Absolute Music. Music which does not tell a story (as does program music); music simply for music's sake.
A Cappella. "In the style of the church;" that is, without accompaniment.
Accelerando. Gradually increasing in tempo.
Accent. Extra emphasis given to a particular note, usually through a temporary increase in volume, or through extra prolongation.
Accordion. An important instrument in folk music, invented in Europe in the nineteenth century but quickly spreading among indiginous peoples across the globe. Accordions are sometimes known as squeezeboxes, and in all varieties the sound is created by compression of bellows. Some have keyboards, while others are operated entirely by buttons. Accordions have the following stages of sound production:
Acid Rock. An expressive breed of rock and roll that emerged in the late 1960's (exemplified by the music of Jimi Hendrix and the San Francisco bands such as the Jefferson Airplane), featuring long improvised solos and closely associated with the taking of LSD.
Acoustic Guitar. A member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of unbowed strings. Originally Spanish in origin, it has the following stages of sound production:
The term "acoustic" is used to distinguish this instrument from the electric guitar, which, although similar in terms of strings and their tuning, follows different stages of sound production and is capable of producing quite different timbres.
Adagio. One of the classical tempo markings, referring to a slow, liesurely tempo.
Agnus Dei. The fifth and final movement of the ordinary of the Catholic mass. The opening words of this movement, in Latin, are "Agnus dei/Qui tollis peccata mundi/ miserere nobis" ("Lamb of God/Who takes away the sins of the world/Have mercy on us").
Aleatoric. Music in which all or part of the piece is left up to chance. Pioneered by John Cage during the experiementalist phase of twentieth-century classical music, aleatoric music still has both strong advocates and detractors.
Allegretto. One of the classical tempo markings, not quite as fast as allegro.
Allegro. One of the classical tempo markings, referring to a fast, lively tempo.
Alto. The lowest female vocal part.
Amplitude. The strength of a pitch's waveform. The greater the amplitude, the louder the dynamics of the pitch.
Andante. One of the classical tempo markings, referring to a moderately slow tempo; from the Italian "to walk."
Anthem. A genre of choral music with sacred words, sung as the centerpiece of the Protestant church service by the church choir. Anthems are usually accompanied and sung in English. The term is also used for a particular secular genre, the National Anthem.
Aria. A solo song. Arias are important elements in an operas and oratorios, and can also be heard as separate pieces in vocal recitals.
Arranger. A musician who takes an existing piece of music and arranges it for a particular ensemble. Arrangers are found in both classical and jazz music; in the latter, they are most closely associated with the swing era, where the arrangements they made are called charts.
Art Song. A kind of classical vocal chamber genre, written for a singer with piano accompaniment.
Atonality. Lacking tonal center, or key. While atonality has appeared periodically throughout music history, it was especially prominent during the atonal and serialist phases of twentieth-century classical music.
Atonal Phase. The first of the twentieth century phases, led by composers such as Arnold Schoenberg, a reaction against romanticism and emphasizing dissonance and atonality.
Backbeat Rhythm. Emphasis on beats two and four in simple quadruple meter. This is one of the signature traits of rock and roll (although it may also appear in other musical styles, such as the Blues and Jazz). In rock music, the kick drum usually emphasizes the downbeat, while the snare drum emphasizes the backbeats.
Bajo Sexto. A member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of unbowed strings. It is a six-string, guitar-like instrument associated with Tejano music, with the following stages of sound production:
Ballad. A folk song which tells a story, sometimes based around true events; sometimes mythic in nature. Ballads usually have innumerable verses, with the same music for each verse (and no chorus or any other deviation from the pattern). Ballads are some of the oldest forms of human entertainment, and were a primary way of spreading news and gossip as balladeers travelled from town to town in the days before mass communication.
Ballet. The most prominent variety of theatrical dance, with origins in Renaissance Europe. Ballets reached a peak of popularity in the nineteenth century, with music by composers such as Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky.
Ballet Russes. The famous "Russian Ballet" company of early twentieth- century Paris, led by Serge Diaghilev, which served as a bridge between traditional nineteenth-century ballet and twentieth-century modern dance.
Banjo. A member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of unbowed strings. The banjo was developed in the United States by African Americans based on older African instruments. It usually has either four or five strings. It has the following stages of sound production:
Bar. One complete unit of meter. See measure.
Baritone. The middle male vocal part, in between the tenors and the basses. Sometimes the term is used as a shorthand for the baritone horn, or the baritone saxophone.
Baritone Horn. A low-pitched member of the brass instrument family, also called a Euphonium. It has the same range as a trombone and the following stages of sound production:
Baroque. One of the classical style periods, lasting from about 1600 to 1750. See Chapter 12 for more information.
Baroque Echo Effect. A common feature of the music from the baroque era, with sudden changes in dynamics to create a kind of echo effect.
Bass. The lowest male vocal part. Sometimes the term is used as a shorthand for the double bass, the electric bass, or the tuba.
Bass Clarinet. A low-pitched member of the woodwind instrument family. The bass clarinet is essentially a low clarinet, with the following stages of sound production:
Bass Drum. A member of the percussion instrument family. It has the following stages of sound production:
Basso Continuo. An important element of baroque instrumentation, the combination of a bass instrument (usually from the string family), such as the cello or double bass, paired with a keyboard instrument such as the harpsichord or the organ. These two instruments (the bass instrument and the keyboard instrument) read the same line of music, a bass line, so that the keyboard player improvised chords and other accompanying figures in his or her right hand. The basso continuo provided the rhythmic and harmonic support for virtually all baroque music.
Bassoon. A low-pitched member of the woodwind instrument family, with the following stages of sound production:
Bass Viol. See Double Bass.
Beat. A regular, implicit, repeating pulse.
BPM. Beats per minute. One way of measuring tempo. For an example of a drum pattern in varying beats per minute, go to the web page for Chapter 2.
Bitonality. The sounding of two keys, or tonal centers, at the same time. Twentieth-century composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Charles Ives were famous for their use of bitonality.
Block Voicing. A characteristic element of the charts used in swing jazz, referring to the organization of the band into sections (trumpets, trombones, saxes, etc.), which play in tight harmony as a unit.
Blue Notes. Notes that are bent downward, sometimes up to a half step, for expressive purposes. Blue notes are found in all kinds of African-American musics and the musical styles derived from them.
Blues. An important American musical style, ancestor of jazz, rock, rap, and other popular styles. In this book, we divide the blues into four chronological substyles:
Blues Form. The typical structure of the blues, featuring an AAB rhyme scheme over twelve bars. See Chapter 7 for more information.
Blues Harp. A characteristic instrument of the blues. The blues harp is an amplified harmonica, used especially in Chicago blues and contemporary blues styles. See Chapter 7 for more information.
Bongos. A cuban hand drum, usually in pairs of slightly different sizes and pitches, played between the knees, with the following stages of sound production:
Bop. (Sometimes known as "Bebop" or "Rebop") An important era in the history of jazz, whose heyday was the 1940's. Bop musicians returned to combos rather than the big bands of the previous swing era, and returned the focus of jazz to improvisation. Important bop musicians include Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Bossa Nova. A kind of Brazilian jazz, popular in the 1950's and early 1960's, featuring a moderately slow tempo and complex harmony. Leaders of bossa nova included Tom Jobim and Jočo Gilberto.
Bow. A wooden bar holding tightly-stretched horse hair, used by players of certain string instruments (see bowed strings).
Bowed Strings. A sub-category of string instruments that includes instruments that do usually use a bow, such as the violin, the viola, and the cello. The double bass can fall into either the bowed or unbowed category, depending on the musical context.
Brass. One of the six instrument families, including such instruments as the trumpet, the trombone, the French Horn, and the tuba, among others. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Brass Quintet. Two meanings:
1. A popular kind of chamber ensemble in classical music, usually featuring two trumpets, a trombone, a French horn, and a tuba, although some brass quintets have slightly different instrumentation.
2. The music written for this ensemble; e.g., a kind of instrumental chamber genre.
Breaks. Or "breakdowns:" extended instrumental sections in the middle or the end of dance records, providing DJ's with the opportunity to spin together two different records.
Bridge. Two musical meanings:
1. One of the three elements of rock music form. The bridge--or a solo--serves as a kind of interlude, a break from the regular alternation of choruses and verses. There is usually just one bridge in a rock song (although there are exceptions to this, as in some of the songs of the Beatles, for example). See Chapter 6 for more information.
2. The second of the four main subsections of the exposition and recapitulation in sonata form. The bridge serves as a link between the first theme and the second theme, involving (in the exposition) a change of key.
Brill Building. A building in New York City that housed many of the important songwriters and publishers of the 1950's and 1960's. The Brill Building songwriters (often working in teams, such as Goffen and King) reached a peak of success in the early 1960's, writing well-crafted songs for "girl groups" such as the Shirelles.
British Invasion. The sudden popularity of British rock and roll groups in the United States in the mid 1960's, starting with the Beatles in 1964 and followed by the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Who, and others. Rock historians speak of several "waves" of the British Invasion, this first wave followed by one in the late 1960's (including Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd), a third wave in the late 1970's (coinciding with the advent of punk rock), and yet another wave in the 1980's (with groups such as the Culture Club and Duran Duran). It was the first wave that was most decisive in the history of rock.
Cadence. The ending of a phrase, similar in function to a punctuation mark in grammar.
Cadenza. An highlight of a concerto, found in one or more of the movements, when the soloist is given an opportunity to play entirely alone and show off his or her virtuosity.
Cakewalk Rhythm. A characteristic rhythmic pattern of early jazz, especially ragtime, in the pattern of short-LONG-short. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Call and Response. An important principle in African-American and other kinds of music. A leader sings or plays a line, and a group responds. Found in the earliest known African-American song genres such as the field holler, call and response is also important in spirituals, gospel music, and the blues, where the singer calls and an instrument, such as the guitar responds.
Cancion. A traditional Mexican folksong, usually romantic in nature.
Cantabile. In a "singing" manner.
Cantata. A genre of choral music that is usually sacred, in several movements. The sacred cantata was sung as the centerpiece of the Lutheran church service in the eighteenth century. About a half hour long, sacred cantatas were based around the hymn for that Sunday, featuring a small orchestra, organ, chorus, and perhaps one or two soloists. Secular cantatas have been written in a wide variety of languages, including German, Russian, Italian, French, and English, and were heard as concert pieces primarily in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Catalog Numbers. A catalog is a listing of compositions a composer has published, usually chronological. If a composer dies without a substantial body of published works--or if his or her works were published wildly out of chronological order--musicologists will use catalog numbers to refer to the composer's works instead of opus numbers. Like opus numbers, catalog numbers often appear at the end of generic titles as a means of identifying the piece and distinguishing it from other pieces by the same composer in the same genre. Two important composers for whom we use catalog numbers instead of opus numbers are Mozart and Schubert (the Köchel and Deutsch catalogs, respectively).
CD. Short for compact disc, the digital format that replaced the LP as the dominant recording medium in the 1980's.
Cello. Short for violoncello, a low-pitched member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of bowed strings. Unlike the violin or the viola, the cello is played in a seated position, with the instrument resting between the player's knees. Like the violin and the viola, it has the following stages of sound production:
Chamber Ensembles. A small ensemble, usually featuring nine players or less, designed to perform in a room. Usually only one player plays each musical part; in larger ensembles, some parts are played by several players. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Chamber Genres. A sub-category of instrumental genre, describing classical pieces performed by chamber ensembles. Some of the famous chamber genres include string quartets, woodwind quintets, and brass quintets, although there are classical pieces written for many combinations of solo instruments, or just one instrument alone.
Chamber Chorus Genres. A sub-category of vocal genre, describing classical pieces performed by small vocal ensembles, usually with just one singer on each musical part. An example is the madrigal. It includes music written for just one or two singers.
Chamber Orchestra. A small orchestra.
Charangas. Cuban orchestral ensembles of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which performed for the middle and upper classes primarily, featuring European instruments such as flutes and violins, performing European dances such as the waltz, the fox-trot, and the Cuban danzón.
Chart. The music for a jazz ensemble, especially associated with the swing era. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Chicago Blues. One of the substyles of the blues. Chicago blues refers to the urban style of blues played in Chicago and other northern U.S. cities after World War II. Chicago blues bands, featuring amplified electric guitar, bass, harmonica, and drum set, served as the prototype for rock and roll bands. See Chapter 7 for more information.
Choir. See chorus.
Chorale. The same thing as a hymn.
Choral Genres. A sub-category of vocal genre, describing classical pieces performed by a large vocal ensemble such as a chorus.
Chord. Three or more pitches sounding simultaneously.
Chorus. There are two meanings for the term "Chorus." The first is a musical ensemble for human voices. There are several different kinds of choruses (or choirs):
There are professional choirs, amateur community choirs, choirs at churches and choirs at schools. Sometimes, choruses are accompanied by orchestras, sometimes just by a piano, and sometimes they sing a cappella.
The second meaning for the term "Chorus" refers to an important element of rock music form. In rock music, the words usually change during the verse, but are repeated in each chorus, which often carries the title of the song. The other main section of a rock song is called the bridge.
Chromatic Scale. A scale that uses all twelve of the pitches between any octave on the piano keyboard.
Clarinet. A member of the woodwind instrument family, with the following stages of sound production:
Classical. A term used in two ways, to refer to the entirety of art music of all style periods, and one of the specific style periods, lasting from about 1750 to 1815. See Chapters 11 and 12 for more information.
Classical Tempo Markings. The traditional method of designating tempo in classical music. These indications represent a range of tempos, giving performers some discretion in the speed they take the music. Often, these tempo markings are coupled with Italian terms of expression, such as maestoso. Some of the most common classical tempo markings are, from fast to slow: prestissimo, presto, allegro, allegretto, moderato, andante, adagio, and largo.
Classic Blues. One of the substyles of the blues. The classic blues often featured a female lead singer in front of a band. Classic blues singers were the first blues musicians to be recorded, and were the most popular African-American performers of the 1920's. See Chapter 7 for more information.
Claves. A kind of Cuban instrument, two wooden sticks hit together; thus, they have the following stages of sound production:
Closing Subsection. The last of the four main subsections of the exposition and recapitulation in sonata form. The closing subsection may have melodies associated with it, or it may just sound conclusive. At the end of the closing subsection in the exposition, the exposition repeats (then, after it repeats, we hear the development section). At the end of the closing subsection in the recapitulation, the music often blends into a coda to conclude the movement.
Coda. An element of musical form, referring to the ending segment of music. This is the classical-music version of a tag. See Chapter 6 for more information.
Comping. A term commonly associated with jazz, referring to instruments playing a kind of background, repeating pattern, usually supporting a soloist.
Complex Meter. A meter consisting of five, seven, eleven, or some other unusual number of beats per measure. For an example, see the Companion Web page for Chapter 2.
Compound Meter. A meter in which the subdivision of the beat is in three, rather than the normative two. Thus, although the basic count would be two, three, or four primary beats per measure, there are six, nine, or twelve subsidiary beats per measure, respectively (rather than four, six and eight). For an example, see the Companion Web page for Chapter 2.
Concert Band. An important kind of classical music ensemble. Concert bands are notable for the absense of string instruments (with the possible exception of the double bass). Instead, concert bands rely on large numbers of wind instruments, woodwinds (especially clarinets and flutes) and brass instruments (especially trumpets). Concert bands also include a full percussion section. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Concerto. A kind of instrumental genre, performed by a full orchestra and featuring one or more soloist. The ancestor of the concerto is the baroque concerto grosso. Concertos usually have three movements, fast, slow, fast. See Chapter 12 for more information.
Concerto Grosso. An important genre of the baroque era, featuring two or more soloists, usually two violins, plus orchestra. Concerto grossos are usually in three movements, the first of which is in ritornello form.
Conga Line Dance. A popular kind of social dance, especially at parties, featuring a serpentine line of dancers who kick out on the heavily-accented fourth beat of the quadruple meter.
Conga Drum. One of the central instruments of Cuban music, a hand drum coming in several sizes with the following stages of sound production:
Conjunct. When the intervals of a melody are close together.
Conjunto. One of the two important ensembles of Tejano music (the other one being the orquesta). The most important instrument of the Conjunto is the accordion; other traditional instruments include the guitar and the double bass or the bajo sexto. More recent conjuntos have adopted rock and country instrumentation.
Consonant. When notes sound like they go well together; the opposite of dissonant. For more information, see Chapter 4.
Contemporary Blues. One of the substyles of the blues. Contemporary blues musicians most often follow in style the character of the Chicago blues, although some emulate the older, acoustic country blues style. See Chapter 7 for more information.
Cool Jazz. An important era in the history of jazz, whose heyday was the 1950's. Following on the heels of the bop era, cool jazz maintained the focus of bop on small combos and improvisation, but featured a less frenetic style, with slower tempos and softer timbres. Cool jazz was associated with the West Coast, although easterners such as Miles Davis also experimented with it. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Corrido. Traditional Mexican folk ballad, dating from the seventeenth century.
Counterpoint. Carefully constructed polyphony.
Country Blues. One of the substyles of the blues. Country blues is the oldest of these substyles, usually featuring a single singer accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar, played with a slide. See Chapter 7 for more information.
Country Rock. A sub-style of rock, especially popular in the early and mid 1970's with bands such as the Eagles, that blends together elements of country music (such as the slide guitar and the subject of the lyrics) into a rock format.
Cover Songs. A term used in rock and roll to refer to recordings or performances of songs originally recorded by another artist.
Credo. The third, and longest movement of the ordinary of the Catholic mass. The opening words of this movement, in Latin, are "Credo in unum deum" ("I believe in one God").
Crescendo. A dynamic marking meaning "gradually getting louder." See Chapter 6 for more information.
Cubop. A blending of Cuban music and bop jazz, led by artists such as Dizzy Gillespie.
Cumbia. A popular kind of Latin dance music, originating in Colombia.
Cutting Contests. Competetive improvisation in jazz, done informally after the concert is done. Cutting contests have been the way jazz musicians establish a pecking order.
Cycles per Second. See Hertz.
Cymbals. A distinctive member of the percussion instrument family. Cymbals come in several different forms:
In any form, cymbals have the following stages of sound production:
Dance of Death. (Known in German as Totentanz) An ancient variety of social dance, featuring a kind of play acting of death and resurrection.
Danzon. An early style of Cuban dance music, related to European-influenced dance music such as the waltz and the fox-trot. Danzons were performed by Cuban ensembles called charangas.
Decrescendo. A dynamic marking meaning "gradually getting softer." Same as diminuendo. See Chapter 6 for more information.
Development. The middle section of sonata form. Development sections are usually the most turbulent of the sonata form sections, with fragmented themes and rapid changes of key.
Diagetic. Music that has a visible sourse on stage or on screen. Most movie music is non-diagetic, that is, in the background; but sometimes a musical ensemble is meant to be seen as the source of the music, or a radio or television.
Digital Sampler. A kind of synthesizer capable of recording digital samples, which can then by played back at a variety of pitches.
Diminuendo A dynamic marking meaning "gradually getting softer." Same as decrescendo. See Chapter 6 for more information.
Disco. A kind of dance music that was very popular in the United States in the late 1970's. Although there were several disco stars--such as the Bee Gees and Donna Summer--for the most part the performers remained relatively anonymous, since this was music for the discotheque, not the rock concert. The real star, perhaps, was the discotheque's disc jockey, who blended together recordings expertly. Derided as much as adored, disco flamed out by about 1980.
Disjunct. When the intervals of a melody are far apart.
Dissonant. When notes sound like they clash when sounded together; the opposite of consonant. For more information, see Chapter 4.
Dixieland Jazz. One of the earliest jazz styles, divided into two eras, the earlier, New Orleans Dixieland (from about 1900) and the later Chicago-style Dixieland (from about 1917 through the end of the 1920's). Dixieland jazz features small jazz ensembles which often play heterophonically. Louis Armstrong was one of the leading composers and players of Dixieland jazz. See Chapter 8 for more information and examples.
DJ. Short for disc jockey the person in charge of selecting a playing records. Originally the term was used just for radio DJ's, but DJ's are also found in discotheques and in rap music.
Doo-wop. A style of 1950's early rock and roll, emerging from the gospel quartet, featuring four or five singers--usually all of the same gender-- singing in tight harmony, often with nonsense lyrics.
Double Bass. The lowest-pitched member of the string instrument family. If played in classical music, it is part of the subfamily of bowed strings; but in jazz, the strings are typically plucked, making it a member of the unbowed string subfamily. Double bass players usually stand up to play the instrument. It has the following stages of sound production:
See also electric bass.
Downbeat. The first beat of a measure. The downbeat is generally stronger than the other beats, and helps us hear the meter. When musicians count the beats of a measure, they say "one" on the downbeat.
Drum Machine. A kind of synthesizer dedicated to emulating percussion sounds.
Drum Set. Sometimes known as a drum kit. This is a collection of percussion instruments, set up around a stool so that a single drummer can play several instruments at once. Typical instruments in a drum set include a snare drum; a smaller form of a bass drum called a kick drum, triggered by pedal; hi-hat and ride cymbals; and perhaps one or two mid-range tom-tom drums.
Duet. A piece written for two performers. A duet can be either an instrumental chamber genre or a vocal chamber genre.
Dynamics. How loud or soft the music is. In classical music, the most common dynamics include:
Electric Bass. A member of both the electronic and string instrument families, the electric bass features the same strings and tuning (E, A, D, G) as the double bass, but different in two of the three stages of sound production:
Electric Guitar. A member of both the electronic and string instrument families, the electric guitar features the same strings and tuning (E, A, D, G, B, E) as the acoustic guitar, but different in two of the three stages of sound production:
Electronic Instruments. One of the six instrument families, including such instruments as the synthesizer, the computer, and the electric guitar, among others. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Electronic Music. An important kind of composition, developed during the experimentalist phase of twentieth-century classical music by composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen. These composers experiemented with new technology and electronic instruments, such as the synthesizer and magnetic tape, to create sounds and timbres never heard before.
Energy Source. The first of the three basic stages in the production of musical sound. In woodwind instruments, for example, the energy source is the human breath; while in string instruments the energy source is the human muscle that plucks the string or draws the bow. See Chapter 5 for more information.
English Horn. A member of the woodwind instrument family. The English horn is essentially an oboe with a slightly lower range (and a little bulb at the bottom), with the following stages of sound production:
Ensemble. The general name for groups of musical instruments or singers. Some of the common ensembles include the orchestra, the concert band, and the chorus. Smaller groups are known as chamber ensembles. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Episodes. Can refer to passages in any kind of music, but for our purposes, an episode is a passage in a fugue which is constantly new and somewhat unstable, contrasted with the familiar fugue subject.
Experimentalist Phase. The fourth of the twentieth century phases, led by composers such as John Cage. While it was, to some degree, a reaction against serialism, American classical music had been experimentalist since the beginning of the twentieth century. Experimentalism was most prominent in the 1950's and 1960's, but a streak of experimentalism continues today.
Exposition. A term used to describe the opening (or close to the opening) part in the form of the fugue as well as in sonata form. In the latter, the exposition has four main subsections:
Extended Chord. A kind of chord that is more complex than a triad, featuring, four, five or even six or more notes in unusual combinations. Extended harmony is most often found in jazz, but can also be heard in late nineteenth- and twentieth- century classical music.
Field Holler. A kind of African-American music originating in the early days of American slavery, ancestor to the spiritual and the blues. A kind of work song, the field holler made use of call and response.
First Theme. The first of the four main subsections of the exposition and recapitulation in sonata form. The first theme--sometimes actually a cluster of two or more little melodies--is usually the main melodic idea of the movement.
Flat. A note lowered one half step. Flats are indicated in music with the "b" sign, in the written word either with this symbol or written out (e.g., B-flat). Most of the flat notes are played on the black keys of a piano keyboard, although in some cases (such as between "E" and "F" and between "B" and "C") there are no black keys. A "C-flat" thus sounds the same as an "B". See also sharp.
Flat Four Meter. Refers to the specific kind of quadruple meter featuring relatively equal emphasis on all four beats, characteristic of Dixieland jazz. Flat four meter is contrasted with quadruple meter with a backbeat. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Flute. A member of the woodwind instrument family, with the following stages of sound production:
Folk Revival. A reawakening of interest in American folk music that surfaced in the 1950's (partly due to the release of recordings collected by the ethnographer Alan Lomax through the Smithsonian Institute at about this time). Folk music and the blues both became popular at neighborhood coffeehouses and on university campuses, eventually among the public at large. Bob Dylan was an important figure in the folk revival, then brought elements of folk music into the mainstream of rock and roll when he "plugged in" in the mid 1960's.
Form. Musical structure, usually built on the principle of repetition and contrast.
Forte. A dynamic marking, meaning "loud."
Fortissimo. A dynamic marking, meaning "very loud."
Free Jazz. An era in the history of jazz, whose heyday was the 1960's. Free Jazz musicians, such as Ornette Coleman, sought to liberate jazz from previous notions of structure, encouraging all members of the combo to improvise at the same time. See Chapter 8 for more information.
French Horn. A high-pitched member of the brass instrument family, with a circular body and the following stages of sound production:
Frequency. The number of vibrations per second of a pitch. It is usually measured in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz).
Fret. A thin metal strip found on the necks of certain string instruments such as the acoustic and electric guitars, the electric bass, the mandolin, and the banjo, among others. When players press down on the strings in between the frets, the string is automatically shortened at the correct pitch. This helps the musician play accurate notes, but restricts his or her ability to play glissandos. The unbowed strings found in the classical orchestra are generally unfretted.
Fugue. A piece, or a movement of a piece, written in complex imitative polyphony. Fugues, popular especially during the baroque era, are usually keyboard works. Each line of the fugue is called a voice, even though they are not written for the human voice. We can talk about fugues in terms of the number of voices they have--a "three-voice fugue" or a "four-voice fugue" or even a "five-voice fugue." See Chapter 12 for more information.
Fugue Subject. The main melody of a fugue. Fugues usually alternate between repetitions of the fugue subject and contrasting episodes.
Fugue Voices. The individual lines in a fugue.
Fundamental. The bottom overtone in the overtone series that make up a single pitch. It is this fundamental frequency that we identify as the note.
Funk. A kind of popular music emerging out of the soul music of James Brown, led in the 1970's by Sly and the Family Stone and the bands of George Clinton (Parliament and Funkadelic), with a new emphasis on complex rhythms and a nimble style of bass playing (Bootsy Collins was one of main bass players of this period). Funk bands often featured full horn sections (trumpets, trombones, and saxophones), playing tight interjections.
Fusion. An important era in the history of jazz, whose heyday was the 1960's and 1970's. Fusion refers to the blending of jazz and rock elements. Miles Davis was one of the pioneers of fusion. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Gebrauchsmusik. (Literally: "Music for Use") A trend in mid-twentieth-century classical music emphasizing the composition of music not just for professionals, but also for amateurs and for commercial purposes. The pioneer of this trend was the German-American composer Paul Hindemith.
Generic Titles. Classical music titles which are based around the genre of the music. The other main kind of title is the narrative title. An example of a generic title is Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64.
Genre. The category of a piece of music. Usually, a genre is determined by the instruments the piece is written for. A brass quintet, for example, is a different genre from a woodwind quintet because of the specified instruments involved.
There are three main categories of genres, instrumental, vocal, and music drama.
Gesamtkunstwerk. (Literally: "Total work of art") The idea espoused by the nineteenth-century composer Richard Wagner of combining all art forms into one unified vision. Under Wagner, opera would be combined with poetry, painting (in the form of scenery), orchestral music, and theatrical dance to create something that transcends the sum of its parts.
Glam Rock. A sub-style of rock music, popular in the 1970's, emphasizing theatrics. Rock stars such as David Bowie and Peter Gabriel (of Genesis) took to wearing costumes and make-up on stage to add to the narrative of the songs or as a kind of pop-culture persona. This development grew out of the move toward stadium concerts.
Glissando. Sliding up or down through several notes.
Gloria. The second movement of the ordinary of the Catholic mass. The opening words of this movement, in Latin, are "Gloria in excelsis deo" ("Glory to God in the Highest").
Grunge. A phase of rock music from the late 1980's and early 1990's led by Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. Beginning as an underground punk movement, grunge achieved unprecedented commercial success in the early 1990s and influenced much of the alternative rock of the decade.
Guiro. A Cuban instrument made from a gourd, with notches cut in that are scraped by a stick. A guiro has the following stages of sound production:
Guittaron. A traditional Mexican instrument, associated with the mariachi, a member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of bowed strings; a large, low-pitched, guitar. It has the following stages of sound production:
Habanera Rhythm. An important rhythm found in several different kinds of Latino music, three notes with syncopation in the middle, creating a count of 3 + 3 + 2 in quadruple meter.
Half Step. The smallest interval found in western music. The distance between the notes C and C# is a half step.
Hard Rock. A sub-style of rock emerging in the late 1960's (but reaching a peak of popularity in the late 1970's and early 1980's with bands such as Van Halen and Foreigner) focusing on the virtuosity of the heavily distorted electric guitars.
Harmonic Rhythm. The rate at which chords change.
Harmony. The simultaneous sounding of two or more notes. A single instance of harmony is called a chord. The term "harmony" is often used in a general way to refer to all the chords of a piece of music.
Harp. A member of the string instrument family, the sub-category of unbowed strings. It has the following stages of sound production:
Harpsichord. A keyboard instrument, especially popular during the baroque era, in which the depressed key moves a quill to pluck the string. It has the following stages of sound production:
Head. An important element in jazz form. The head refers to the tune of the song, usually heard at or near the beginning of the piece, the source of the improvisation to follow. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Heavy Metal. A sub-style of rock emerging in the early 1970's with bands such as Judas Priest featuring dark or morbid lyrics and heavy, riff-oriented, highly virtuosic guitar work. Heavy metal has always been a minority taste--more popular in Europe than in the United States--and has splintered into dozens of categories in the last twenty years (e.g., Speed Metal, Thrash, Death Metal, Doom, etc.).
Hertz. The unit for measuring the frequency of a pitch. One Hertz (abbreviated Hz) is equal to one cycle per second. The note "A" above Middle C has the frequency of 440 Hz; the A an octave higher has a frequency of 880 Hz. You may also see the term kilohertz (kHz) for higher frequencies; each kHz is worth a thousand Hz.
Heterophonic. A kind of texture in which there is one important melody, but while this is heard, the musicians are improvising ornaments and sometimes independent lines around the main melody in a freewheeling manner. This kind of texture is most commonly applied to Dixieland Jazz. Noun = heterophony.
Homophonic. A kind of texture in which there is one melody line of greatest importance, while that other lines are accompanimental. Noun = homophony.
Huapango. A lively regional Mexican dance, notable for the loud stomping of the dancers' feet.
Hymn. A genre of choral music with sacred words, sung as an important part of the Protestant liturgy. Unlike anthems, hymns are sung by the entire congregation. Hymns are thus usually simple melodies, accompanied by the church organ.
Idee fixe. (Literally: "Fixed idea"): A motive or theme associated with a character or idea in classical music. This is essentially the same thing as a leitmotiv, but the idee fixe--developed by Hector Berlioz in the 1820's--predates Wagner's famous use of the same device. See Chapter 13 for more information.
Imitative Polyphony. A kind of polyphony in which all the independent lines are either similar or identical to one another. Certain genres, such as the fugue and the round, are particularly associated with imitative polyphony.
Impressionism. A late romantic style of music, closely associated with the French composers Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, using vivid timbres and indistinct tonality through such devices as using the whole-tone scale.
Improvistion. The art of making up music on the spot.
Instrumental Genres. A broad category of genre, including classical pieces entirely or mostly using instrumental, not vocal performers. There are two subcategories of instrumental genres, orchestral and chamber.
Instrument Family. The way musical instruments are categorized. In Perspectives on Musicwe consider six different families: woodwind, brass, string, percussion, electronic, and the human voice. The piano and organ stand outside these six categories. Families are organized by similarities in their method of sound production. Woodwind instruments, for example, often feature a reed as the vibrating element, while brass instruments require the musician to vibrate his or her lips. String instruments are different in both vibrating element--the stings themselves--and in the energy source--muscle rather than human breath. Electronic instruments differ in all three steps of sound production, the first two being primarily electronic and the third step being a stereo speaker. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Intermezzo. Two meanings:
1. A short comic opera, usually with just two or three characters and lasting less than a half hour.
2. A kind of instrumental genre for piano alone or for any number of instruments.
Interval. The distance between two notes.
Introduction. The first section of musical form, often lying outside the main body of the musical piece or song. See Chapter 6 for more information.
Inversion. Turning a melodic line upside-down, so that the notes go up when the original melody went down, and vice-versa. Inversion appears periodically throughout music history; it was one of the main kinds of operations used in the twelve-tone method. See Chapter 14 for more information about the latter.
Jaiton. A kind of traditional Mexican folk music associated with city life; the opposite of ranchero.
Jazz Ensemble. An ensemble dedicated to the performance of jazz.
Jazz Dance. A variety of theatrical dance, usually but not necessarily danced to jazz music, originating in the United States under choreographers such as Bob Fosse.
Jazz Styles. The history of jazz is divided into several substyles, roughly chronological in order:
See Chapter 8 for more information.
Jump Music. A danceable musical style that emerged in the late 1940's and early 1950's, similar to swing jazz but with a smaller ensemble and faster tempos. Louis Jordan (1908–1975) and Louis Prima (1911–1978) were popular jump band leaders at this time.
Key. Like the concept of tonic, key refers to the note that serves as the center of gravity for a piece of music, or a section of music. Unlike the term tonic, key also can indicate whether the melody and harmony are major or minor. Thus, when musicians speak of a piece being in the key of C Minor, they mean that C is the tonic, and that the mode is minor.
Kyrie. The first movement of the ordinary of the Catholic mass. The complete words of this movement, in Greek, are "Kyrie eleison/Christe eleison/ Kyrie eleison" ("Lord have mercy/Christ have mercy/Lord have mercy").
Largo. One of the classical tempo markings, referring to a very slow tempo.
Latin Jazz. Although "Latin Jazz" refers to one particular era in the history of jazz, the 1960's, when the Brazilian jazz style Bossa Nova was popular, jazz music has actually been continually influenced by Latin music since the ragtime era, and it continues to be today. See Chapter 8 and Chapter 10 for more information.
Leitmotif. A musical idea associated with a character, mood, or situation in an opera or a movie, which recurs throughout the story and helps the audience make connections between scenes and ideas. The leitmotif is related to Berlioz's idŹe fixe, but was brought to its culmination by the German operatic composer Richard Wagner.
Lied. German for Art Song.
Light Jazz. One of the recent styles in the history of jazz, dating from the 1980's as an outgrowth of fusion. Light Jazz is popular as background music, and can feature either vocal or non-vocal music. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Lilith Fair. A travelling festival of female rock musicians, started by the Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan in the mid 1990's.
Liturgical. Religious choral music used in a church service. Examples include masses and anthems.
L.P. Short for long-playing record, a recording format introduced in the late 1940's (at approximately the same time as the introduction of the 45-RPM single, both of which were designed to replace the old 78-RPM record. LP's were initially favored for classical music, while popular music appeared on singles (which were occasionally collected into albums). In the 1960's, however, bands such as the Beach Boys and the Beatles started treating the LP as the main recording medium, taking advantage of its better fidelity, longer length, and stereophonic sound. LP's were largely replaced by CD's in the 1980's.
Lyrics. The words sung in a piece of music.
Madrigal. A kind of chamber vocal genre, popular in the renaissance. Madrigals, usually for four, five, or six singers, a cappella, were secular pieces, usually pastoral in character.
Magnetic Tape. Invented during World War II, magnetic reel-to-reel tape first revolutionized the recording industry, enabling engineers to record over previously-recorded material and to splice out mistakes. Soon, however, experimentalist composers such as John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Steve Reich began to understand the compositional potential of this medium, creating tape loops and other new musical pastiches.
Major. One of the two primary modes in western music (the other one is Minor). Referring primarily to harmony or melody, the major mode often sounds bright or cheerful to listeners.
Mambo. A dance craze of cuban origin, popular in the 1950's, a couple's dance in a moderately fast quadruple meter. Tito Puente was one of the "Mambo Kings."
Mandolin. A member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of unbowed strings. The mandolin is tuned like the violin, except it has eight strings, rather than four (the four pitches of the violin are each doubled on the mandolin). Often found in folk music ensembles, the mandolin is smaller than the guitar. It has the following stages of sound production:
Maracas. An important Cuban instrument, probably of African origin, pairs of gourds with pebbles or seeds inside that rattle when shaaken. Maracas have the following stages of sound production:
March. A genre of music made popular by late- nineteenth and early twentieth-century marching bands, featuring a regular duple meter and an organization in sixteen-bar strains. See Chapter 8 for more information and examples.
Marching Band. A large ensemble, similar to a concert band in instrumentation, but dedicated to marching in parades and at athletic events, such as football games. Some of the instruments featured in marching bands are designed specifically for the purpose of marching, such as the sousaphone. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Mariachi. Traditional Mexican folk musician, playing in a mariachi band. Typical instruments in a mariachi band include:
Marimba. A member of the percussion instrument family. It is pitched, with wooden bars laid out like a piano keyboard and metal tubes underneath each bar to add to the resonance. It has the following stages of sound production:
Mass. Two meanings:
1. The primary service of the Roman Catholic Church.
2. The music written for that service.
The music for the mass consists of two different elements, the proper, that part of the service which has new words each week, changing according to the liturgical calendar, and the ordinary, that part of the service which remains the same week after week. When we talk about the music for the mass, we usually are referring to the second of these, the ordinary, which has five different sections:
5. Agnus Dei
Masses are thus sacred pieces, and usually liturgical--although starting in the classical era, masses were also written for the concert stage. Masses fall under the category of large choral genres. See also requiem.
MC. Short for master of ceremonies, the person who actually speaks the rap in a rap group.
Measure. One unit of meter; a complete cycle of strong and weak beats. The first beat of a measure is usually the downbeat. A measure is the same thing as a bar; "measure" is used more in classical music, while "bar" is more common in popular music.
Medieval. The earliest of the classical style periods, lasting from about 600 to 1450. Also referred to as the Middle Ages.
Melodic Contour. The shape--in highs and lows--of a melody.
Melody. Any coherent sequence of notes.
Merengue. A lively kind of dance music originating in the Dominican Republic.
Mestizo. The blending of Spanish and Native American societies that created modern-day Latin culture.
Meter. The organization of rhythm into a series of strong and weak beats. The most common meters are simple duple meter and simple triple meter, although there are also compound meters and complex meters.
Metronome. A device used to measure tempo.
Metronome Marking. A numerical designation for tempo, in beats per minute. Composers can use metronome markings to tell performers how fast to play their music, or classical tempo designations such as allegro.
Mezzo-forte. A dynamic marking, meaning "moderately loud."
Mezzo-piano. A dynamic marking, meaning "moderately soft."
Mezzo-Soprano. One of the (usually) female vocal parts, in between soprano and alto.
MIDI. Short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, the protocol agreed upon in the early 1980's by synthesizer manufacturers that allowed synthesizers made by different manufacturers to be linked together. Soon, the MIDI protocol was used to connect synthesizers to computers, ushering in the modern age of totally digital record production.
Minimalism. A substyle within the experimentalist phase of twentieth century classical music, led by composers such as Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass. Minimalist emerged in the 1960's, peaked in the 1970's, but remains an important style today. Minimalist compositions, influenced by rock and non-Western music, have a hypnotic, repetitive quality.
Minor. One of the two primary modes in western music (the other one is Major). Referring primarily to harmony or melody, the minor mode often sounds somewhat dark or somber to listeners.
Minuet. A kind of social dance popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, featuring group movements in a moderate triple meter. Later, the music of the minuet became absorbed into classical concert-hall music, occupying the third movement slot of the symphony and other genres. See minuet and trio.
Minuet and Trio. The third movement of the symphony and other works. Minuets are usually in rounded binary form, with the lighter trio section in the middle. See Chapter 12 for more information.
Mixed Meter. When music changes meters frequently over a period of time.
Modal Jazz. A brief substyle in the history of jazz, occuring in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Like the jazz musicians of the bop and cool jazz eras, musicians experimenting with modal jazz continued to use small combos and focus on improvisation. Instead of using melodies as the head, however, modal jazz often makes use of exotic scales. The leader of this style was Miles Davis. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Mode. Although this term can have a more expanded meaning, for our purposes we will consider mode to be the term for whether a melody or harmony is in major or minor. Thus, we say "this song is in the minor mode."
Moderato. One of the classical tempo markings, referring to a medium tempo.
Modern Dance. One of the important kinds of theatrical dance, developed in the early twentieth century by choreographers such as Vaslav Nijinsky, Isadora Duncan, and Martha Graham, and led by the Paris-based ballet company Ballet Russes.
Modernism. An early twentieth-century trend in several art forms, emphasizing abstraction and opposed to the sentimentality of the romantic era. In art, the leading modernists were Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinsky; in architecture, modernism was defined by the Bauhaus school, led by Walter Gropius; in dance, it was expressed through modern dance; and in music, through the atonal phase of classical music.
Monophonic. A kind of texture in which all the musicians are playing or singing a single melody line. It can also refer to a single instrumental or vocal line, unaccompanied. Noun = monophony. See also unison.
Monotone. A melody with a relatively stationary melodic contour. Monotone melodies tend to stick to one note, and can be rather dull.
Montuno. A section in Cuban music that repeats over and over, often in a call-and-response fashion, building up in intensity.
Mosso. "Moved" or "agitated."
Motet. A genre of choral music with sacred words. Motets have a long history as some of the earliest multi-part music in music history (from the 13th century), and have been used to describe a wide variety of pieces. Some motets have been liturgical, some not; some motets have been accompanied, while some have been sung a cappella; some have been sung by large choruses, while others have been sung by small groups with one on a part. Many motets have been sung in Latin, but some have been written in other languages. The simplest way to think of motets, although a generalization, is of sacred non-liturgical choral music, contrasted with the liturgical choral music of the mass.
Motive. The smallest building block of melody, a short melodic or rhythmic idea used to construct longer stretches of melody. See also riff.
Motown. A record label started in Detroit by Berry Gordy, Jr., probably the most successful black-owned record label in music history. Gordy governed virtually every aspect of his artists' work, including their appearance and stage presence, and succeeded in creating a long string of hits in the early and mid 1960's. In the early 1970's, Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder demanded (and received) artistic autonomy, and other important Motown stars began to leave the label. By the 1980's Motown was no longer an important record label, and was sold to MCA in 1988.
Movement. A portion of a classical piece of music that is usually self-contained. Different kinds of genres typically have a certain number of movements; a symphony often has four movements, while a concerto has three. Movements are often referred to by their initial tempo marking.
MTV. Short for "Music Television," the first cable TV channel devoted to airing music videos, first appearing in 1981 and very quickly becoming an important outlet for rock artists. After MTV, rock became an even more visual art form, benefitting those artists with striking appearances and who could dance (such as Michael Jackson and Madonna).
Music Drama Genres. A broad category of genre used to describe dramatic art forms in which music plays an integral part. Examples include ballet, opera and other kinds of musical theater. See Chapter 15 for more information.
Musical Theater. In the broadest use of the term, it refers to all kinds of music-drama combinations, such as operas and operettas. More specifically, it refers to what we call musicals for short, a music-drama genre with popular tunes and spoken dialog.
Narrative Titles. Classical music titles which are based around the story being told by the music. The other main kind of title is the generic title. An example of a narrative title is Richard Strauss' symphonic poem Don Juan.
Nationalism. Illustrating a nation or ethnicity through music.
Neo-classicism. A brief substyle occurring during the 1920's and 1930's, when composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Serge Prokofiev adopted formal and other musical elements from the classical period, recast in a modern idiom.
New Age Jazz. One of the recent trends in the history of jazz, dating from the 1980's. New Age jazz musicians blend elements of traditional jazz, popular music, and sometimes electronic music to create a rather serene style of music. The Windham Hill record label has been a leader in this kind of music. See 8 for more information.
New Wave. A phase in the history of rock music, referring to the post-punk music that became popular in the early 1980's. Compared with punk, new wave was both more danceable and more deliberately commercial, and was dominated by bands such as Duran Duran and the Culture Club, fourth-wave British Invasion groups with striking appearances that were suitable for MTV.
Nocturne. A genre originally for piano alone (later adopted for other instruments, including the orchestral nocturne by Debussy studied in Chapter 13). As the name implies, a nocturne is supposed to be of the night.
Non. Italian for "not."
Non-liturgical. Music with religious lyrics, but not intended for use in a church service.
Note. A pitch used in a scale. In western music, we use the first seven letters of the alphabet as names for our notes.
Oboe. A member of the woodwind instrument family, with the following stages of sound production:
Octave. When a pitch is doubled in frequency, we say it has gone up one octave. In western music we use the same note name for pitches an octave apart. The note "A" above Middle C has a frequency of 440 Hz, and the note with the frequency of 880 Hz is also called "A." The word "octave" comes the Latin word for "eighth," since in our system the octave is the eighth note of the scale.
Opera One of the important music drama genres, usually featuring a full orchestra, several soloists, and sometimes a chorus. More often than is the case with musical theater, operas have virtually continuous singing, no (or little) spoken dialog. See Chapter 15 for more information.
Operetta. (Literally: "little opera") Nineteenth and early Twentieth-century light operas with spoken dialog, popular first in France and Great Britain, then in the United States and elsewhere. Operettas were important precursors to the musicals of the twentieth-century.
Opus Numbers. "Opus" is Latin for work. In music, it is used as a chronological record of compositions a composer has published. A composer's Opus 1 would be the first composition (or group of compositions) he or she has had published. Opus numbers often appear at the end of generic titles a means of identifying the piece and distinguishing it from other pieces by the same composer in the same genre. When a compoer's works were left mostly unpublished at his or her death, we use catalog numbers instead of opus numbers.
Oratorio. A genre of choral music with sacred words, but a non-liturgical function. Oratorios can be quite long, with dozens of movements, but have remained among the most popular genres of choral music for more than two and half centuries. The lyrics of oratorios are written in the language of the intended audience, based around an Old Testament text. Even though oratorios are heard in concert, not in the church service, there is a clear religious message sent, and they have remained most popular in predominately Protestant countries. Oratorios usually feature a large chorus, a full orchestra, and four or more soloists. Some oratorios sound a lot like operas, with dramatic stories and singers taking on the role of specific characters--but oratorios are not acted out on a stage like operas are. Perhaps the most popular oratorio is Handel's Messiah.
Orchestra. An important kind of classical music ensemble. More than half of a typical orchestra consists of string instruments (violins in particular), but orchestras also usually feature woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. On occasion, orchestras will include a chorus and, rarely, electronic instruments, thus including all the instrument families. See also string orchestra, chamber orchestra and Chapter 5 for more information.
Orchestration. The art of composing music for particular instruments of the orchestra to enhance the timbre and expressive powers of the ensemble.
Orchestral Genres A sub-category of instrumental genre, describing classical pieces performed by full orchestra. Some of the famous orchestral genres are the symphony and the concerto, for orchestra and soloist.
Ordinary. An element of the Catholic mass, that part of the service which remains the same week after week. When we talk about the music for the mass, we usually are referring to the ordinary.
Organ. A keyboard instrument with a variety of sizes and construction. The largest kind of organ is a church organ, built right into the structure of a sanctuary and featuring a large number of pipes; the keys send an electric signal to send air into a particular pipe or set of pipes. There are also smaller portable organs, in which the sound is entirely electronic, and organs of intermediate size, not portable but still electronic. These smaller organs are actually more similar in construction to a synthesizer than a church organ.
Ornaments. Decorative extra notes added to a melody.
Overdubbing. The art of recording musical tracks on top of one another. Introduced into mainstream rock and roll Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and the Beatles with their landmark album Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band in the mid-1960's, overdubbing has become the primary technique of recording rock music (and other styles as well). Certain rock musicians, such as Prince, Beck, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, have become so adept at using the recording studio they essentially became one-man bands, overdubbing all the instruments and vocal tracks themselves.
Overtone. The subtle, usually imperceptible pitches that sound at various intervals above the fundamental frequency.
Overture A kind of instrumental genre, performed by a full orchestra. Originally overtures were the instrumental introductions to operas, plays, or ballets, but later became popular when played in the concert halls. By the romantic era, overtures were sometimes composed as independent pieces, not connected to any kind of theater. Overtures are usually fast in tempo and include just one movement.
Passion. A particular kind of oratorio associated specifically with the story of the betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. Passions were particularly popular durng the baroque era.
Payola. A major scandal in early rock and roll history, in which several disc jockeys (among them the rock pioneer Alan Freed) were found guilty of accepting bribes and other financial inducements to promote certain songs over the radio.
Percussion. One of the six instrument families, including such instruments as the snare drum, the timpani, the cymbals, and the marimba, among others. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Phrase. A building block of melody, roughly equivalent to the number of notes one can sing in a single breath. Phrases are important constituents of musical form.
Phrase Segment. A building block of melody, that is smaller than a phrase but longer than a motive or a riff.
Piano. A word with two meanings: 1) a musical instrument with 88 black and white keys which trigger strings stretched over a metal frame; and 2) a dynamic marking, meaning "soft."
Pianissimo. A dynamic marking, meaning "very soft."
Piccolo. A member of the woodwind instrument family. The piccolo is essentially a high flute, with the following stages of sound production:
Pick-up. One or more notes heard before the downbeat of the first measure of music.
Pitch. A sound with a regular frequency. In western music we give pitches alphabetical names (A, B, C, etc.); these are called notes. This actually refers to the botton pitch, or fundamental, of the overtone series.
Pizzicato. When string instruments that are usually bowed, such as the violin, are plucked with the finger instead.
Polymeter. Two or more meters heard simultaneously. Related concept: polyrhythm
Polyphonic. A kind of texture in which there are two or more melody lines of roughly equal importance. Noun = polyphony.
Populist Phase. The second of the twentieth century phases, led by composers such as Aaron Copland, a reaction against the atonal phase and emphasizing folk music in classical compositions, music that might appeal to a broad listening public. The populist phase lasted through the 1930's and 1940's.
Postmodernist Phase. The fifth and last of the twentieth century phases, appearing in the 1980's and 1990's and continuing today, a style emphasizing pastiche and musical collage.
Prelude. A piece, or a movement of a piece, with an introductory, usually free-form nature. In the baroque period, preludes were often written for keyboard instruments, often paired with a fugue which followed immediately after the prelude.
Prestissimo. One of the classical tempo markings, meaning "as fast as possible."
Presto. One of the classical tempo markings, referring to a very fast tempo.
Prima Donna. (Literally: "First Lady") The leading female in an opera, almost always a high soprano singer.
Program Music. Music associated with a story or something else written down.
Program Symphony. A symphony that tells a story through its program. Program symphonies became popular in the romantic era.
Progressive Rock. A sub-style of rock music emerging in the 1970's and exemplified by the concept albums of second-wave British Invasion groups such as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Yes, and Genesis, using albums and concerts to paint an aural tapestry and tell epic stories, often featuring sophisticated use of recording technology. Also refers to the mid 1970's trend, led by bands such as Emerson, Lake and Palmer to incorporate classical music into a rock idiom.
Proper. One of the two basic elements of the Catholic mass, that part of the service which has new words each week.
Punk Rock. A sub-style of rock music emerging in the 1970's, first in New York (with bands such as the Ramones, Television, the Talking Heads, and Blondie) and then in Great Britain (led by the Sex Pistols and the Clash). In part a reaction against the glossy production values of the progressive rock and disco phases, punk musicians played a deliberately artless and noisy breed of garage-band rock, a call to return rock performance to the masses. Punk rock only really caught on when the Seattle grunge bands took on key elements of the style in the early 1990's.
Quartet. A piece written for four performers. A quartet can be either an instrumental chamber genre or a vocal chamber genre. The most famous kind of quartet is a string quartet.
Quintet. A piece written for five performers. A quintet can be either an instrumental chamber genre or a vocal chamber genre. Examples of common quintets include the woodwind quintet and the brass quintet.
Rags. A genre of early jazz, originally played entirely on the piano. Scott Joplin was the most famous composer of rags. See Chapter 8 for more information and examples.
Ragtime. One of the earliest of the jazz styles, featuring mostly piano music written by composers such as Scott Joplin. See Chapter 8 for more information and examples.
Ragtime Form. One of the important kinds of form in early jazz, closely following the format of the march: typically four sixteen-bar strains that repeat immediately:
AA BB CC DD
The "C" strain is called the trio. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Rallentando. Gradually decreasing in tempo. Same as ritardando.
Ranchero. A kind of traditional Mexican folk music associated with rural life; the opposite of Jaiton
Range. The spread of notes an instrument or singer can produce.
Rap. One of the elements of hip-hop culture (along with break dancing and graffiti art) to emerge in the black neighborhoods of the South Bronx in the late 1970's. Rap groups come in all sizes, but generally include at least one DJ and at least one MC. Fueled by exposure on MTV in the late 1980's, rap has become one of the most popular music styles of the last twenty years.
Recapitulation. The third main section of sonata form. Like the exposition, the recapitulation has four main subsections:
But the recapitulation also differs from the exposition in certain subtle ways.
Recitative. A kind of vocal music invented in the baroque era, closely associated with opera. Recitative is irregular in rhythm, so that it can closely emulate the people speak; and in pitch, it rises and falls in the way speech rises and falls. In early opera, recitatives preceded arias.
Recorder. A member of the woodwind instrument family. The recorder is an old version of the flute, played up-and-down rather than sideways. It is used for casual playing and in orchestras playing early music. It has the following stages of sound production:
Reed. A small strip of wood used as the vibrating element in several woodwind instruments.
Reggae and Ska. Jamaican rock music, of slightly different character, which have been influential in the history of rock. Ska, emerging in the 1950's, is a high-energy breed of rock, usually played by a band with brass instruments and saxophones. Reggae, devoloping later, featured a slower tempo, often with spoken-dialog sections (called "toasting"). This last feature was an important influence on early rap, via Jamaican immigrants to New York City in the 1970s, and Reggae in general was an important influence on the British punk and new wave bands of the 1970's and early 1980's.
Renaissance. One of the classical style periods, lasting from about 1450 to 1600.
Repetition vs. Contrast. The two basic elements of musical form; two sections of music heard back-to-back will either be (a) exact duplicates of one another (repetition), (b) completely different (contrast), or somewhere in between. See Chapter 6 for more information.
Requiem. A mass for the dead. Requiems can be either liturgical or pieces for the concert hall, in which case they are usually sung by a large chorus with orchestral accompaniment and sometimes several soloists.
Resonating Chamber. The last of the three basic stages in the production of musical sound. In most instruments, the body of the instrument provides the resonating chamber. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Rest. A space in the music in which no notes are heard. The beat continues even though no notes are sounding at that particular moment.
Retrograde. Playing or singing a melodic line backwards. Melodic lines that work backwards and forwards have been a kind of musical puzzle, dating back to the Middle Ages and periodically throughout music history. The term "retrograde" applies specifically to one of the main kinds of operations used in the twelve-tone method. See Chapter 14 for more information about the latter.
Riff. A small building block of melody, similar to a motive but applied to popular music, and also less subject to transformation than a motive.
Ring Dance. An ancient variety of social dance, still practiced in places around the world today, in which the dancers form one or more large rings.
Ritardando. Gradually decreasing in tempo. Same as rallentando.
Ritenuto. Suddenly slowing down in tempo.
Ritornello. (Literally: "Little return") Two meanings:
1. The typical form of the first movement of the baroque concerto grosso, featuring an alternation between soloists and the orchestra.
2. An important element of ritornello form: the main theme, usually played by the orchestra, which returns again and again.
Romantic. One of the classical style periods, lasting from about 1815 to 1900. See Chapter 13 for more information.
Rondo. One of the important forms found in the classical era. Rondos, quick in tempo, are usually found as the last movement of symphonies and concertos, and have the following basic structure:
A B A C ... A (coda)
Round. A kind of vocal music genre, typically found as children's songs such as "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," made up of exact imitative polyphony. See Chapter 12 for more information and examples.
Rounded Binary Form. An important subsidiary form heard in the classical era, with the following structure:
||: a :||: b a' :||
Rounded binary form is the root structure of the minuet and trio form, among others.
Rubato. The gentle push and pull of tempo for expressive purposes.
Rumba. A dance craze of cuban origin, popular in the 1930's, a couple's dance in a moderately fast quadruple meter.
Sacred. Music with religious lyrics, opposite of secular. We can sub-divide sacred music into liturgical and non-liturgical music.
Salsa. A term coined by the record companies of the 1970's to refer to a wide variety of Latin-tinged jazz and popular music. Usually, salsa bands include electric guitar, electric bass, a rock drum set, plus brass instruments and saxophones, as well as traditional Cuban percussion instruments such as the conga, the guiro and the maracas.
Samba. A dance craze of Brazilian origin, popular in the 1940's, a dance in a moderately fast quadruple meter with complex rhythms.
Sanctus. The fourth movement of the ordinary of the Catholic mass. The opening words of this movement, in Latin, are "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus" ("Holy, holy, holy").
Saxophone. A member of the woodwind instrument family (N.B.: even though the body of the instrument looks like it is made of brass!). The saxophone has with the following stages of sound production:
It comes in several different sizes, according to the range of the instrument. These are the most common kinds of saxophone:
Although saxophones are rare in classical music, they are among the most important instruments in jazz.
Scale. A collection of notes used as the source material for melodies and harmonies. The most common scales in western music are the major and minor scales, although the blues scale and others are also used. The major and minor scales both contain, in their basic form, seven notes before the scale starts to repeat at the octave. The word "scale" comes from the Italian word for "steps," and is typically built in a particular order of half steps and whole steps.
Scat Singing. Vocal jazz improvisation using nonsense words. Famous scat singers include Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Second Theme. The third of the four main subsections of the exposition and recapitulation in sonata form. The second theme--like the first theme often actually a cluster of two or more little melodies--is the contrasting subsection of the movement, a counterbalance to the first theme.
The Second Viennese School. A group of composers centered in Vienna, Austria, in the early twentieth century, centered around the composer-teacher Arnold Schoenberg. Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone method and taught it to Alban Berg and Anton Webern (the other members of this school), a method they each practiced in different ways. See Chapter 14 for more information about the twelve-tone method.
Secular. Music with non-religious lyrics, opposite of sacred.
Segue. A short interlude connecting two segments of music.
Serenata. A traditional Mexican serenade.
Serialist Phase. The third of the twentieth century phases, led by composers such as Milton Babbitt, a highly mathematical style of composition emphasizing dissonance and atonality. The style dominated classical music in the 1950's and 1960's.
Simple Duple Meter. A meter consisting of one strong beat followed by one weak beat. For an example, see the Companion Web site for Chapter 2.
Simple Quadruple Meter. A meter consisting of one strong beat followed by three weaker beats. Sometimes, there is a smaller accent on the third beat as well as the downbeat. Most rock music is in simple quadruple meter.
Simple Triple Meter. A meter consisting of one strong beat followed by two weak beats. For an example, see the web page for Chapter 2.
Singer-Songwriters. Musicians such as Joni Mitchell and James Taylor who sang rather confessional songs, accompanying themselves usually on the acoustic guitar. Although singer-songwriters were most popular in the early and mid 1970's, this sub-style has continued to the present day, both through the continuing work of the original 1970's singer-songwriters as well as the newer exponents such as Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco.
Single. A recording format introduced in the late 1940's (at approximately the same time as the introduction of the 33 1/3-RPM long-playing record, both of which were designed to replace the old 78-RPM record. LP's were initially favored for classical music, while popular music appeared on singles (which were smaller and cheaper, and also used in jukeboxes). In the early history of rock and roll, singles came first, only later to be assembled into albums (if at all), but in the 1960's and 1970's this pattern reversed, with albums coming first and singles drawn from them--thus diminishing the importance of the single. With the advent of the CD in the 1980s, singles became issued in this format (usually the same physical size as the CD's containing LP-length material, but less expensive), and the vinyl single largely disappeared from view. Today's MP3 files and other computer formats are the descendent of the single.
Slow Introduction. A section in sonata form which appears sometimes, but not always. Slow introductions, as the name implies, are slower in tempo than the rest of the movement, and often in minor while the remainder of the movement is in major. Note that many sonata forms begin immediately with the exposition, skipping the slow introduction altogether.
Snare Drum. A member of the percussion instrument family. The snare drum can be played in two ways, with the snares on or off. With the snares on, the drum has a buzzier timbre. The snare drum has the following stages of sound production:
Social Dance. There are two basic kinds of dancing, that done by and for the dancers themselves (social dance), and that done for an audience (known as theatrical dance). Social dance today is usually free and informal, but in the past, social dances had very clearly prescribed choreography. Some of the famous kinds of social dance include:
Son. An early style of Cuban dance music, resulting from the blending of African and Spanish influences; the root of most of the familiar styles of Afro-Cuban dance music. It was played by small bands, using guitar or tres, maracas, güiro, claves, bongo, and other instruments.
Sonata. Two meanings:
1. A popular kind of instrumental chamber genre, for either one solo instrument or a solo instrument plus piano accompaniment. Created during the baroque era, sonatas became very popular in the classical era and are still being composed today. Piano sonatas are among the most famous.
2. See also sonata form.
Sonata Form. One of the important forms found in the classical era. Sonata form, usually found as the first movement of symphonies, sonatas and other instrumental genres, is a kind of expanded rounded binary form. The main sections of the sonata form are:
Soprano. The highest vocal part, usually sung by women (but sometimes by boys).
Sound Production. There are three basic stages in the production of musical sound: there is an energy source, a vibrating element, and a resonating chamber. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Sousaphone. A tuba designed for marching.
Southern Rock. A sub-style of rock music, best exemplified by the 1970's recordings of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, featuring large bands (with two or three lead guitars), lyrics emphasizing Southern themes, elements of the blues, and an emphasis on improvisation.
Spinning. The art of mixing together two or more records so that they blend together well. Originally practiced in discotheques, the spinning of the DJ's of reggae and ska DJ's in Jamaican street parties, and later in the Bronx, was an important precursor to rap.
Stop-time Riffs. One of the characteristic elements of the blues. Stop-time is when a band comes to a sudden halt, leaving either a singer or an instrument exposed in the musical texture. A stop-time riff is a recurring musical idea used as the lead-in to the stop time. Stop-time is used to add emphasis to short sections of music. See Chapter 7 for more information.
Strain. A unit in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century musical form, usually sixteen measures long, sometimes thirty-two. Strains often repeat immediately. Both marches and rags are organized by strains. See Chapter 8 for more information and examples.
Strings. One of the six instrument families, including such instruments as the violin, the cello, the guitar, and the harp, among others. This family can be divided into two subcategories: bowed and unbowed (that is, usually plucked with the finger). See Chapter 5 for more information.
String Orchestra. An orchestra consisting entirely (or almost entirely) of string instruments.
String Quartet. Two meanings:
1. A popular kind of chamber ensemble in classical music, featuring two violins, a viola and a cello, developed during the classical era and still being composed today.
2. The music written for this ensemble; e.g., a kind of instrumental chamber genre.
Style Periods. The organization of classical music by chronology. Although there was a great deal of overlap between the different classical styles, in general composers in each style period followed similar sets of rules in their compositons. The periods and their approximate dates are as follows:
Subsidiary Form. While musical form generally refers to the structure of an entire piece of music, there may be form within the form. These interior structures have their own pattern of repetition and contrast and are used to build up the larger-scale form. See Chapter 6 for more information.
Suite. A kind of instrumental genre that can be either orchestral or chamber. The suite became popular during the baroque era, a collection of stylized dance pieces (stylized meaning they weren't actually for dancing anymore, just listening). J.S. Bach wrote suites for both orchestra and for solo instruments such as the cello and the violin. Suites can have any number of movements, from just two or three to more than a dozen.
Sun Records. The first important record company in the history of rock and roll. Led by Memphis DJ Sam Philips, Sun started out recording blues legends such as B.B. King, then helped establish the early sound of rock and roll by launching the career of Elvis Presley, then Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and others.
Surf Music. A popular phase in early 1960's rock and roll, pioneered by guitarist Duane Eddy and made popular by the Beach Boys, featuring carefree, sunny lyrics, a particular style of Chuck Berry-influenced guitar playing, and tight vocal harmonies borrowed from doo wop and the Everly Brothers.
Swing. An important era in the history of jazz, dominated by big dance bands playing charts. The swing era lasted from about 1932 to 1945. See Chapter 8 for more information and examples.
Swing Rhythm. The characteristic way the beats of quadruple meter are subdivided. Instead of equal subdivisions, swing beats are subdivided into a jagged long-short pattern. See Chapter 8 for more information and examples.
Symphony. A kind of instrumental genre, performed by a full orchestra. Symphonies developed during the classical era, and were among the most important genres in the romantic era as well. Usually, symphonies have four movements, although some symphonies have a different number of movements.
Symphonic Poem. (Also known as Tone poems) A kind of instrumental genre, performed by a full orchestra. Symphonic Poems developed during the romantic era, and were among the most important genres in the twentieth century as well. Symphonic poems have just one movement and are programmatic as well.
Syncopation. Placing an accent on normally weak beats in a measure.
Synthesizer. A member of the electronic instrument family, the synthesizer is a keyboard instrument designed to create an enormous variety of timbres. It has the following stages of sound production:
Tag. An element of popular music form, referring to the ending segment of a song. This is essentially the same idea as the coda in classical music. See Chapter 6 for more information.
Tango. A dance craze of Argentine origin, popular throughout the world in the 1910's and 1920's, featuring a couple gliding across the room to a moderate quadruple meter.
Tape Loop. A musical device used during the experimentalistphase of twentieth- century classical music by electronic music composers. A tape loop is, literally, a loop of magnetic tape which creates a recurring sound as it cycles through the tape recorder. When several tape loops are combined, unusual musical textures can result.
Tempo. How fast or slow the beat goes. Tempos can be designated loosely, via classical tempo markings such as allegro or more precisely via metronome markings.
Tenor. The highest male vocal part.
Texture. The way in which melodies are combined to create a musical fabric. The four kinds of texture are: Monophonic, Homophonic, Polyphonic, and Heterophonic.
Theatrical Dance. There are two basic kinds of dancing, that done by and for the dancers themselves (known as social dance), and that done for an audience, theatrical dance, usually performed on stage before an audience. The three main styles of theatrical dance are:
Thematic Development. The art of transforming a musical theme throughout a movement.
Theme. The main melody in a classical piece of music.
Theme and Variations. One of the important forms found in the classical era.
32-Bar Song Form. The most common musical form in the popular music of the first half of the twentieth century, thus an important form used in the head of jazz pieces. The 32 bars are divided into four phrases of eight bars each:
A A B A'
See Chapter 8 for more information.
Timbales. An instrument of Cuban origin, two or more metal drums on stands, played with drumsticks. Timbales have the following stages of sound production:
Timbre. The tonal quality of the sound, or "tone color." It is timbre that distinguishes musical instruments from one another. See instument families. See also Chapter 5 for more information.
Timpani. A member of the percussion instrument family, also known as kettledrums.Timpani are semi-pitched, tuned according to the instructions in the musical score by the timpanist before a concert. Timpani have the following stages of sound production:
Tocatta. A kind of instrumental genre associated primarily with keyboard instruments, especially the organ. Tocattas are usually virtuosic pieces, often used as a prelude to a fugue. Tocattas were most popular during the baroque era.
Tone Row. The string of ordered notes used as the basis for the operations of the twelve-tone method. See Chapter 14 for more information about the latter.
Tonic. The note that serves as the center of gravity for a melody and/or harmony. In most western music, the tonic is the first (that is, the bottom) note of the scale. See also key.
Total Serialism. A version of the twelve-tone method that uses mathematics to generate not just pitches but all (or nearly all) elements of a musical composition. Led by Milton Babbit during the serialist phase of twentieth-century classical music, total serialism is associated primarily with university composers of the 1950's and 1960's.
Trading Fours. (Or "trading eights") A feature of jazz music, in which two or more players trade short four-measure segments of improvisation. See Chapter 8 for more information.
Transposition. The changing of key or tonal center. Sometimes, singers will transpose a song they want to sing so that the notes fit more comfortably in their range. Sometimes, composers use transposition in the middle of a piece, so that the tonal center changes. Usually, however, the original tonal center returns by the end of a piece.
Triad. A particular kind of chord consisting of three notes, each the interval of a third apart. For more information, see Chapter 4.
Trio. Three meanings:
1. A kind of chamber ensemble featuring three players.
2. The genre associated with such an ensemble.
3. A kind of interlude in the middle of a piece, often lighter in texture and in a contrasting key. This feature occurs in both classical music, in the minuet and trio form, in marches, and in early jazz, as the third strain in ragtime form.
See chapters 8 and 11 for more information.
Trio Sonata. A popular chamber music ensemble during the baroque era, featuring two violins plus basso continuo. The term trio sonata also applies to the genre of music written for this ensemble.
Triplet. A group of three notes to be performed in the time of two.
Trombone. A lower-pitched member of the brass instrument family, notable for its slide, enabling it to sweep through several pitches. It has the following stages of sound production:
Trumpet. A high-pitched member of the brass instrument family, with the following stages of sound production:
Tuba. The lowest-pitched member of the brass instrument family, with the following stages of sound production:
A tuba designed for marching is called a Sousaphone.
Tunefulness. The memorability of a melody.
Twelve-tone Method. A system of composition developed by Arnold Schoenberg during the atonal phase of twentieth-century classical music, in which all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are assigned a given order, called a tone row. The composer can then change the row in certain ways:
See Chapter 14 for more information.
Twentieth Century. One of the classical style periods, lasting from about 1900 to 2000. See Chapter 14 for more information.
Twentieth-Century Trends. In Perspectives on Music, the twentieth century is divided into five, roughly chronological trends or phases:
Unbowed Strings. A sub-category of string instruments that includes instruments that do not typically use a bow, such as the guitar, the mandolin, and the harp, among others.
Unison. A kind of texture in which everybody sings or plays the same melody line. This is essentially the same as monophony, except that a monophonic texture can refer to a single musician playing alone, while "unison" implies two or more musicians playing or singing the melody.
Vaudeville. The primary entertainment circuit of late-19th and early 20th-century U.S. popular culture. Vaudeville shows were a series of different performers, grouped together to provide a long evening's entertainment. Most of the early motion picture, radio and television comedians found their start on the vaudeville circuit, and it also was an important venue for the era's popular music, such as the classic blues. See Chapter 7 for more information.
Verismo. (Literally: "realism") The movement in the late nineteenth century to create operas with more realistic, often grim subject matters. One of the leading composers of verismo operas was Giacomo Puccini.
Verse. One of the important elements of rock music form. In rock music, the words usually change during the verse, but are repeated in each chorus. The other main section of a rock song is called the bridge. See Chapter 6 for more information.
Vibraphone. A member of the percussion instrument family. It is essentially a modified xylophone, with metal bars laid out like a piano keyboard, tubes underneath each bar (like a marimba) and an electric motor which sets flaps in motion underneath the tubes to create a vibrato effect. Most commonly heard in jazz.
Vibrating Element. The second of the three basic stages in the production of musical sound. In woodwind instruments, the vibrating element is often a reed or two reeds vibrating together; while in string instruments the vibrating element is the string itself. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Vibrato. The subtle, rapid rise and fall of pitch added to give a note character and warmth. Vibrato can be applied to most woodwind, brass, and string instruments, as well as the human voice. When a singer or an instrumentalist takes the vibrato out of their music, they are said to be producing a "straight tone."
Vihuela. A traditional Mexican instrument, associated with the mariachi, a member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of bowed strings; a small, high-pitched, round-backed guitar. It has the following stages of sound production:
energy source: muscle
vibrating element: the strings
resonating chamber: the instrument's body
Viola. A middle-pitched member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of bowed strings. Like the violin, the viola is held underneath the player's chin and has the following stages of sound production:
Violin. A high-pitched member of the string instrument family, part of the subfamily of bowed strings. It has the following stages of sound production:
Violoncello. See cello.
Voice. One of the six instrument families. The human voice is divided into six ranges, three female and three male. From highest to lowest, the three female ranges are the soprano, the mezzo-soprano (pronounced "MET-zo") and the alto. The men's ranges are the tenor, the baritone and the bass. All the voice parts have the following stages of sound production:
Vocal Genres. A broad category of genre, including classical pieces focussing on the human voice (although instruments may be used in accompaniment). There are two subcategories of vocal genres, choral and chamber chorus genres.
Waltz. A kind of social dance, popular throughout the nineteenth century and still danced today, a couple's dance with bubbly triple-meter music.
Walking Bass. A characteristic way of playing the bass in jazz, in which the player "walks" up and down the notes in the scale in an on-the-beat fashion.
Whole Step. A small interval. The distance between the notes "A" and "B" is a whole step. Whole steps are the most common interval in the western major and minor scales, although they are also common in melodies. The whole step is the second-smallest interval common in western music; the smallest is the half step.
Whole-tone Scale. A six-note scale in which all the notes are a whole step apart. Music using the whole-tone scale--which was most popular during the impressionist period--has a kind of floating quality. See Chapter 13 for more information.
Woodwind. One of the six instrument families, including such instruments as the clarinet, the flute, the oboe, and the bassoon, among others. See Chapter 5 for more information.
Woodwind Quintet. Two meanings:
1. A popular kind of chamber ensemble in classical music, featuring a flute, a clarinet an oboe a French horn, and a bassoon.
2. The music written for this ensemble; e.g., a kind of instrumental chamber genre.
World Beat. Refers to either popular music recorded by artists outside Anglophone countries (Great Britain, Canada, Australia, the United States, for example), or rock music by English-speaking artists with influence from abroad. Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel are two artists with strong world-music influence who have also been instrumental in calling attention to world-music artists who were unknown to the English-speaking public beforehand. World beat became increasingly popular in the 1980's and continues to grow in popularity.
Xylophone. A member of the percussion instrument family. It is pitched, with metal or wooden bars laid out like a piano keyboard. It has the following stages of sound production:
Related instruments include the marimba and the vibraphone.