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

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5answers
2k 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?
10
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5answers
8k 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.
10
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2answers
480 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 ...
2
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2answers
44 views

What do you call the melodic pattern with 3 notes?

I've noticed that in most, nearly all, popular music, the part that the singer sings usually follows the same pattern. Each bar has an emphasized note, and the same three notes are repeated in a ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Chord Melody vs Chord Solo: Are these terms interchangeable?

When I read any descriptions of either term, it generally explains the process of harmonizing the melody line as the highest note of a chord voicing. I have noticed that when I see something called a ...
5
votes
1answer
107 views

Word for part of a beat

I'm writing an article describing the musical tradition of a particular culture, but I'm at a loss for general terms for durations shorter than a beat. Simple prolation (such as 2/4 or 3/4) divides a ...
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3answers
34k views

What are the differences between tone, note and pitch?

I was wondering what differences are between "tone", "note", and "pitch"?
6
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3answers
383 views

What does the indication 9 7 mean?

I' m studying classical harmony, and on the chapter with the V9, I came upon this numbered bass: What does 9 7 mean? I know that it includes the 9th, but why is there the 7th there? Does it tell me ...
0
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3answers
82 views

Is there a name for this type ascending inversions of a repeated chord?

I was messing around on one of my guitars one day and stumbled upon this interesting ascending progression. I ended up writing a song using the progression even though I wasn't even sure what the ...
7
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3answers
779 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 ...
2
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2answers
48 views

Is there a name for a piece of music that wanders about in tempo?

There are some pieces of music that work very well when played without keeping a consistent tempo, in popular music I'm thinking of songs such as Colorblind by Counting Crows or the intro to Shanghai ...
9
votes
4answers
657 views

What is it called when a music has two concurrent tempos

I've recently watched a BBC documentary about the history of music and recall an episode where they talk about music that has two distinct tempos (and possibly time signatures) at the same time for ...
2
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1answer
52 views

Is there a name for “slapping” a hammond organ?

Just wondering if there was a technical name for the keyboard "slap" technique found here at around 4:00ish: ...
9
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2answers
379 views

Is there a term for a chord progression that chromatically ascends or descends an octave?

I've noticed a pattern in music that is very interesting where a progression will start with one chord and chromatically ascend or descend until the starting chord is reached again. For example: a ...
2
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4answers
130 views

Is there a word can I use to express the fact that a piece of music has no notes in?

I was wondering if there was a word to describe a (lack of) tonality of a piece of music - or section of a piece of music - to the extent that it is without any identifiable notes? A couple of ...
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4answers
3k views

(1/√π)/√⅔ as a time signature?

I recently found this article on wikipedia about lists of musical works in unusual time signatures and the first unusual time signature is (1/√π)/√⅔. I looked up the piece that was listed as having ...
2
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4answers
125 views

Is there a term for learned “perfect” pitch?

When I was about 11 years old, my music teacher tried to test me and started playing notes on the piano, expecting me to name them. I knew he was trying to see if I had perfect pitch, but I got them ...
12
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5answers
720 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 ...
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
987 views
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5answers
290 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: ...
8
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2answers
299 views

What is meant by a “release”?

In a Tom Cosm video tutorial on making beats in Ableton Live, he states (12:20): See, we have that kind of suck now. That's another kind of tension thing. I find with these kind of tension ...
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vote
1answer
17 views

What is the difference between splicing and superimposition?

In music editing, what is the difference between these two terms? Both involve overlaying some track onto another, but I don't see the difference, even though I am told by my professor there is one. ...
9
votes
2answers
667 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 ...
12
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3answers
305 views

Is there a name for this sort of ambiguity with respect to the rhythm of a piece, and/or is this a recognized technique in composition?

If you listen to the first 40 seconds or so of Veridis Quo by Daft Punk, you'll probably feel like you have a pretty good idea of the beat of the song, each of the chords starting on the first beat of ...
2
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3answers
673 views

In a song in G major the sound F appears and sounds good. Is there a name for such a phenomenon?

The song "Misty Moisty Morning" by Steeleye Span is in a major key. My knowledge of music theory is fragmentary so I may have gotten it wrong but I believe it's true. I don't remember which key it is ...
8
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2answers
118 views

Is there a name for this: text syncopates otherwise unsyncopated vocal music?

There's an interesting musical phenomenon in "O Virgo Splendens" (14th century, in the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat) as it is consistently interpreted across all editions I have ever encountered. The ...
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1answer
125 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 ...
6
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1answer
121 views

How does one analyze tricky time shifts?

It can be hard to analyze time changes if one isn't used to odd rhythms. If we take a section of the track Divine Moments of Truth by Shpongle as an example, since it's changing timing several times ...
5
votes
1answer
34 views

What's the Italian musical term for “in minuet steps”?

I am writing down some choir music in which, beginning at a certain point, the bass starts to sing continuous eighths in a particular manner: the first eighth is tied to the second one, but the second ...
14
votes
1answer
538 views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have hear the term Neapolitan 6th a quite few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
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4answers
295 views

Is there a word for a type of song about a 'thing'?

Is there a word for a song about a noun, object, or a specific person? I was reading that an ode expresses an emotion, but if I had a song about coffee, what could it categorized as? Edit: Also, ...
5
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3answers
450 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 ...
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4answers
2k views

What is “groove”?

How's possible to trigger it? 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"? Please do not ...
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4answers
811 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 ...
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4answers
36k 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?
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vote
1answer
55 views

What's the term for speaking fast in a verse

Question: Is there any term for the singing style of saying a lot of words very fast in a verse, as if you tried to squeeze what are clearly too many words in that verse? Is it just called rapping? ...
4
votes
3answers
437 views

What is it called when singers very rapidly change pitch while singing the same syllable of text?

I have been wondering whether there is a term for the technique singers use when they sing one syllable of text over a large number of different notes very quickly. There are examples of this in ...
13
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1answer
9k 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 ?
2
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1answer
94 views

What does “I Solisti Veneti” mean?

What does Vivaldi mean by "I Solisti Veneti"? What does the title mean? There doesn't seem to be a translation I could find of.
3
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1answer
1k views

What does “1 x Tacet” mean?

What does 1xTacet mean? Does it mean "play the following in 1st round only"?
5
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2answers
438 views

What does “Open Vamp” mean?

Playing the trumbone in BRAZIL from S.K.Russel and Ary Barroso a few weeks ago i fell over the sign "Open Vamp" in the trombone 2 part (in bar 10). Please help: what does this mean and how to play ...
4
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1answer
1k 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 ...
12
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5answers
5k 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 ...
13
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5answers
365 views

What is the definition of 'playing in the pocket'?

The phrase 'playing in the pocket' is used sometimes, in jazz, hip hop, funk etc. It sometimes refers to the way a drummer plays, sometimes to how an ensemble works together. I've Googled the term, ...
3
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1answer
57 views

What is a Musician? [closed]

A friend of mine recently asked me a simple question that I had trouble answering myself "What is a Musician?". I had the general idea in my head but I couldn't express it well so I decided to look it ...
6
votes
1answer
367 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
50 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 ...
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2answers
72 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?
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6answers
492 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). ...