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

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25
votes
6answers
18k views

What is the difference between a “band” and an “orchestra”

Growing up, my father listened to big band music. These bands are usually referred to as "Glenn Miller and his orchestra" Or "Paul Schaeffer and the CBS Orchestra". Is it that an orchestra has ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there any real difference between Counterpoint and Polyphony?

From what I understand, they both kind of refer to the same thing. Why the need for 2 terms?
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
71k views

What exactly does “feat.” mean?

Does anyone know what does the "feat." mean exactly? Some song titles have the word "feat" in it, for example "I wanna love you clean Akon feat. Snoop dog". What does "feat." mean?
9
votes
3answers
8k views

Are there any classification systems that categorize music by mood?

Recently I had the idea to categorize my digital music library with mood tags. Thinking about these moods, I figured that it's not so easy to come up with a complete list that covers all possible ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

Is there any difference between a soprano trombone and a slide trumpet?

Occasionally, I will see people arguing about whether an instrument should be called a "soprano trombone" or a "slide trumpet" yet I have never seen any instrument designated as one as being any ...
8
votes
6answers
471 views

English translation for “rubato”

Most italian musical indications and concepts are easy to translate in one or two words (largo, presto, crescendo, ...) but it is difficult to find even an approximation to rubato. Any suggestions?
10
votes
4answers
953 views

Identify this chord: F# (bass) + C + E + A

Would someone be able to identify this chord for me? A E C F# - bass I'm sure it's obvious but I can't seem to figure it out. It's a song in the key of C major. A C major chord precedes it and ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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
2answers
626 views

What do they mean by 'This amp has a lot of headroom'?

Do they mean how loud it will go without getting distortion?
4
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

What is a ghost note ?

What is a ghost note and how is it different than holding the previous note ?
4
votes
6answers
1k 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: ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

What is econo-picking?

Is this simply a synonym for sweep picking or is it something else?
14
votes
1answer
4k views

What does it mean to play in an 'arpeggiated' style on the guitar?

I sometimes hear a guitar player described as having an 'arpeggiated' style, such as Peter Buck of R.E.M. I know that an arpeggio is the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 8th of a scale, but exactly what does it ...
12
votes
5answers
8k views

What is “Phrasing” in the context of playing a Solo?

What is meant when a listener says"His phrasing was spot on"- specifically when talking about solo's but sometimes when referring to a pianist "comping". What does it mean when referring to a ...
29
votes
11answers
7k 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?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between “Solo” and “Improvisation”?

How would someone describe the differences that make up the two?
11
votes
1answer
128 views

What is the Linear Harmonic Transform?

What is the Linear Harmonic Transform actually?
13
votes
2answers
8k views

What is an “open tuning”?

I know that Keith Richards has been known to use open tunings on some songs, but what is an open tuning exactly and when/why would you use it?
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?