Musical terms and definitions Tips

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Adagio means very slow. Adogio comes from Italian ad agio, 'at ease'.

What is Timbre?


Timbre -The quality of a musical tone that distinguishes voices and instruments.

What is a phrase?


Phrase - A small section of a composition comprising a musical thought. Comparable to a sentence in language.

What does forte mean?


Forte - to play loud

What is acapella?


acapella-without instrumental accompaniment

What does the musical term "romantic" mean??


Romantic -Relating to the nineteenth-century musical period characterized by subjectivity on the part of the composer, emotionalism in music, longer musical forms, and richer harmonies.

What is an intermezzo?


Intermezzo- a short musical compostition, as between main divisions of an extended musical work.

Where is the humbucker located?


Humbucker - pickup on a guitar. Unlike the single coil pickups, it is fatter. To see a picture of some humbucker pickups, look at some Fenders and some Gibsons. They are located right under the strings near the bridge.

What is a chord?


Chord -Three or more tones combined and sounded simultaneously

What is an absolute pitch?

Absolute Pitch

Absolute pitch- 1. the exact pitch of a tone in terms of vibrations per second 2. the ability to sing or recognize the sound of a tone.

What is a slur?


Slur-A curved line drawn over two or more notes of different pitches, indicating that they are to be executed in a smoothly connected manner without a break.

What is Mezzo Forte?

Mezzo forte

Mezzo forte-Moderately loud

What is Just Intonation?

Just Intonation

Just Intonation-any system of tuning in which all of the intervals can be represented by whole-number frequency ratios

What is distortion?


distortion - check out this page for a great definition of distortion. I couldn't explain it half as well.


What is a cacaphony?


cacaphony-harsh discordant sound



Abandon is a French-originated musical term that means 'Without restraint'. In laymen's terms, the musician is to play louder and present a slightly uncontrolled feeling to the music. Tempo, volume, and pitch is effected.



Accelerando is musical notation symbol that means to gradually quicken tempo. An accelerando symbol may be accompanied by a new tempo marking (example: Tempo = 80).

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Jeff Beer