A document that contains the notation of a composition.
The entirety of the instrumental and vocal parts of a composition in written form.
Music notation
A graphical system that strives to represent duration, pitch, and other music elements.
The graphic representation of the symbol (shape).
The particular quality of a sound that fixed itself in its position in the scale. The placement of the symbol; higher placement = higher pitch.
Whole Note
Longest value in notated music.
Half note
Half a whole note.
Quarter note
Half a half note.
Eighth note
Half a quarter note.
Sixteenth note
Half an eighth note.
Speed of a piece.
Created by the combination of duration and accent.
The periods of silence in a piece.
The main oval shaped part of a note.
The line that comes up/down from a notehead.
The little addition to the stem that looks like a wavy line.
Where notes are placed; consists of five horizontal lines and four spaces in between them. Represents the different pitches.
The number of sound waves.
The basic unit of frequency; one cycle per second.
Edvard Grieg
Norwegian composer; 1843-1907. Hall of the Mountain King.
Giuseppe Verdi
Italian composer; 1813-1901. Triumphal March and Chorus from opera Aida.
Which instrument is being used.
Pianississimo; very, very softly.
Pianissimo; very softly.
Piano; soft.
Mezzo piano; half soft.
Mezzo forte; half loud.
Forte; loud.
Fortissimo; very loud.
Fortississimo; very, very loud.
Al niete
To nothing.
Becoming louder.
Decrescrendo; diminuendo
Becoming softer.
Dying away.
The amount of something put in to create motion and sound.
Keyboard mechanism
Allows pianists to play the notes without strumming the strings directly.
The hammer (of a piano) equivalent in a harpsichord.
Performer's Touch
The skill to control the movement of the hammer or plectrum via the keys.
Carl Orff
Contemporary composer that wrote Carmina Burana: O Fortuna. 1895-1982 Germany Known widely for his work in music education.
Maurice Ravel
Contemporary composer that wrote Daphnis and Chloé. 1875-1937. France.
Richard Wagner
Romantic composer that wrote Tannhäuser: Pilgrim's Chorus and Die Walküre: The Ride of the Valkyries. 1813-1883 Germany Goal was to produce Gesamtkunstwerk (unified work of art). Used short, recurring musical ideas called leitmotifs (signature tunes).
A woodwind instrument held horizontally and sounded by blowing across the mouthpiece of the instrument.
Originally created from a shawm; a double reed instrument with a gently tapering conical bore.
Tone color; quality of a sound.
Human voice
The first instrument and therefore first timbre.
Instruments that produce sounds via vibrating strings.
Instruments that produce sounds via vibrating columns of air.
Instruments that produce sounds via vibrating membranes.
Instruments that produce sounds by vibrating themselves.
Instruments that produce sounds via electrical means.
The selection and adaptation of a composition of parts of a composition to instruments for which it was not originally designed.
The part of the vocal range that is most used in a song.
Highest female voice.
Giacommo Puccini
Romantic composer that wrote O mio Babbino Caro. 1858-1925 Italy
Coloratura Soprano
Agile voices capable of singing elaborate, highly ornamented melodies that sometimes contain the highest pitches in the vocal repertoire.
A lower voice range than the soprano. (Upper mid range)
Léo Delibes
Romantic composer that wrote Lakmé: The Flower Duet. 1836-1891 France Known as an outstanding composer of operetta.
Alto for short; the lowest ranges for female voices.
Originally a song sung by a single voice or without accompaniment. Now means a lyric song for solo voice generally having to contrasting parts. Ends with a literal or elaborate repeat of part 1.
The highest of male voices.
The lowest male voice.
The male voice range that can reach both tenor and bass ranges. Greek for deep sounding.
Largest group of singers.
Vocal range
Based on the highest and lowest sounds a person can produce.
A choir without instrument accompaniment.
Chamber Choir
A small group of singers.
John Farmer
English composer and organist that wrote Fair Phyllis, a poem of pastoral love that reveals the hidden implications of the texts through the deliberately suggestive musical setting.
Symphony Orchestra
Can consist of more than 100 players separated according to the four families of instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Occasionally the keyboard family appears.
Benjamin Britten
Contemporary composer that wrote The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. 1913-1976 England TYPttO plays music written by Henry Purcell. The theme is played six times: full orchestra, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, then full orchestra again.
A traditional form of composition in which one part enters after another using the same theme, such that the music grows gradually in size and intensity.
Keeps everyone playing together and balanced as well as how the music should be performed for best interpretation. Before the 19th century, their job was to mainly beat time.
Brushing the fingers over the strings.
Picking or pulling the strings and causing them to vibrate.
A composition that shows off a specific instrument(s) with the orchestra as accompaniment.
A technique that consists of a quick back and forth movement or rocking of the finger that is in contact with the string, with the intent of producing a fluctuation of pitch for expressive purposes.
Highest pitch string instrument. Usually divided into 2 sections.
Second highest pitch string instrument.
Third highest pitch string instrument.
Double Bass
Lowest pitch string instrument.
Part time fifth member of the orchestral strings.
A thin piece of cane, plastic, or metal used as the principal vibrating source for many instruments.
The technical term for the way a performer places his or her lips, teeth, and tongue on the mouthpiece.
Any instrument for which an air column confined within a hollow body is set in motion by a stream of air from a player's lips positioned against the sharp edge of a hole. Modern flute patented by German maker Theobald Boehm.
The main orchestral instrument in the double reed category. Requires an immense burst of energy to the column of air inside the body.
English Horn
A lower sounding Oboe (tenor).
The predecessor to the oboe, creates a loud penetrating sound.
Benedetto Marcello
Baroque composer that wrote Oboe Concerto in D minor. 1686-1739 Italy
Most recent member of the woodwind family. Has a single reed and looks like the oboe but is 3 inches longer. Created by German flute maker Johann Christoph Denned in Nürnerg in early 1700s.
Single-reed woodwind instrument made by Adolphe Sax.
George Gershwin
Contemporary composer that wrote Rhapsody in Blue. 1898-1937 USA
Double-reed instrument developed in the 17th century. Consists of four sections. Modern version developed in France 1636 then perfected in Germany. Mainly a solo instrument.
One of the oldest instruments. Brass, traditionally didn't have valves. Most start with B-flat.
Franz Joseph Hayden
Classical composer who wrote Trumpet Concerto in E flat major: II. Andante cantabile 1732-1809 Austria
Also known as the French horn. Traditionally associated with hunting calls. Different lengths in 18th century; valves in 19th century.
Elaborate pieces of music specifically designed to showcase the novel properties of the French horn.
Derived from Italian word tromba for trumpet. Basically a long trumpet without valves. Mainly bass and tenor.
Lowest pitched instrument of the brass family. From Latin tube, meaning trumpet. Deep cup-shaped mouthpiece and upward pointing bell. Modern one invented by Prussian Wilhelm Wieprecht and German Johann Gottfried in 1835.
Modest Petrovich Mussorgksy
Romantic composer that wrote Night on the Bald Mountain, and Bydlo (4th movement in Pictures at an exhibition).1839-1881 Russia
Most universal percussion instrument. Cylindrical frame over which a membrane is stretched.
Moving the instrument back and forth to produce sound.
Hitting the instrument to produce sound. Often done with a mallet or drumstick.
A device used by a percussion player to strike the instrument. Appearance of a light hammer typically.
Metal or wooden dowell-shaped item used to strike a drum.
Instruments that produce sounds from the vibrations of their own bodies.
Idiophones in the concussion percussion group. Used widely in Spanish folk music to provide a rhythmic accompaniment to dancing.
Percussion group of instruments where two similar objects are clapped together to make sound.
Instruments that produce sound by vibrating a membrane of skin that is stretched over a wood or metal frame.
Bass Drum
Large drum instrument, 90cm in diameter and 40 cm deep. Used in both symphony orchestras, military bands (originally Turkish), and marching bands.
Snare Drum
Drum instrument 35 cm diameter and 13 cm deep. Used exclusively in army bands until incorporated into the orchestra in 1700s.
Percussion Pitch
Produced only by some percussion instruments. Specifically the timpani (kettledrums), chimes, xylophone, vibraphone, and marimba.
Timpani (Kettledrum)
Most important instrument of the symphony orchestra, usually used in pairs. Can produce pitch. 50-82cm diameter.
Instrument primarily used in Asian countries. No pitch and are suspended from a frame and played with a padded mallet. Most common has 76+cm diameter.
Indefinite Pitch
Unpitched or non-pitched. Includes the tambourine, triangle, cymbals, and most drums.
Definite pitched percussion instrument known for its beautiful sound. Made up of several wooden bars tuned to a specific pitch. Has resonators under each bar. Variations include the vibraphone(metal) and marimba (mellower).
Camille Saint-Saëns
Romantic composer that wrote Carnival of the Animals. Didn't publish it fearing it'd damage his reputation. 1835-1921 France
Keyboard Instruments
Sometimes included in the orchestra but more often solo instruments in recitals or concertos. Largest repertoire of written music. Includes the piano, organ, harpsichord, and synthesizer.
Where a soloist plays by themselves.
Where a soloist plays accompanied by an orchestra.
Unique keyboard instrument that's also an electrophone. Fails the identity and development checks for the most part.
Keyboard instrument where tones are produced by strings stretched over a soundboard. Pressing a key causes a plectrum to pluck a string. Could be multiple strings per key. Also can be in recitals or in concertos. Very important in orchestras in 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries until the invention of the fortepiano.
Thin piece of wood that amplifies the sound of strings.
Short for pianoforte. One of the best known and best loved musical instruments. Used in a wide variety, including jazz, art, and contemporary avant-garde. May be considered percussion since key causes hammers to strike the strings. 88 keys total, over 200 steel strings. Soundboard that amplifies the vibrations.
Alpheus Babcock
Boston resident that invented the one piece cast iron frame for pianos in 1825. 340 lbs of major development in piano history.
Crucial component of piano involving your feet. Soft pedal reduces amount and quality of sound. Sustain or damper pedal allows the player to let the sound last longer.
Bartolomeo Cheistofori
Credited with creating the fortepiano in 1709. Italian. 1655-1731.
Piano history
1709 further developed by Gottfried Silberman and Johann Andreas Stein. Also by Johannes Zumpe and John Broadwood. Further innovated big Sebastian Erard with things like virtuoso effects(quick repetition). Upright piano developed by John Isaak Hawkins at beginning of 19th century. Electronic digital piano is most recent.
Keyboard instrument where tone is produced by wind flowing through pipes. Keys and pedals are connected to the pipes of differing lengths and materials. Can have up to five keyboards and a pedalboard. Most complex and oldest keyboard instrument.
Engineer from Alexandria. Credited with creating the organ in 250 BC. Called it the hydraulos.
The keyboard of an organ.
White buttons on side of manual that control the flow of air to the different pipes.
Reed pipes
Pipes that produce sound via a vibrating strip called a reed. Supplies tones of great variety and brilliance.
Flue pipes
Pipes that produce sound from the vibration of the air column. Majority of organs are this.
A complete set or row of pipes.
Movement of electric current changing polarity (positive to negative).