughout, always.
Sempre Forte - loud throughout.
Senza - without.
Senza Organo - without the Organ.
Sforzando, Sforzato - with strong force or emphasis, rapidly diminishing.
Sicilian - a movement of light, graceful character.
Smorendo, or Smorzando - dying away.
Smorzando, or smorz - smothering the sound by degrees.
Soave, Soavemente - sweet, sweetly. See Dolce.
Solfeggio - a vocal exercise.
Solo - for a single voice or instrument.
Sostenuto - sustained.
Sotto - under, below.
Sotto Voce - with subdued voice.
Spiritozo, Con Spirito - with spirit and animation.
Staccato - short, detached, distinct.
Subito - quick.
Tace, or Tacet - silent, or to be silent.
Tardo - slow.
Tasto Solo - without chords.
Tempo - time.
Tempo a Piacere - time at pleasure.
Tempo Giusto - in exact time.
Ten, Tenuto - hold on. See Sostenuto.
Tutti - the whole, full chorus.
Un - a.
Un Poco - a little.
Va - go on.
Va Crescendo - continue to increase.
Verse - same as solo.
Vigoroso - bold, energetic.
Vivace - quick and cheerful.
Virtuoso - a proficient in art.
Voce Sola - voice alone.
Volti Subito - turn over the page quickly.
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