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
524 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
142 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
133 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 symbol"...
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
7k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
730 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 ...
15
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
103 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 A-Bb-C#-D-...
1
vote
2answers
2k 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 can ...
2
votes
3answers
77 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 ...
15
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
77 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
3k 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
244 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
133 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
88 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
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1answer
82 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
355 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
293 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
111 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
127 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?
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3answers
63 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
664 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
976 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
6k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
1k 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
68 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
124 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
413 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
188 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 ...
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vote
2answers
287 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
168 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
864 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
584 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
92 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
752 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
367 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
82 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
157 views

Can Appoggiaturas be doubled or tripled?

I know the basic definition of the nonharmonic tone an appoggiatura is a nonharmonic tone that is approached by skip/leap and then resolves by step in the opposite direction. I've recently heard the ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

What is the sudden sharp pitch increase in Old Country/Rockabilly

You don't hear it much in country music nowadays but what is that technique or term where artists like Johnny Horton and the like make a sudden whoop or yelp at the end of a line (North to Alaska is a ...
7
votes
1answer
315 views

What is the Lydian Chromatic Concept?

I've recently found out about George Russell's book the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization and I've been curious about exactly what the Lydian Chromatic Concept is and how it can be used ...
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vote
4answers
244 views

What is this orchestration technique called?

I don't know what's the name for this technique; it's used in most films and TV shows. I think it's done to create tension, shock or horror. I hear it when something bad happens, happened or is ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What's the difference between arpeggio and broken chord?

I always thought of them as synonyms, but googling around found that some people see them as different, with the distinctions changing depending on who you ask. Is there a formal distinction between ...
9
votes
2answers
551 views

What is a “Stable” Chord?

What makes a chord "stable"? What makes a chord "unstable"? Just saw this in my piano book, but it doesn't really explain what it means.
4
votes
3answers
211 views

what is the correct musical term for arpeggios where the notes are left ringing?

Hi I am wondering what the correct term is for play a sequence of notes where you leave all the notes ringing together. I'm not talking about rolled chords, I'm talking about having a larger amount of ...