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

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4
votes
2answers
273 views

Velocity sensitivity or attack

I have a confusion about the two concepts of velocity sensitivity and attack. Considering these two apps: http://createdigitalmusic.com/2009/10/going-mobile-...
8
votes
1answer
869 views

The meaning of the word “inversion”

I'm looking for clarity over how to best describe two different meanings of the word "inversion" I have come across. The two different aspects I see are: I have three notes C-E-G. The intervals ...
14
votes
1answer
712 views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have heard the term Neapolitan 6th quite a few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
2
votes
2answers
873 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How to technically differentiate between wind instrument types (definition)

What is the official way to differentiate between a woodwind and a brass instrument? I know it's not about the material that they are made of, but how the sound is produced.
4
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
472 views

Why are two pitches considered a chord?

According to Wikipedia, a chord is any harmonic set of two or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. But I always thought that two notes aren't a chord, they are an interval. ...
11
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
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 ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What does it mean for a sound to be “dirty”?

An effect that many electronic music creators go for is a "dirty bass synth" or something similar. What exactly does this term mean, if it has a precise definition at all? What qualities of a synth ...
12
votes
1answer
223 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, ...
13
votes
4answers
680 views

What is this type of shift called?

In a lot of (usually electronic) music, I notice a section of music that seems to shift up a number of notes and continue with a similar melody in a way that greatly emphasizes the melody. Does this ...
10
votes
2answers
492 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
623 views

What is the word for the panel on a piano that is in front of the keyboard?

Not the part of the piano that typically has the brand name on it, but the piece of wood that is under the keyboard and is in full view of the pianist.
2
votes
1answer
533 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?
11
votes
2answers
568 views

Where did the British names for different note lengths come from?

I was always taught to use a certain set of names for the length of a note, such as crotchet, minim, quaver, and so on. I'm aware though that those terms aren't used as much outside the UK, and that ...
6
votes
2answers
175 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? regards
11
votes
1answer
134 views

What is a “Naturstimme?”

At a recent audition, the conductor of the choral ensemble said that my voice had a Naturstimme-like quality. (The conductor is, of course, German.) However, I can't seem to find a good definition of ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

How does one read very loud or very soft dynamic markings (e.g. ffff, ppp)?

Sometimes, scores contain notations like "fff", which presumably indicates that the section in question should be one dynamic level louder than "ff", or "fortissimo". In my limited musical ...
1
vote
2answers
428 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 ...
21
votes
8answers
27k views

Why is a C7 chord named a dominant seventh chord?

I understand that a C7 chord contains a flattened 7th note in the C major scale, but what specifically makes this a dominant 7th chord? To me there is nothing 'dominant' about taking a note out of ...
10
votes
1answer
200 views

Is it a coincidence that “blue” notes are “chromatic”?

According to the OED: The word "chromatic" has been applied to music with lots of accidentals since at least the 17th century. In the 19th century, a "blue note" was one that was incorrect; starting ...
3
votes
1answer
3k 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 remember,...
13
votes
7answers
18k views

Polymeter vs Polyrhythm

What is the difference between a polymeter and a polyrhythm? Do these words mean anything different for different instruments? PS: I'm a drummer.
6
votes
1answer
180 views

Should barré chords have an acute accent on the E?

I was always taught that it should, but the Wikipedia article doesn't use the accent at all. I'm British — is it an American thing to ignore the accent? I am preparing some content for an ...
4
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
615 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
674 views

The origin of “Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father”

The order of the flats is given by the mnemonic "Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father", and the order of sharps by the reverse ("Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle"). What is the history ...
7
votes
6answers
909 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). ...
4
votes
1answer
90 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.
10
votes
4answers
647 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What should I look for in a recording microphone for personal use?

I was browsing through mics on Amazon and quickly realized I was out of my depth. There are a couple closely related questions I am wondering about: Are there different types of mics for (1) ...
9
votes
2answers
853 views

Common names for sections of a piece of music

Generally, what is is the name for the non-vocal parts of a song that are not interludes or preludes and not a guitar solo or instrumental verse/chorus? For example, right after the acapella vocal ...
4
votes
2answers
325 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
2k views

What does “1 x Tacet” mean?

What does 1xTacet mean? Does it mean "play the following in 1st round only"?
4
votes
3answers
380 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a name for the screeching sound made when changing chords on a guitar?

When listing to the song "The Only Exception" by Paramore (see YouTube), there's a screeching sound when changing chords, which I find quite unpleasant. Question: Is there a name for the ...
4
votes
2answers
507 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
19k views

What does “NC” mean?

On some tabs, I sometimes see a "NC" text on top of the tab. What does it mean ? How should it be played or interpreted ?
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What does “Doubletime feel” mean?

I'm working a new cover song in my band (Volbeat - Sad Man's Tongue), the tab being a PDF file. As I like working with Guitar Pro, I'm copying the tab in that sofware. But when the distortion comes ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

Is there a name or common usage of this piano damper pedal effect?

I've noticed an effect that I use when playing acoustic piano. Play a note or chord staccato, and quite quickly after playing it, press the damper pedal. The effect is rather like an echo which ...
5
votes
1answer
616 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
252 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
399 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
775 views

Are there names for referring to the top or bottom numbers in a time signature?

In a time signature of 3/4 (three by four), what is the name given to the 3 and the 4? I know it in my own language, but can't find the answer for the English equivalent.
4
votes
5answers
419 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: ...
24
votes
5answers
42k views

What is the difference between a riff and a lick?

That's it. I was wondering what is the difference between a riff and a lick. The Wikipedia page for lick is somewhat confusing-- what do you think?