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

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6
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3answers
1k views

What is the meaning of “playing off the beat” and “playing on the beat”?

I am learning piano from a book and I can't understand the meaning of the phrases "playing on the beat" and "playing off the beat" and the difference between them. Can anyone explain them to me?
6
votes
2answers
3k 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?
6
votes
4answers
341 views

What are the various ways of vocalizing rhythmic figures?

I know of the standard western technique where the beats (quarter notes) are numbered and eighths are vocalized as 'and' and sixteenths are vocalized as 'ee' and 'uh' (One-ee-and-uh Two-ee-and-uh). ...
6
votes
2answers
106 views

Does this rhythm (dotted 8-16 8 8, hot po-ta-to) have a name?

It is used in some earlier songs of Antònia Font: ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Is there a technical term for sad songs with happy lyrics and vice versa?

I'm talking about things like the Pogues "Fairy Tale of New York", an upbeat song with bitter lyrics like Happy Christmas your arse / I pray God it's our last Is there a technical term or ...
6
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2answers
81 views

Name for pedal markings

Is there any name for the inverted V (∧) in pedal markings? Or are they just known as part of pedal markings?
5
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5answers
1k views

What do we call music which is not played on the beat?

What do we call music which is not played on the beat?
5
votes
2answers
144 views

What's it called when a piece of music starts off-beat?

I've noticed that this seems to be some sort of trick music composers have been using more and more of recently. Consider this song for example: ...
5
votes
3answers
158 views

Is there a proper musical term for a piece's “roadmap”?

Band directors and other teachers will colloquially refer to a piece's "roadmap": the flow control commands denoted by repeats, repeat endings, D.C.s, D.S.es, codas, etc. Is there a proper word for ...
5
votes
2answers
407 views

Projecting “Playing ahead/behind/on the beat ” onto tangible concepts

I was trying to tell to my fellow drummer friend, that he should play something behind the beat so that we can experiment some particular song. But then I realized that I have no idea how to translate ...
5
votes
1answer
95 views

What is econo-picking?

Is this simply a synonym for sweep picking or is it something else?
5
votes
1answer
338 views

What are these aspects of song structure called?

In songs, we often have very similar melodies and rhythm patterns being repeated over and over again. The following is an approximate melody of one stanza of Willy O' Winsbury as performed by ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Electronic keyboard terms: Aftertouch vs Pressure-sensitive

I was reading a review of the Akai Miniak which said The 37 half-weighted keys are velocity and aftertouch but not pressure sensitive. I thought aftertouch was MIDI signals of continuing ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What do you call plucking the violin strings with the finger, rather than using the bow?

I was attempting to learn a bit about violin sheet music, and then I wondered if the act of producing sound with the finger or the fingernail had a written notation. I had a hard time finding a video ...
4
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6answers
604 views

Sharp / Flat: Collectively known as property by what name?

If a chord can be said to have a Quality which relates to whether it is major, minor, augmented or diminished then by what name do we call the property of a single note's flatness or sharpness? Note: ...
4
votes
4answers
776 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

What is “classical” guitar?

What exactly is classical music or playing? Some keep on saying this one is classical, that one is not classical. Well, how exactly can I define what is classical or not? I love plucking and do it all ...
4
votes
3answers
488 views

What are some interesting ways notes and chords are spelled in cultures outside of the U.S.?

I've heard that German musicians spell the seventh note of the C major scale with an "H" where an American musician would use a "B". And, for the fourth note of the F major scale, where an American ...
4
votes
3answers
141 views

Is there a term for the practice of “breaking symmetry” in a composition?

Sorry in advance for my incredibly amateur attempt to explain this. I have absolutely no music experience but I have noticed that one of the key to a catchy song seems to be this practice. More ...
4
votes
6answers
674 views

What is a “producer” in hip-hop music?

I was having a look at some hip hop albums on Wikipedia and I noticed that on the track list, there's often a "writer" column and a "producer" column. I can see who the writers are, but what are the ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

The importance of cut time [duplicate]

I have wondered for a while what the purpose of Cut Time (2/2) actual is. While studying music theory I've always been told the reason is to reduce the use of eighth notes and sixteenth notes in a ...
4
votes
2answers
174 views

Musical construction in rock - what does this mean?

Andrew Chester writes (emphasis mine): Western classical music is the apodigm of the extensional form of musical construction. Theme and variations, counterpoint, tonality (as used in classical ...
4
votes
2answers
216 views

Is that a hemiola or what?

I found myself listening to Mumford and Sons' Babel, and my friend and I couldn't quite agree on how to describe the rhythm. I won that battle since my way led to groups of four figures, whereas his ...
4
votes
5answers
245 views

Does an implied tie exist

Is there such a thing as an implied tie? Like some kind of symbol or notation that would specify to hold a note through the duration of all the notes on a pitch as if they were tied together. Edit: ...
4
votes
1answer
603 views

What is it called when near the end of the song there's a section with a deliberately slow tempo?

No, not a final gradual ritardando. It's hard for me to describe. It may only be a thing in musical theater. Here are some examples: 2011 Tony Awards Opening Number (starts around 4:45) "Gee, ...
4
votes
2answers
95 views

Velocity sensitivity or attack

I have a confusion about the two concepts of velocity sensitivity and attack. Considering these two apps: ...
4
votes
2answers
184 views

Name for music that imitates speech

I have searched and asked others for the answer to this but have come up dry: what is the name or technique in music where musical notes approximate/imitate speech? Note that I am not talking about ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

What is the word for 'repeating the tonic at the “end” of spelling a scale?'

I am referring to the practice of repeating the root or tonic of a scale when spelling (not playing) a scale. I recall being told to __ my scale but I cannot remember the word… at all.
3
votes
1answer
291 views

What's the term for the intervals between notes within a scale that produces a chord

I probably described that poorly in the title, and I'm not even sure there is a word for what I'm thinking. Lets say you're playing on just the white keys on a keyboard. C E G is C major, and D F A ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the difference between swing and shuffle?

I am learning piano from a book and I can't understand the difference between swing and shuffle. I have searched, but I still can't understand the difference. Could someone please iterate the ...
3
votes
3answers
135 views

Naming pitch and interval collections

I have a few questions regarding the correct naming of pitch and interval collections. We call an ordered collection of adjacent pitches a scale. For example, (C D E F G A B) is called C major (or ...
3
votes
4answers
333 views

Is there a name for this guitar technique for Paganini's Capriccio #6?

I've spent several years working up Paganini's Capriccio #6 for the violin on the guitar and I wonder if the idea already exists and has a name. For the violin, the piece is a coninuous double-stop ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Figuring out the difference between major and relative minor scales?

I always seem have difficulty determining whether a song is in a major scale, or the relative minor. (the 3rd note back into it, but minor) Lets use the Pokemon theme song for example. As I ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

Melodic Equivalence of a rhyme?

It is very common in most songs with lyrics for the end of a vocal phrase to rhyme with the end of another vocal phrase. It also very common for solo instruments to play the same phrase twice and have ...
3
votes
1answer
518 views

How should staccatissimo be played?

How should staccatissimo be played on Handel, Beethoven, and Liszt pieces? I have read that it is like staccato only shorter, but it seems like it is used when notes should be staccato and accented. ...
2
votes
2answers
313 views

What's the name of an area split by Bar Line (s) called?

What is the unit name of an area split by Bar Line(s) called ? (See the red-circled area in below picture) The translation from my native language to English results in Time Signature . I feel ...
2
votes
3answers
174 views

Is there a less clunky word for a single note or a run of single notes?

Often in music, you see a passage that consists of a sequence of octaves. One can call this series something like a 'run of octaves.' However, if you have run of single notes (not intervals), what ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

Another word for shots

I've been googling for the last 2 minutes and I just can't come up with anything that talks about "shots". Maybe this is a local Toronto term. Here's the definition as I understand it. A shot is when ...
2
votes
1answer
140 views

What is the difference between dolce and cantabile techniques on the piano?

I find it difficult to make dolce (sweetly) and cantabile (singing/songlike) sound different when I'm playing the piano. How should my technique differ from one to the other?
2
votes
2answers
306 views

What is this 4 bar part of music called?

In the song Amie by Pure Prairie League there is a repeated section of muisc that is about 4 bars long(or 2 depending on how you count it). It occurs between every section of music except near the end ...
2
votes
1answer
196 views

Is there a formal name for this type of composition?

So, say there's a musical piece that has the following structure: [A.1] [A.2] [A.3] [A] Where A is a "harmonic theme", in the sense that it's treated as a theme, but its melodic content is contained ...
1
vote
3answers
59 views

What are the terms for beats and a set of beats in a dance?

I'm not native English speaking and not familiar with the technical terms in music. Thus this seems quite hard to Google an answer to... In a dance, like a slow waltz, the count goes: ...
1
vote
2answers
145 views

What is *cuivre* for a trumpet

Cuivre in French means copper, I think. In music it seems to be the name of the family of Brass instruments. Correct me in this if it is wrong. In Sibelius, the trumpet has a property (regulated by ...
1
vote
2answers
155 views

Tonality and Modality together

Tonality and modality form a unit in most music, right? You are in F Major or in D minor etc... Is there a name for the two entities together seen as a unity? I'm working on some musical software ...
1
vote
3answers
187 views

Terminology for sounds and notes

I'm struggling with the terminology for all the concepts related to sounds and notes. Most of the texts I read are not very precise in their usage of different terms, which makes it hard for me as a ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Terminology for tension idioms in composition

As a hobby composer I often reason about the flow of a composition and I often find myself inventing words for what the composition does during a certain passage. E.g. I found that many guitar riffs ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Step to learning the guitar [closed]

One of my main question is what order should I learn things. Like should I learn notes first or chords first as a example. And would it be wise to learn music logic
0
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2answers
272 views

Why is the note name “a” not on any important scale position? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys? The note names are derived from the alphabet, which starts with "a". But why is our note "a" not on any important ...
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4answers
201 views

What is another term for a voice on a synthesizer? [closed]

A musical note or tone usually refers to audio with a fixed frequency. A voice on a synthesiser can denote a note which may have dynamic frequency. What would be an appropriate musical term for ...
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votes
2answers
363 views

Is there difference between Fusion and Hybrid?

In Music Terminology is there difference between Fusion and Hybrid? I was reading a text about Rock music. I bring it here to clarify my question. By the late 1960s a number of distinct rock ...