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Music Vocabulary Motif – a short repeating pattern within music, which can include rhythmic and/or melodic material. Mode – music is generally written in major or minor mode, but there are also other modes, known as medieval modes (see below). Interval – the distance between two notes Texture – the density of the music, relating to how many layers of sound are heard at once. A single instrument or group of instruments playing the same notes would be thin of texture; an entire orchestra or group of instruments with each instrument playing their own part is much thicker. Cadenza – extended improvisatory section Coda – section added to the end of a musical piece Fine – end Glissando – sliding from one pitch to another Legato – smooth Portato – semi-detached, between legato and staccato Staccato – separated, detached Subito – suddenly, immediately Tacet – does not play Tremolo – rapid repetition of a note or alternation of notes Tutti – all parts Unison – all on melody line Tempo- speed of the music Lento – slowly Largo – broadly Larghetto – somewhat faster than largo Adagio – easily, unhurried Andante – walking tempo, flowing Moderato – moderately, neither slow nor fast Allegro – lively Presto – fast Prestissimo – very fast Tempo modifiers Accelerando – becoming faster Allargando – broadening Grave – solemnly Ritardando – gradually slowing Rubato – flexible tempo (“give a little, take a little”) _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Dynamics (from quietest to loudest) Pianissimo – (pp) very softly Piano – (p) softly Mezzo piano – (mp) medium softly Mezzo forte (mf) medium loudly Forte – (f) loudly Fortissimo – (ff) very loudly Dynamic Modifiers Crescendo – growing louder Decrescendo – growing softer Diminuendo – diminishing in loudness Sforzando – sharply accented _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Expression Agitato – excitedly Cantabile – song-like Dolce – sweetly Espressivo – expressively Fuoco – intensity, ardor Giocoso – playfully Grazioso – gracefully Maestoso – majestically Marcato – stressed, marked Scherzando – jokingly Tenuto – extra length or stress Notes and Modes The musical alphabet uses only A, B, C, D, E, F, and G (then A again, etc.) Flat – placed in front of a note, the flat lowers the note by ½ step, or a minor second Sharp – placed in front of a note, the sharp raises the note by ½ step, or minor second Natural – placed in front of a note, the natural cancels a sharp or flat Scale – a succession of musical tones, usually arranged in half and whole steps and forming a particular pattern. Half step – the interval between one tone and its closest neighbor, to the right or left, on the piano keyboard. Whole step – consists of two half steps. Major – the most frequently used mode, which follows with a consecutive set of stepwise tones, such as C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. All the steps are whole steps, with the exception of those from E to F (3 to 4), and B to C (7 to 8). Minor – a different arrangement of whole and half steps from the major mode. There are actually three types of minor scales: natural minor, as A to A on the piano keyboard, with the half steps falling between B and C (2 to 3), and between E and F (5 to 6). The other minor scales are the harmonic minor and the melodic minor, with other variations of half and whole step placement. Medieval Modes – each mode has its own arrangement of whole and half steps. Use of the modes creates the basis for melody and harmony within a composition. Use the white notes of the piano to play the different modes. Ionian mode – our present day major scale, from C to C. Dorian mode – from D to D on the keyboard Phrygian mode – from E to E on the keyboard Lydian mode – from F to F on the keyboard Mixolydian mode – from G to G on the keyboard Aeolian mode – from A to A on the keyboard; otherwise known as natural minor scale Locrian mode- from B to B; rarely used and heard Compositional Forms Call and Response- solo or a small group sounds musical statement, larger group either repeats statement or answers with new but relative material Canon – passage where one voice precisely follows another Chorale – harmonized hymn tune Concerto – composition for soloist and orchestra Fugue – passage where a theme is imitated among the voices Interlude – music to be played between movements or acts Mass – choral setting of the Roman Catholic church service or a funeral (Requiem Mass) Opera – staged dramatic multi-act vocal work with orchestra Oratorio – non-staged (often religious) choral and instrumental work Overture – orchestral introduction to a larger work Prelude – short composition to be played before another composition Reprise- new version (different somehow) of song previously heard in soundtrack Rhapsody – very free-form composition Rondo – composition where the main theme returns after each of several other themes Suite – set of programmatic movements meant to be played one after the other Symphony – large-scale multi-movement composition for orchestra Variations – successive alterations of a melody verse and chorus- alternating between two melodies or themes; for example ABAB bridge B, AABAAB instrumental B outro, intro ABAAB, etc.