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

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8
votes
3answers
327 views

What does Grt. and Sw. mean in this organ score?

I've come across a piece of sheet music for an organ and I was just curious what the Grt. marking above measure 1 and 17 means and what the Sw. marking above measure 9 means. I've seen it before in a ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a groove?

How is possible to "trigger" a groove? Is there a technical reason for the groove to happen? Is it just when you stuble across any kind of rhythm / melodic progression interaction that "moves"? ...
10
votes
4answers
420 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
55 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".
11
votes
1answer
107 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, ...
11
votes
5answers
604 views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

What are horogram (sic) 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
6k 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
66 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)
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the difference between genre and style?

Is there anybody in world who know what's the difference between genre and style in music? In wikipedia there are articles: list of music genres and list of music styles, but when we will go to ...
1
vote
1answer
66 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
106 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
158 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
50 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
822 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
242 views

What does “gajo” mean as a musical directive on sheet music

One of the pieces in the current ABRSM Grade 7 violin pieces is Moritz Moszkowski's Spanischer Tanz No. 2 from his Spanische Tänze Op. 12. At the start of bar 49 is the marking "gajo". According to ...
12
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
492 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
190 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
2k 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
66 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
47 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 ...
5
votes
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?
3
votes
4answers
340 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
155 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: ...
6
votes
2answers
88 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?
10
votes
4answers
22k views

What exactly does “feat.” means?

Does anyone know what does the "feat." means exactly? Some song titles have the word "feat" in it, for example "I wanna love you clean Akon feat. Snoop dog". What does "feat." means?
9
votes
4answers
824 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
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: ...
9
votes
5answers
870 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
22
votes
9answers
4k 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?
11
votes
2answers
141 views

What is the difference between a musical and a rock opera?

I've seen multiple works from Andrew Lloyd Webber referred to as "musicals" in some sources, and "rock operas" in others. For most people it seems the two terms are completely interchangeable. Is ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is the melody sometimes played a half tone higher a few last times?

For example, in this song: Letter to the lord by Irma, a melody can be heard around 0:50 Then, at the end of the song, it is played something like a half tone higher around 2:33 Did I hear ...
27
votes
2answers
23k views

What are the differences between tone, note and pitch?

I was wondering what differences are between "tone", "note", and "pitch"?
7
votes
3answers
155 views

Term for a note in a chord, versus a note in a key scale?

Let's say we're talking about a song in C, and at some point in that particular song, we happen to be playing an E minor chord. In this case, Em is known as the iii chord in the key C major, because ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

What is “Tempo 1”?

I've seen adagio, and other names, but I see in classical score that indicates "Tempo 1" in section C. What does it mean?
2
votes
2answers
326 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
249 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: ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

Why are instrumental tracks also called “minus one tracks”?

Why are instrumental (non-vocal) tracks also called "minus one tracks"? What does it mean and how did this term come about?
3
votes
3answers
147 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
192 views

Is there a term for non-natural notes?

Is there a term for the group of non-natural notes, i.e. notes altered with sharps or flats?
14
votes
1answer
740 views

What does “silonveut” mean?

I am typesetting a Cambini Quartet. In the score for the cello part I see the following phrase: What does it mean? It appears to say "silonveut". This is the context (I don't think the piece is ...
4
votes
2answers
102 views

Velocity sensitivity or attack

I have a confusion about the two concepts of velocity sensitivity and attack. Considering these two apps: ...
20
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
254 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. ...
8
votes
1answer
236 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
172 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
532 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.