Use this tag for questions about musical terms. Questions about symbols should use the "notation" tag.

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4
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3answers
493 views

What's the correct term for a 'professional' composer?

The orchestra I play in is planning to commission a piece of music for our 50th anniversary concert in 2017. We've commissioned music in the past, and had music written for us, by amateur composers. ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

Name for scale contain the notes C, D, E, F G#, A, A#

Is this an actual scale mode, like Phrygian, Locrian, etc, or is it just a constructed scale? C, D, E, F G#, A, A# (C) So, root, major second, major third, perfect forth, augmented fifth, major ...
3
votes
4answers
182 views

Music Theory Classification Systems

For musical instruments there are a number of hierarchical classification systems in use worldwide, amongst them the well-known but somewhat limited Hornbostel-Sachs system. I find myself wondering ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

What is it called when a song starts with few instruments, and gradually adds one at a time?

Many songs will start with only a few number of instruments, and after a specified amount of time has passed a new instrument is added, and this is repeated until all instruments for the song are ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Is there a specific name for the arpeggio symbol?

Is there a specific name for the squiggly arpeggio symbol? If so, are there different names for arpeggio symbols that point up or down or spans both clefs? I find having to write out "arpeggio ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Is there a general term for a single note or a chord?

Take a passage like this: Fill in the blank: Each of these boxes denote a ______ Is there a single general term for these that's better than note or chord? Or maybe there's a term for "anything ...
6
votes
7answers
5k views

Is there any name for two melodies that are being played at the same time?

Is there any name I can use for two melodies that are being played at the same time? (The rhythmic part isn't identical). For Instance, there is Fables of Faubus by Charles Mingus which starts off ...
33
votes
4answers
56k views

What are the differences between tone, note and pitch?

I was wondering what differences are between "tone", "note", and "pitch"?
3
votes
1answer
705 views

Is 'dur' another way of saying flat (b)?

I found this sheet music for a quartet by Haydn: As you can see, on the cover it says B♭ major/ B-Dur / Si♭ majeur. I can understand the first and the third terms, but is B-Dur another way of ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are notes named the way they are?

In 12 tone equal temperament, why are the notes named: C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B instead of, for example, A, A#, B, B#, C, C#, D, D#, E, E#, F, F# or any other thing?
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Why is the Phrygian Dominant Scale thusly named?

I recently started experimenting with the Phrygian dominant scale. As I understand, it is the 5th mode of a harmonic minor scale. For example an A Phrygian Dominant consists of the notes ...
1
vote
2answers
987 views

What is the name of this musical symbol (squiggly line)?

If you look super close at the music chart, you will notice that the last notes of each part (for example, the low G in the bass part) has a squiggly line attached to it. What is this called, and ...
1
vote
3answers
59 views

Is there a term to describe an augmented second as a step or tone instead of an interval?

Typically when describing a scale its very typical to describe the pattern in terms of semitones and tones or half steps and whole steps as follows: A major scale is a diatonic scale. The sequence ...
3
votes
2answers
372 views

Open/Close Position Chords: What I am missing?

Working through Hindemith's harmony I encountered the following diagram of all the valid positions for a C-Major chord in strict four-part writing. I am befuddled as to why the third chord in the ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

What is double about the double bass?

One of the most common (English) names for the contrabass, is 'Double Bass'. I can understand the other names for it, like 'Upright bass', 'Acoustic String Bass' etc, but what is double about it and ...
4
votes
2answers
64 views

Why is 1/128th note's prefix “semihemidemisemi”?

I've searched throughout the Internet, and so far they only states the fact that 1/64th note is named "hemidemisemiquaver" and 1/128th note is "semihemidemisemiquaver", with no mention why the prefix ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is the 2nd note of a chord called major third?

On a piano, the root note of the C major chord is referred to as 1. The second note played is E, which is actually the fifth key when starting at C. Not 3? Yes this makes senses to call it a 3 when ...
2
votes
2answers
55 views

What is such deviation and reconciliation called?

Can anybody please suggest what it is called when different instruments that play in an agreement to the melody, suddenly deviate from each other by couple of notes creating an asymmetry and then ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Do different instruments playing single notes simultaneously form a chord?

Wikipedia says about chords: A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. The Glossary of musical terms by naxos.com defines a ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

In traditional (tonal) harmony, how is the word “sonority” used?

In traditional harmony, I have heard the word "sonority" used sometimes freely in a way to describe harmonic structures or harmonic systems. However, in my experience the word was used somewhat ...
2
votes
2answers
820 views

What is first chair?

I am under the impression that first chair is the seat reserved for the best player of a particular instrument. Second chair would be reserved for the second best. Is that all there is to it? Or does ...
4
votes
4answers
214 views

Is there a term that describes straight 8ths / 16ths vs swing?

I'm a student and have been playing exercises that are either straight 8ths, swing 8ths, straight 16ths or swing 16ths. I'm wondering if there's a term for these different rhythms. If used in a ...
2
votes
2answers
118 views

What is the name of and how to notate a “tremolo in random order”?

Given a chord, I can play its notes in random order (usually fast) for full note's duration. It's not an arpeggio, because arpeggios have ascending or descending order; and arpeggio ends when all its ...
2
votes
2answers
86 views

What pitch notation terms are used in Britain?

Is it Scientific pitch notation or Helmholtz pitch notation or something else entirely? I'm writing a not-so-short story set in a conservatory, and I'm a bit over my head with terminology, and it ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

What is this kind of singing called?

I'm not quite sure how to describe it, the genre is swing if that helps. Please see the link below which starts at around 3 minutes in:
3
votes
2answers
302 views

How are note durations named in the British system?

This looks like a dupe of Why are notes named the way they are? but it isn't. I want to know about rhythm. I understand that in the international (British) system, a breve is what we Americans call a ...
6
votes
6answers
233 views

Which time signatures are associated with particular types of music?

A waltz is always played in 3/4 time, but are there any other types of music that are associated with specific time signatures?
4
votes
1answer
85 views

What is an orchestra “reading session”?

On orchestra calendars I sometimes see events called "reading sessions", such as this one: Pittsburgh Symphony 11th Annual Reading Session What is a "reading session" and how does it differ from a ...
1
vote
2answers
396 views

Scale, Heptatonic Scale, Diatonic Scale, Major Scale

A scale with 7 notes, in an octave, is called a Heptatonic Scales. Heptatonic scales are further divided based on tone and semitones arrangements. If a Heptatonic scale have five tones and two ...
2
votes
4answers
117 views

Is the bass line accompaniment in a song classed as its own melody / voice?

Lets take Fur Elise as an example. Would we class the left hand accompaniment as a melody in its own right? If this is so, would this be considered contrapuntal writing?
1
vote
3answers
51 views

Medley in musicals

Terminology: Toward the end of musicals, it is common to play a medley of previous tunes. Often they are interwoven. Does this kind of medley have a specific name?
7
votes
3answers
521 views

Is there a term for music composed of everyday sounds?

Is there a term for music composed of everyday sounds (animal calls, cars honking, etc.) that are timed just right to sound like music together? (I hope this isn't off-topic here)
5
votes
3answers
832 views

What is the proper name of the dash symbol over a note and how to play it

Can anyone specify the name of the particular symbol above the crotchet? According to Wikipedia it's called a Tenuto but my teacher said it's called a "dash". Which one is correct? Or are both names ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

What is meant by “Top-End” and “Bottom-End”?

When guitarists describe the sound of their guitars, a lot of terms are used. What does a guitarist mean when they talk about top and bottom end?
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the name for the style of guitar on Reggae songs

I'm wondering if there's a word for the style of guitar on most Reggae songs, when they play chords on the upper strings and mute them after. I would love to know if there's a word for that, that ...
18
votes
3answers
989 views

What is the term for a song without a tempo?

I have a song that is just acoustic guitar/vocals/and cello and I don't want to give it a tempo because I enjoy the way it sounds just played at the tempo of whatever emotion I have or venue I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Can a motif be found outside of a phrase?

Can motifs be found outside of phrases, like by itself? Or do you think that would actually make that "motif by itself" act like a phrase in it's own right?
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Term & abbreviation for number of tones or notes per octave - independent of temperament or intonation

In the context of characterizing a completely arbitrary instrument or piece of world music, when trying to describe the number of notes or tones per octave we tend quickly to get grounded in notions ...
9
votes
2answers
122 views

What is the difference between temperament and intonation?

We talk of equal temperament but just intonation. From wikipedia, tempering is described as "the process of altering the size of an interval by making it narrower or wider than pure." where ...
5
votes
1answer
396 views

Are there any other common names for what I've heard called a “Crossover Guitar”

That is to say, a nylon (or gut, I guess) guitar that has certain features usually associated with a steel stringed acoustic. I'm talking about Spanish guitars with a thin neck, often with an ...
4
votes
1answer
132 views

What is it called when a violinist quickly bows all strings in an 'arpeggio-like' flourish?

You can hear this 'arpeggiating' flourish in Heifetz's 'Last Recital' during Strauss's Sonata for Violin & Piano here (already cued to 45:48) and (in case you prefer animated movie soundtracks ...
1
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2answers
258 views

What does “7/8 3/4 13/16 alternating bar groove” mean?

On Twitter this morning I saw someone challenge the electronic musician Deadmau5 in this fashion: @deadmau5 challenge: 7/8 3/4 13/16 alternating bar groove. Must be listenable. He produced this ...
2
votes
3answers
97 views

What is the difference between (guitar) articulation and dynamics, and how do they relate?

I have been looking into articulation and dynamics over the past week, primarily focused on guitar (but I'm sure any learning musician can benefit from this regardless of your instrument). I believe I ...
3
votes
1answer
371 views

What is a hypermeter?

I understand both the terms polymeter and polyrhythm, but when songs from bands such as Meshuggah are discussed the term 'hypermeter' keeps popping up. Can someone please explain?
7
votes
2answers
576 views

What is the name of the symbol like a combination of a mordent and f?

The Photo attached has a quaver marked with a red rectangle. Τhere is a symbol on that quaver that I do not recognize. It looks like a mordent but it's clearly different from one. Can anyone tell me ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

What are guitar dynamics?

Good evening folks! I have a question this time about dynamics. Now I know that volume is considered part of 'dynamics'. But I'm wondering what else the term "dynamics" encompasses. Does guitar ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
8
votes
1answer
741 views

What is this called? Why is it allowed?

"Golden Train" by Justin Nozuka (YouTube link below) is in the key of Ab major. However he uses a Cb major chord throughout the song, which is not in the key of Ab major. It sounds good and works ...
3
votes
2answers
327 views

What's the name for a four, or five note chord?

A triad is the most used set of notes making a chord. Obviously it's 3! However, there must be a word/ term for a set of 4 notes - as in maj 7th, or min 6th chord, and maybe a different one for a set ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

Name for same-note legato without the pedal

I am drawing a complete blank for the name of a particular technique for piano I learned a while ago, and I haven't the time to dig through my books to find it... A connecting technique for playing ...