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43

A pitch is a particular frequency of sound, for example 440 Hz. Wikipedia goes into a lot of detail about how pitch is subjective, and frequency is objective; the frequency that you think you hear (the pitch) might not be the real frequency at all, due to overtones (see below) and other factors. You can read that article for more details, though for our ...


30

This type of modulation is sometimes jokingly called "truck driver's gear change". It's supposed to add excitement due to the rising pitch but it's been done to death so now it became just a bad cliche.


25

Just featuring. This is used when there is an invited artist on a track. It is not restricted to music. It was used on film and show billboards. You could also translate this (depending on context, select as many options as appropriate) by with the (exceptional/gracefully ...


23

I think the author of that Wikipedia page has rather misinterpreted Nancarrow's title page for the Study (linked on Roland Bouman's comment to the question). (1/√π)/√⅔ refers to a tempo ratio between two voices, not a time signature. Nancarrow was rather obsessed with canons. The canon is a form where multiple voices each play the same music at some time ...


23

Tempo primo, or Tempo 1ᵒ means “at the same tempo as the piece started”.


23

I feel like I've already at least partly answered this question here. But I'll endeavor to add more here. First of all, you aren't quite right in your description of the note-naming system. There are seven letters, and every one of these can be sharped or flatted: A♭, A, A♯ B♭, B, B♯ C♭, C, C♯ D♭, D, D♯ E♭, E, E♯ F♭, F, F♯ G♭, G, G♯ It's just that many ...


22

The term you are looking for is A piacere (It.). This basically means that the piece should be played at the performers discretion with regard to tempo and rhythm. Literally, "at pleasure".


22

Tempo 1 or Tempo I instructs a performer to return to the first tempo of a movement or piece of music, where there has been a different tempo marking since the first marking. The marking Tempo Primo is also used. It is the equivalent, on a larger scale, of an a tempo marking following a rit. or rall. marking.


21

It is so called because B♭ is the 7th note of the C dominant scale (also known as the Mixolydian scale). The 5th is known as the dominant, because it is the "most important" interval (among other things, it's the first harmonic other than the octave). However, try to forget the "English" meaning of the word "dominant" -- otherwise you might expect C to be ...


20

NC (or N.C.) is short for "No Chord". It means that you should only play the indicated notes or melody, and not try to infer or add a chordal accompaniment. This is as opposed to the chord symbols that you probably find everywhere else than where the N.C. notation is. See for example http://dictionary.onmusic.org/terms/2344-no_chord (Although their example ...


20

The name for the noise you're hearing is "string noise". It is caused by the fingertips scraping across the round-wound strings of the instrument when the hand changes from one position to another.


19

Counterpoint is a type of polyphony with certain restrictions on form. For instance, contrapuntally organized music focuses on melodic interaction between multiple independent voices rather than harmonic interaction. In other words, chords occur as a result of coincident notes in multiple melodic lines rather than as a primary textural element. Other forms ...


19

The naming of groups does indeed come mostly from Latin, sometimes with Italian influence. The etyomologies for the first nine are: Number Group name Latin Italian Meaning 1 solo solus solo "alone" 2 duo duo due "two" - this is the Latin word 3 ...


18

I'd further qualify what ledfloyd has said: headroom defines the level you can obtain before the signal starts "clipping", that is: before the peaks begin to flatten out and resemble a square wave (the sound of which we call OD/distortion). Once your signal's clipping, not only does it distort, it compresses somewhat as well (due to the fact that you get ...


18

It really depends on context. It could be an Am6, but this is an unlikely inversion, so probably not. It could be an F#m7b5, especially if followed by some form of B7, where it would serve as a II in E, probably E minor. For other functions of half-diminished chords, see Wikipedia: Half-diminished Seventh Chord. It could also be a rootless D9 voicing with ...


18

I assume it's french "si l'on veut" - "at one's pleasure" - "ad libitum". It means that the performer may decide freely playing the triples as written or to octavate them (as IMHO it isn't a slur but a 8va bracket).


18

A session musician is a "gun for hire". They get hired to put down parts in different studio sessions, hence the name. It is required to quickly learn parts in a lot of different styles and settings; they are likely to encounter more different tunes than most other musicians. In your quote, B major is considered unusual enough that the casual player, or ...


18

In Printed Music In typeset music, time signatures are usually not written with a line between the numerator and denominator (at least no more of a line than is already there). In Text However, when writing text about music, it is an acceptable convention to use a slash to separate the numerator and denominator. See A Style and Usage Guide to Writing ...


17

"Groove" has to do with taking a strict metronomic beat and then striking certain notes in each measure either slightly ahead of, or slightly behind, the strict metronomic beat. In a rock music groove, for instance, the dominant beats in 4/4 time are beats 2 and 4. The notes on those beats would be sounded in strict, unwavering time. The "groove" would be ...


17

It's called a rastrum. The rastrum came into use in preparing copper-plate engravings for music printing. It was simply a fork that one dragged across the plate to "score" the surface. Rastrum is Latin for rake. As for constructing such a tool samizdat (DIY), I see potential in a paperclip, 5 ballpoint refills, and a pair of chaining pliers. I'll say ...


17

I've studied music in both the US and the UK (piano lessons in the UK at age 14, majored in piano in the US), and bar and measure are used interchangeably in both in my experience. Jazz and blues musicians tend to say "bar" more often than "measure": 12-bar and 16-bar blues, for example. Also, you'd never hear a jazz musician say "He stepped on four of my ...


16

Terminology Every sound is composed of one or more sine waves. From that group of sine waves, the one with the lowest frequency is called the fundamental, every other sine wave above that one is called an overtone. Overtones that are integer multiples of the fundamental are called harmonics. The fundamental is considered a harmonic, the first harmonic, ...


16

It is a Major triad built on the lowered 2nd scale degree. It's usually in first inversion, hence the "6th" part of the name. So if I'm in C-minor, the Neapolitan 6th (sometimes analyzed as N6 or bII6) would be a Db-major triad, probably with the F in the bass. They are chromatic harmonies, and their primary function is to go to V. EDITED TO ADD: There is a ...


15

fff is pronounced fortissimo possibile or forte fortissimo ff is pronounced fortissimo f is pronounced forte mf is pronounced mezzo-forte mp is pronounced mezzo-piano p is pronounced piano pp is pronounced pianissimo ppp is pronounced pianissimo possibile or piano pianissimo More than three p's or f's are rarely rarely used. Their only purpose is to note ...


15

In many computer applications referring to pitches with their MIDI number is useful. If you want to be physical about it, you could use the frequencies in Hertz. Also, scientific pitch notation may provide a more human interpretable way of unambiguously identifying notes. (Helmholtz notation is similar, but potentially less useful due to its use of ...


14

Sure is! These are called Intervals. It has to do with the number of "Scale Degrees" that separate two notes - basically, the number of notes you have to move through the scale from the first note to reach the second note (including the note you started on). These are worded "Second", "Third", "Fourth", "Fifth", "Sixth", "Seventh", "Octave" (Octave ...


14

As Bob mentions, this can be described as a descending chromatic bass line. If descending a fourth, from tonic to dominant, this can also be called a "Lament Bass". As a technique, it dates back at least to the early Baroque Era (famously used in Dido's Lament, that character's dying aria from Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and also in Bach's Crucifixus ...


13

When a group of musicians is playing together, a solo is a portion of the song or concert that features one of the musicians in particular, be it the guitarist, the drummer, a sax player, etc. In a chorus setting, even a vocalist singing on his own is considered to be singing a solo. The solo can be a portion of a song, or it can be an entire portion of ...


13

Phrasing is how we take a series of notes or chords, and change them from mechanically repeating them into something that is alive and sounds fresh. As we learn to play we concentrate first on getting the chord fingerings right, and playing them at the right time in the measure. As we progress we learn to relax, to let the timing breathe and occasionally ...


13

Small ensembles in the pop and folk idiom can all go by the term of band; this answer will focus on what are referred to as "large ensembles." In the jazz context, the name of orchestra was historically applied in order to give credence to groups that would otherwise have been marginalized by the cultural mainstream and racism. That term has now been ...



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