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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

7
votes
4answers
756 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?
0
votes
1answer
47 views

What musical form is Michael Nyman's 'The Heart Asks Pleasure First'? [closed]

What musical form is Michael Nyman's 'The Heart Asks Pleasure First'? I wondered if it could be thematic or perhaps a variational form? I'm not too sure... Any help is appreciated!
4
votes
2answers
70 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
44 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
39 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
85 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".
9
votes
2answers
529 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 ...
14
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
91 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
99 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
58 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
159 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
345 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
94 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
73 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
97 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
61 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
297 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
424 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
723 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
2k 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
454 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
117 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
632 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
7k 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
87 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)
8
votes
4answers
2k 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
96 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
131 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
175 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
92 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
1k 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
305 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
2k 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
501 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
223 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
3k 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
74 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
48 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
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?
3
votes
4answers
356 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
195 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
96 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
27k 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
1k 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
121 views
9
votes
5answers
963 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
83 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 ...
23
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?