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Terms and Definitions
Characteristics of Romantic Music (Lecture 9)
Chromatic harmony: harmony utilizing chords built on the five chromatic notes of the scale in
addition to the 7 diatonic ones; producing rich harmonies
Chromaticism: the frequent presence in melodies and chords of intervals only a half step apart;
in a scale, the use of notes not part of the diatonic major or minor pattern
Art song: Composition for solo voice and piano accompaniment
Through-composed: a term used to describe music that exhibits no obvious repetitions or overt
musical form from beginning to end
Nocturne (night piece): “a slow, introspective type of music, usually for piano, with rich
harmonies and poignant dissonances intending to convey the mysteries of night”
Rubato: (Italian for “robbed”) in musical notation, a tempo mark indicating that the performer
may take, or steal, great liberties with the tempo
Bel canto: “(Italian for “beautiful singing”): a style of singing and a type of Italian opera
developed in the nineteenth century that features the beautiful tone and brilliant technique of the
human voice
Recitativo accompagnato: orchestrally accompanied recitative
Cabaletta: a fast concluding aria in which the increased speed of the music allows one or more
soloists to race off stage at the end of a scene or act
Music drama: a musical work for the stage in which all the arts – poetry, music, acting, mime,
dance, and scenic design – function as a harmonious ensemble
Gesamtkunstwerk: total art work
Leitmotif: A brief, distinctive unit of music designed to represent a character, object, or idea; a
term applied to the motives in the music dramas of Richard Wagner
Orchestral lied: an art song in which the full orchestra replaced the piano as the medium of