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

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6
votes
1answer
405 views

Is there a name for a minor scale with a raised 3rd or a major scale with a lowered 6th and 7th?

I've noticed a pattern in chord progressions and melodies where I like to use the b7 and b6 chords with a major tonic and there are several modern songs that like to use this pattern as seen in a ...
4
votes
1answer
65 views

Meaning of marking “armonici”

In particular, looking at the cello part from the 1924 Casa Ricorda edition of Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances (Universal Music Co). Third movement, there's a divisi with both parts playing a G ...
2
votes
2answers
80 views

Extended melodic structures

I was reading a description of the musical "light in the piazza" and it described the music as having "extended melodic structures" Does anyone know what's that means?
6
votes
6answers
612 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). ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the parts of a classical composition?

I'd like to learn the names of the different parts of classical musical compositions as compared to the literary work structure that has a beginning, the part where the plot thickens and the ...
4
votes
2answers
410 views

What does “in position” mean when referring to scored music?

On Justin Sandercoe's site he recommends a flute book for guitarists, this caught my eye: Why a flute book? because most sight reading books for guitar are written for guitarists and are either ...
5
votes
2answers
434 views

What is the terminology for how we identify numbered notes like C4, E3, D6, etc?

Does this system - where C3 is middle C - have a standard name? For instance, is there a wikipedia page which explains this system and if so how is it titled? (note: As mentioned middle C is C4, my ...
0
votes
1answer
84 views

What's dance music and what's the difference from electronic music? [closed]

Sometimes I heard "dance music" which sounds really like "electronic music". What's dance music actually? Some music that makes you dance? If dance music is sub-genre from electronic music, then ...
14
votes
3answers
2k 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?
9
votes
2answers
570 views

Does each note have a more specific name depending on its pitch?

Other than the symbolic identifier for the pitch of the note in sheet music, is there a way to specify the pitch of a note in some other notation or call it by any other name? This would be very handy ...
9
votes
4answers
840 views

Does the line between the time signature have a name?

In a time signature (4/4 for example), does the / have a term or a name?
4
votes
2answers
111 views

What to call finger positions on fretless bass?

Guitarists typically refer to finger positions as “frets.” For example, you can refer to the lowest G on a guitar as “the third fret of the E string.” What’s the analogous terminology for a fretless ...
3
votes
1answer
354 views

What's the difference between “feat”, “artist1 X artist 2”, “artist1 Vs. artist2” and “artist1 & artist 2”?

In songs with multiple artists, I've seen 4 different ways to credit the other artists. 'Feat.', '&', 'X' and 'Vs'. How are they used? (I have no example of 'V', but I've seen it used.)
3
votes
1answer
57 views

What is urgency when referring to music

I've heard commentators call certain songs and artists "urgent" or say the phrase "he plays with such urgency" I have no idea what this describes.
5
votes
2answers
131 views

Is there a more specific name for this instrument than “PVC instrument”?

After hearing a number of covers performed on instruments like the one below, I was wondering if someone has come up with a better name for this instrument than "PVC instrument".
15
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a session musician?

I've heard the term "session musician" in a few books I've read or videos I've seen, in context like, "You probably wouldn't need to really learn B major deeply unless you're a session musician." It ...
2
votes
2answers
164 views

What are the different rhythm styles? Is that the right word?

I remember way back in music class, at the top of the sheet music it would say things like the name of the piece, beats per minute and sometimes it would say something like Style = Swing. What ...
-1
votes
1answer
126 views

What are the parts of a modern song?

I'd like to learn the names of the different parts of modern music. I know there are verse and chorus, solo parts where only a certain instrument or the vocal can be heard, but what are the rest?
7
votes
1answer
209 views

Pattern Identification: Rit. followed by a tempo

I've found what seems to me to be a common musical pattern in several different pieces, and I'm wondering if this pattern has a name. Here's the pattern: the metaphorical musical train is chugging ...
5
votes
2answers
394 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
1answer
184 views

What are horogram patterns and how do they relate to time signatures?

When I was exploring some alternate time signatures, I came across two references in the Wikipedia to "horogram patterns". Now, Google thinks this is a spelling error for hologram, and so searching ...
7
votes
1answer
197 views

Why are 1/2 (or 3/4, etc) violins called that way if they are not 1/2 size?

On the question Do 1/2 size violins sound at normal pitch? I found out that 1/2 violins are actually ~86% of a full size violin. What do the fractions 7/8, 3/4, 1/2 etc for violin sizes represent, if ...
4
votes
3answers
311 views

Is there a name for the dotted eighth - sixteenth rhythm pattern?

I find myself using the dotted eight - sixteenth rhythm pattern/figure a lot and I would like to know if there is a specific name for it. I know the reverse pattern sixteenth - dotted eighth is ...
4
votes
1answer
83 views

What are “sweeping phrases”?

I am studying music, and English is not my first language. In the follwing sentence, what does "sweeping phrases" mean? Does it have a special meaning? "Laitman’s vocal melodies have large, ...
9
votes
2answers
382 views

Correct terminology for chord inversions

I am confused with what I've read in various sources concerning chord notations. Is there a standard notation for chord inversions? As far as I understand, a chord inversion is determined from the ...
6
votes
3answers
969 views

'Fine' at the end of the song

In a lot of music sheets, I've seen that they mark the end of the song with 'Fine' (example: http://www.jazzpla.net/H/Hassansdream.jpg) What does 'Fine' mean? And why is it used to mark the end of a ...
10
votes
4answers
549 views

What's this rhythm called?

I often hear this rhythm in accompaniments in contemporary music: |x---x---x---x---| Beat |--x--x--x--x--x-| Lead 1.:.2.:.3.:.4.:. That is, it's a 4:3 polyrhythm but with a single quarter note ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Name for descending semitones under a repeating musical phrase?

In much contemporary music, especially instrumental guitar music, there is a particular device employed. It involves a musical phrase in which usually one note, often a bass note, descends in one ...
11
votes
1answer
161 views

What does “al primo” mean?

I' m currently playing a sonata from late baroque, which ends with two menuets, minuetto primo and minuetto secondo. Now under the closing repeat mark of menuet two "al primo" is notated. I assume, ...
4
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
267 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)
1
vote
1answer
1k 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
1answer
242 views

What is a coldplay?

I've seen this term used for a number of performances, but I couldn't find a definition for this word. Almost all results on Google lead me to a band named "Coldplay", which is not the one I'm looking ...
7
votes
2answers
205 views

What is the technical term for what the percussion is doing in this song?

In Massive Attack and Burial's collaboration track Four Walls, the percussion in the middle part of the song does something interesting where it shifts around the beat. It can be heard at 6:22 and ...
4
votes
2answers
126 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
8k views

Difference between “Bar” and “Measure”

I was taught musical theory in the UK where I grew up. I was taught what a bar is. In my experience, the terminology "measure" is not used in a musical sense in the UK. Since living in the US, I ...
8
votes
6answers
544 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
374 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the name for a group of five?

The title seems off-topic, and I don't know what to tag. Could anyone edit it? I see group of four is quartet, three is trio, two is duo (?) and one is solo. I see every number has different name. ...
1
vote
3answers
102 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: ...
2
votes
1answer
50 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
417 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
446 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: Nothing is odd for ...
6
votes
2answers
158 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?
9
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
142 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: If you slow it down it becomes a Phil Spector drumbeat. In which other ways can it be precisely described? ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

What would you call all-drum instrumental music?

I'm trying to find the title for music containing all percussion instruments (pianos/xylophones not included) such as drum corps and marching band drum breakdowns. I'd basically like to listen to ...
10
votes
1answer
133 views

Where did the term backbeat come from?

In most modern music in 4/4 beats 2 and 4 are where the snare hits are and are usually referred to as the backbeat. Normally in 4/4 the 2 and 4 beat would not be accented, but the snare hits do just ...
24
votes
9answers
5k views

What is the difference between a “riff” and a “melody”?

How do I tell when a riff becomes a melody, or is it even important to know? Can you construct a song around a riff - what are some suggestions on how to construct a song in that manner?