GCSE musical terms

Flashcards by f.conboy1, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by f.conboy1 over 7 years ago


A-Level Music Flashcards on GCSE musical terms, created by f.conboy1 on 10/26/2013.

Resource summary

Question Answer
Anacrusis Up-beat, an accented note or group of notes before the first strong beat of a phrase
Beat Regular pulse that can be clapped to
Simple time When the main beats of the bar can be divided into two equal portions
Compound time When the main beats in a bar can be divided into three equal portions
Harmonic rhythm How often the harmony changes in a piece of music
Offbeat Sounds in between the main beats of a piece of music
Polyrhythm More than one rhythm played at the same time
Rest A moment of silence (when someone is not playing)
Swing rhythm When two quavers are played as a triplet crotchet and a quaver
Syncopation Accenting the weak notes of a bar
Triplet Three notes played in the time normally taken by two of the same type
Accent Emphasis on one particular note or chord
Arco Use the bow (string instruments)
Legato Smoothly
Pizzicato (or pizz) Plucked (string instruments)
Staccato Played in a detached way
Vibrato Changing the pitch of a note very fast to give resonance (on strings this means wobbling the finger on the string)
Binary form With an A section followed by a B section
Ternary form With a contrasting section in between two similar ones (ABA)
Rondo Form A main melody alternates with contrasting sections (ABACADA)
Canon The melody in one part is repeated by the others while the original continues (also known as a round)
Coda Section of music that ends a piece
Fuge A main theme is taken up and developed by each of the parts in turn
Chamber music Music written for small groups
Concerto Music for instrument soloist and orchestra (often in three movements)
Ensemble Group of musicians performing together
Opera Large secular musical theatre composition with orchestra, choir, and soloists
Oratorio Large sacred composition with an orchestra, choir, and soloists, while an opera is theatre an oratorio is solely a concert piece
Sonata Piece for soloist or duet in three or four movements
Symphony Type of orchestral composition, usually in four movements.
Baroque Musical period - 1600-1750 E.g. Bach, Handel
Classical Musical period - 1750-1820 E.g. Mozart, Haydn
Romantic Musical period - 1820-1900 E.g. Brahms, Schubert
Modern Musical period - 1900-present E.g. Glass, Williams
Largo Broadly
Adagio Slow and stately
Andante At a walking pace
Moderato Moderately
Allegretto Moderately fast
Allegro Fast, lively and bright
Vivace Lively and fast(er than allegro)
Presto Very fast
Accelerando Speeding up
Allargando Broadening (get a bit slower and perhaps louder)
Rallentando/Ritenuto Slowing down
Rubato With some freedom (lit: "Robbed") of time
Strophic Every verse of a song is set to the same melody
Through-composed Every verse of a song is set to a different melody
Outro/Coda Ending section of a piece of music
Melisma When a singer slurs/spreads out a sylable over more than one note
Virtuoso Highly skilled performer
Cadenza Solo section within a piece for the soloist to show off their virtuosity, sometimes improvised sometimes not
Conductor Person who leads an orchestra by keeping them in time and directing dynamics and tempo
Movement Self-contained section within a larger piece
Break A solo by an instrumentalist (jazz)
Improvisation Making it up as you go along
ff Fortissimo (very loud)
f Forte (loud)
mf Mezzo-forte (moderately loud)
mp Mezzo-piano (moderately quiet)
p Piano (quiet)
pp Pianissimo
cresc. Crescendo (get louder)
dim./decresc. Diminuendo/ decrescendo (getting quieter)
Arpeggio A broken chord (when the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 8ve notes are played after each other rather than at the same time)
Blues scale A hexatonic (6-note) scale with a flattened 3rd, 5th, and 7th
Glissando A slide from one pitch to another
Interval The distance between two notes
Intonation Tuning/ accuracy of pitch
Key The scale that a section of music is based on
Melody A tune
Modal Modes are scales that differ from normal major or minor scales, e.g. play a scale using only white notes starting and finishing on D (dorian mode)
Range The gap between the highest and lowest notes in a piece
Octave The interval between notes 12 semitones apart e.g. middle C to the C above it
Ornaments Small musical additions that decorate a melody e.g. turn, trill
Pentatonic Scale made of 5 notes, the tonic, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th
Pitch How high or low a note is
Scale Sequence of notes that moves by steps either upwards or downwards
Semitone The smallest interval between two notes
Tonality Whether a piece is in a major or minor key
Tone An interval of two semitones
Trill A rapid alternation of two pitches (type of ornament)
Bass line The lowest pitched line in a piece of music
Call-and-response A pair of phrases, often performed by different musicians, in which the second phrase is heard as a reply to the first.
Imitation A melodic idea in one part is copied by another part at a different pitch.
Instrumentation The choice of instruments for a piece of music
Inversion When the intervals in a melody are turned upside down e.g. a rising 5th (C to G) becomes a falling 5th (C to F)
Leitmotif A recurring motif used in a piece to represent the same person, idea, or place
Ostinato A repeated pattern of notes heard throughout a section of music.
Sequence Immediate repetition of a melody at a different pitch
Timbre The individual sound characterisic of a particular instrument or voice
Walking bass A bass line in which all the notes are on the beat and move by small steps
Atonal A piece of music that is not in any key, with clashing harmonies
Cadence The last two chords of a musical phrase, creating musical punctuation
Chord Two or more notes played at the same time, creating a particular quality e.g. major, minor, seventh
Chromatic notes Notes that do not belong to the scale of the key that the music is currently in
Diatonic notes Notes that belong to the scale that the music is currently in
Dissonance A combination of notes that produces a clashing sound when played together
Dominant The 5th note of a scale
Drone A sustained note
Major and Minor Different types of intervals, chords, and keys
Modulation Changing key
Relative major/minor Keys that have the same key signature but a different tonic
Subdominant The 4th note in a scale
12 bar blues Chord sequence used in Blues and Jazz made of the 1st, 4th, and 5th chords of a key
Texture The relationship between different lines of a piece of music
Accompaniment Music that supports a main performer or melody
Heterophony Different versions of the same melody are heard at the same time (as in Gamelan)
Homophonic All parts move in a similar rhythm, creating a chordal effect
Monophonic One melodic line
Parallel motion When parts are moving in the same direction, keeping the same interval between them
Polyphonic/Contrapuntal/Counterpoint Two or more significant melody lines are played at the same time
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