Accidentals – Sharps, flats, or natural signs used to raise, lower, or return a note to the normal pitch.
Alto Clef – The symbol that marks the pitch C on the staff
Anacrusis – Pickup or upbeat
Atonal – Music lacking in a tonal or key center
Augmented – Raised or stretched
Bass Clef – The symbol that marks the F-line on the staff
Beat – Regular reoccurring series of durations
Binary Form – A compositional form in which an initial section is followed by a contrasting section (AB)
Cadence – The melodic or harmonic ending of a piece or the sections or phrases therein. A chord progression that ‘feels’ like the conclusion. Authentic (AC), Deceptive (DC), Half (HC), Imperfect Authentic (IAC), Perfect Authentic (PAC), and Plagal (PC)
Chord – Three or more notes sounded together
Chromatic – Moving by half-steps
Chromatic Scale – A scale composed of 12 half-steps
Clef – The symbol at the beginning of a staff that indicates which lines and spaces represent which pitches
Consonant Interval – Sounds that are pleasing to the ear (Major and minor 3rds and 6ths, and Perfect 5ths)
Degree – A note of a scale identified by a name or number
Diatonic – The notes indigenous to a key in a scale
Diminished – Lowered
Dissonant Interval – Sounds that are displeasing to the ear
Double Flat bb – Lowers a pitch by a whole-step
Double Sharp x – Raises a pitch by a whole-step
Duration – Length of time that a sound or silence last
Enharmonic - Notes that are spelled differently but sound the same.
Figured Bass – The bass part with numbers written adjacent to it to indicate the intervals or harmonies to be played above it.
A Baroque system (1600-1750)
Flat b – Lowers a pitch by a half-step
Grand Staff – The combination of the treble and bass clef
Half-step (H) – The shortest distance between two pitches
Harmonic Minor Scale – An octave encompassing the following half-step and whole- step configuration: WHWWH(W+H)H (the 7th scale degree is raised from the natural minor)
Harmony – The study of the structure, progression, and relationships of chords.
Homophonic, homophony – Music in which one voice leads melodically, being supported by an accompaniment in chordal or a slightly more elaborate style
Interval – The distance between two pitches
Key Signature – A pattern of sharps or flats that appears at the beginning of a staff and indicates that certain notes are to be raised or lowered.
Major Scale – An octave encompassing the following half-step and whole-step configuration: WWHWWWH
Melodic Minor Scale – An octave encompassing the following half-step and whole-step configuration: (Ascending) WHWWWWH the 6th and 7th scale degree is raised from the natural minor scale. (Descending) WWHWWHW (the 6th and 7th scale degree is lowered from the ascending version of the same scale)
Melody – An organized sequence of single notes
Meter – Regular, recurring groups of beats (usually 2-duple, 3-triple, or 4-quadruple)
Mode – A type of scale with a specific arrangement of intervals (See Mode Chart)
Monophonic, monophony – Music with one single melody line only.
Motive, motif – A short melodic pattern or musical idea that runs through a
Music Theory – The study of how music is put together
Natural Minor Scale – An octave encompassing the following half-step and whole- step configuration: WHWWHWW
Natural n – The music symbol that indicates that a note that is neither sharp nor flat;
Notation – Written music indication pitch and rhythm
Octave – The interval between the first and eighth degrees of the diatonic scale
Parallel Keys – Major and minor keys having the same key note (tonic).
Pentatonic scale - Formed from five notes (from the Greek pente: five). Most common is the five black notes on the piano keyboard.
Period - A musical statement, made up of two or more phrases and a cadence.
Phrase – An independent musical idea terminated by a cadence
Pickup – Introductory note or notes preceding the first strong beat of a new measure.
Pitch – The highness or lowness of a tone
Polyphonic, polyphony - Music that combines two or more melodic lines
Relative Keys – Major and minor keys that share the same key signature.
Rhythm – A set or sequence of durations
Rondo Form – A compositional form characterized by a recurring theme in alternation with contrasting themes; usually ABACADA or ABACABA
Rounded Binary Form – A compositional form in which an initial section is followed by a contrasting section, which ends with a return of the material from the initial section (AB[A])
Scale – A progression of notes in a specific order.
Sharp # – Raises a pitch by a half-step
Solfeggio, Solfege – For ear training and sight singing, singing the degrees of the scale with syllables (i.e. doh, reh, mee, etc.)
Song Form – The organization of sections of a song, represented by letters
Staff – Five horizontal, parallel lines resulting in four equal-distant spaces
Strophic – A song in which all the verses are sung to the same melody
Subdivision – Division of beat (usually 2-simple or 3-compound)
Syncopation – Emphasis on a beat, against a standard or norm
Tempo – Rate or speed of the beat
Ternary Forms – A compositional form in which an initial section is followed by a contrasting section, which is followed by a return of the initial section (ABA)
Tertian Harmony – Standard western harmony based on thirds or triads
Texture – The number of parts in a piece and their relation to one another
Through-composed – A song in which new music is performed for each verse
Treble Clef – The symbol that marks the G-line on the staff
Triad – A chord consisting of three notes: root, third, and fifth
Whole-step (W) – The distance between two pitches with one pitch in between
Whole-tone scale - Six notes separated from one another by a whole step.