Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 3 months ago


Please place Musical Terms here.




For musical instruments and the terminology related to them, please see Instruments of the Orchestra.



Asymetrical Grouping - This is a grouping of notes within a measure to yield new rhythmic effects.

Atonality: Lacking a tonal center, principally through application of the tone-row technique.

Displaced Bar Line - This is a technique to make the barline seem as if it is misplaced or shifted. To do this, accents are put in recurring patterns to counter the normal accents in the measure.

Equivalence - pitches which are equivalent to each other (ex. A above middle C = A below middle C)

Expressionism: Music interpreted prominently with extremely deep emotions that can express a heavy psychological feel on the listener. Expressionism often persists of a complex and fluid rhythm, atonal, chromatic, and disjunct melody, irregular phrasing, and indefinite pitches.

Forte - A loud dynamic level

Fortissimo- A very loud dynamic level. Louder than forte.

Futurism: Originally a term derived from Italy; basically Futurism is music with new instrumentation- by experimenting with distorted sounds with different objects.

Glissando-Sliding in instruments

Machinism: An early form of Futurism, which persists of realistic imitation of sounds and movements, such as the imitations of automotive noises.

Metric Modulation - the change in meter by altering the metric grouping of the pulse. 

Metric Notation - the indicated meter at the beginning of the peice.

Mezzo forte- A medium loud dynamic level.

Mezzo piano- A medium soft dynamic level.

Mixed Meter: Often used in rapid successions; basically where the meter varies and sometimes changes signature within each measure.

Multimetric Music - In this type of music frequent changes of time signature occur almost every measure.

Neo-Classicism: A provided 18th century outline for 20th century music, in other words music that was 20th century music but sounded somewhat like 18th century music. This eclectic style used tone colors to emphasize melodic lines for a creative expression.

Neo-Modality: Modern harmonic or contrapuntal context that use archaic modes.

Neo-Romanticism: Also an eclectic style, but employing 20th century techniques with Romantic techniques.

New Time Signatures - Refers to odd time signatures, such as 5/8 and 7/8, are found in modern music.

Non-metric Music - For non-metric flexibility, composers omit the bar line, this is limited to solo media.

Ordered pitch class - a term used in analyzing music in which order matters between the pitches (in terms of highness and lowness).

Pandiatonic chords: Chords formed freely from all degrees of a diatonic scale regardless of their diatonic function.

Pandiatonic successions: Successions formed freely from all degrees of a diatonic scale regardless of their diatonic function.

Pandiatonicism: Music in which the tonality of one key is firmly established, but dissonance is recognized freely where conventional relationships between the prime chords are not considered.

Performance Art - multimedia visual involving dramatic and musical elements.

Piano- A soft dynamic level.

Pianissimo- A very soft dynamic level. Softer than piano.

Pitch - highness or lowness of tone.

Pitch Class - a group of pitches that share the same name.

Polymetric Music - This is music in which two or more meters are used simultaneously.  Commonly used in twentieth century music.  Ex. Stravinsky's <i>L'Histoire du Soldat</i> (Soldier's March).  In tonal music it can act as an enhancer to the peice's dynamics, whereas in tonal music the music seems to be going in two directions at once.

Polymetrical Rhythm: Rhythm with two or more meters being used simultaneously.

Polyrhythm: Multiple important rhythmic patterns occurring simultaneously.

Polytonality: Creating two or more tonal centers by repetitive use of the resources of two or more keys in counterpoint or in polychords

Primitivism: Essentially derived from uncivilized culture, Primitivism exerts odd musical ideas yet still provides melodic and rhythmic patterns provided with a wild and barbaric feel.

Punk rock - Subgenre of rock popular since the mid 1970s, characterized by loud volume levels, driving rhythms and simple forms typical of earlier rock and roll; often contains shocking lyrics and offensive behavior.

song cycle: a group of songs that circle around a central concept/idea.

Unordered pitch class - no matter which way (up/down), the nearest tonal equivalent (using pitch classes) to a pitch. 


Hey y'all!

I found this web site that has a lot of music teminology (Click on the Link below). You can browse by letter, and it also has a cool little clip of the word being pronounced. Just might be helpful!



Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary:


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.