GCSE- Music keywords and definitions.


Test yourself on these flashcards! I hope they help! 。◕‿◕。
Camille Bailey
Flashcards by Camille Bailey, updated more than 1 year ago
Camille Bailey
Created by Camille Bailey about 9 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
A Cappella One or more vocalists performing without an accompaniment.
Accelerando A symbol used in music notation indicating to gradually quicken tempo.
Adagio A tempo having a slow movement. E.g. restful or at ease.
Allegro A direction given to play lively or fast.
Beat The unit of musical rhythm.
Cadence A sequence of chords that brings an end to a phrase, either in the middle or at the end of a composition. E.g. Perfect, plagal, imperfect and interrupted are all cadences.
Canon (Round) A musical form where the melody or tune is imitated by individual parts at regular intervals. E.g. Frère Jacques is played often as a canon.
Chant Singing in unison, texts in a free rhythm. Similar to the rhythm of speech.
Choir Group of singers in a chorus.
Chord Two or more notes played simultaneously in harmony.
Chord Progression A string of chords played in succession.
Chromatic Scale Includes all twelve notes of an octave.
Clef In a sheet of music, a symbol at the beginning of a staff defining the pitch of the notes found in that particular staff.
Dissonance Harsh, discordant, and lack of harmony. Also a chord that sounds incomplete.
Drone Dull, monotonous tone as a humming or buzzing sound. Also a bass note held under a melody.
Duet A piece of music written for two vocalists or instrumentalists.
Dynamics The loudness or softness of a musical composition. Also the symbols in a sheet of music indicating volume.
Ensemble The performance of either all instruments of an orchestra or voices in a chorus.
Flat A symbol indicating that the note is to be diminished by one semitone.
Form The structure of a piece of music.
Forte A symbol indicating to play loud.
Glissando Sliding between two notes.
Harmony Pleasing combination of two or three tones played together in the background while a melody is being played.
Interval The distance in pitch between two notes.
Legato Word to indicate the music is to be played smoothly.
Major A tonal system of music that sounds 'happy'.
Medley A composition that uses passages from other movements of the composition in its entirety.
Minor A tonal system of music that makes the music sound 'sad'.
Modulation To shift to another key.
Octave Eight full tones above the key note where they scale begins and ends.
Orchestra A large group of instrumentalists playing together.
Ostinato A repeated phrase throughout the piece.
Pedal/tonic pedal Repeated notes.
Pentatonic scale A musical scale having five notes. E.g. The five black keys of a keyboard make up a pentatonic scale.
Phrase A single line of music played or sung. A musical sentence basically.
Piano An instruction in sheet music to play softly.
Pitch The frequency of a note determining how high or low it sounds.
Pizzicato String instruments that are picked instead of bowed.
Polyphony Combining a number of individual but harmonizing melodies. Also known as a counterpoint.
Presto A direction in a sheet of music indicating the tempo is to be very fast.
Rhythm The element of music pertaining to time, played as a grouping of notes into accented or unaccented beats.
Scale Successive notes of a key or mode either ascending or descending.
Sharp A symbol indicating the note has to be raised by one semitone.
Staccato Short detached notes.
Stave Made up of the five horizontal parallel lines and the spaces between them on which musical notation is written.
Tablature A system of notation for stringed instruments. The notes are indicated by the finger positions.
Tempo Indicating speed.
Timbre Tone, colour, quality of sound that distinguishes instrument to another. It is determined by the harmonies of sound.
Time signature A numeric symbol in sheet music determining the number of beats in a measure (beats per bar).
Tonality The tonal characteristics determined by the relationship of the notes to the tone.
Tonic The keynote, the first tone of a scale.
Tremolo Quick repetition of the same note or rapid alternation between two notes.
Trill Rapid alternation between two notes that are a half tone or whole tone apart.
Triplet Three notes played in the same amount of time as one or two beats.
Tune A rhythmic succession of musical tones, a melody for instruments and voices.
Unison Two or more voices or instruments playing the same note simultaneously.
Vibrato Creating variation pitch in a note by quickly alternating between notes.
Vivace Direction in sheet music to play lively and spirited manner.
Whole-tone scale A scale consisting of only whole-tone notes. Such as a scale that consists of only six notes.
Whole tone A whole tone is equal to two half notes, four quarter notes, eight eighth notes, etc.
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