key of C.
Symbolism: A method of imbedding hidden messages in
music, by using a
code of numbers based on which notes are used, their durations,
subdivision, etc--whereby the composer made symbolic reference to specific
persons, places, or things and/or events in some way associated with the
discordant or dissonant sound.
or harmonic ending of a piece, or the
sections or phrases
within a piece. A
chord progression that gives a feeling of
Cadenza: An extended
solo passage, usually near the end of a piece, improvised by the performer, or
sometimes written out by the composer.
Caesura: A sudden silencing of the sound;
a pause or break, indicated by the following symbol: //
Calliope: A type of
organ. This was a
steam organ whereby a set of
whistles sounded as steam flowed through creating
loud sounds, sometimes described as raucous and associated with the circus.
Cambia: A direction found in
scores to change tuning or
a Nonharmonic tone inserted between a
and its resolution.
music, as opposed to church music, or
Camerata: Small art
or music schools dating from the 16th century.
Camminando: Following easily and gently
sign, used to remove a previously applied
"Rule". In counterpoint, a
melody that is repeated exactly by a different voice,
entering a short interval
after the original voice.
Canonic: A term used to describe a
polyphonic style of music in which all the parts have the same
melody but which start at different times.
Cantabile: In singing style
Cantata: "Sung". A multi-movement
baroque sacred or
secular choral composition for concert or church performance
by a choir, sometimes soloists, and an instrumental
Canto Fermo: A
Cantor: The soloist or leader of the
portion of religious liturgy. In the Jewish
service, the soloist who sings the cantillation.
"Fixed Song". A pre-existing
melody, used as the foundation for a
polyphonic work. Used in
counterpoint, Canti Firmus were
usually based on ecclesiastical chant.
Canzona: A song, or
or "in the style of a song".
Carillon: A stationary set of
usually for churches and mounted or suspended in the
Carol: The term was derived from a
French word, carole, a circle dance. In England it was first
associated with pagan songs celebrating the winter solstice. It then developed
into a song of praise and celebration, usually for Christmas.
instrument made of shells, ivory or wood, slightly concave,
held by a connecting cord over the thumb and forefinger and clapped together in
time with the music.
Castrato: An adult male singer with an
soprano voice. In the 16th century, young male singers were castrated in puberty to
prevent voice change from sexual gland maturation. Famous castratos were
Senesino, Nicolini and Carlo Broscni.
Means "little splinter" in Portuguese, from the small wooden
musicians use to
The cavaquinho is a
from Portugal and Brazil with a high
tone and plays an important role for
rhythm playing in
It's also played solo in
morna and coladeira
music. When Portuguese sailors took this small, four stringed
to Hawaii it
became known as the ukulele.
C clef: A
usually centered on the first line (soprano
clef), third line (alto
clef), fourth line (tenor
clef), or third space (vocal
tenor clef) of the
staff. Wherever it
is centered, that line or space becomes
middle C. A
that indicates which line represents C on a
staff, as opposed to a
clef, or an
keyboard built like a
Glockenspiel whereby keys
activate a hammer to strike a metal plate producing
Mustel patented it in Paris in 1886 after his father constructed it.
Cello: A four stringed
instrument of the
family, played while held between the knees also called the Violoncello. The
is shorter and thicker than one used to play violin. It was developed in the
1500's and plays an octave
Cello Piccolo: A small 18th century
version of the full size cello.
Celtic Harp: Also referred to as an
ancient small clarsach. It is different from the usual orchestral
harp because of its brass strings vs. gut or nylon. Its
sound is similar to bell
Ceterone: A large
with an extended peg box and a number of additional unstopped
strings made of wire.
Chalumeau: The chalumeau was an early
version of the clarinetto, and later, the
Clarinet. It uses a single reed and is
cylindrical in shape, hollow inside and, initially was without keys. A family of
instrument makers in Nuremberg added keys (three) in 1700 and the hole by the
mouthpiece to allow over-blowing.
Music for small
Chamber Organ: An
organ small meant for
use in small rooms. It has a single
keyboard and four to seven stops.
Chance music: Aleatoric
drum, made in an hour
glass shape. The heads are 16 inches diameter and held horizontally to play. A
different skin covers each drum, cowhide on the left and horsehide on the right.
The latter is played with a bamboo striker.
Chanson: A song,
usually secular. This term is usually applied to works composed during the
Renaissance periods, though many
twentieth-century composers have also applied the term to their own works.
Cheng: Also spelled zheng and is originally from China. It is a half tube
instrument. Updated versions have 14 to 24 strings divided by moveable
bridges. It is much like the Japanese Koto in playing technique.
"Church". Church music, as opposed to
music, or camera.
Chimes: A set of
bells tuned to
hit with a hammer. Sometimes the
bells are the same size but of differing
Chitarra Battente: An Italian form of
Guitar from the 17th and 18th centuries. It was plucked with a plectrum over its
five courses of strings in medieval
had a deep body and
instrument is similar to
the lute but is large and tuned for
bass range. It is from
16th century Italy. According to documents it was tuned with the first two
courses an octave lower than
pitch and with seven or
eight contrabasses tuned diatonically.
Chorale: A German
Lutheran hymn -like song/tune characterized by blocked
Chord: A set of
usually three or four, played simultaneously--usually containing a
tones which have a
tonal relationship to that
Chordal: A form of
music in which a single
melody is accompanied by sets of
chords, rather than a
competing counter melody.
by half steps; or pitches used outside of the
scale in which they normally occur.
Chromatic scale: A
scale composed of 12
Cimbalom: This is a Hungarian
built in two sizes. The smaller size is similar to a
Santur of the Middle East.
The larger has a trapeze-like sound box with strings stretched across it and
played with a pair of hammers.
Circle of fifths: The succession of
chords proceeding by
instrument dating to
Middle Ages and related to the
fiddle. Some believe it evolved from the
The citole comes in various shapes made of wood and is plucked.
Cittern : The
Cittern is strung with wire, has a flat back and a pear shaped body and comes in
many sizes. It was most popular in the
Renaissance period and often played
solo. It was played by plucking strings with a quill.
Clappers: Any two or more
in varied forms; marine shells, wood bone and ivory
that when struck together produce a sound. It has been traced to prehistoric
A family of
woodwind instruments using a single reed and is tubular shaped.
Developed in 1690 by J.C. Demer, of the famous
instrument maker of Nuremberg,
after adding two more keys to the popular
soprano Clarinet in B
flat, with the Boehm system of key work and fingering are what we associate most
with the Clarinet today.
Clarino: A 12th century term whereby the highest register of the
Trumpet is played. This
term is also used to describe that style of play.
Classical Era: The
period from the late 1700s to the mid 1820s,
characterized by more rigidly defined musical
forms, increased attention to instrumental
the evolution of the symphony.
Claves: Claves are in the
family, originating in Cuba. Simply two cylindrical hardwood sticks largely used
in Latin America.
popular from the 15th through the 18th centuries. Its rectangular shape has a
keyboard projecting into the longest side. When the player depresses a key, the
tangent, with a small brass blade driven into its end, strikes the string. The
pitch and loudness is based on how much pressure is applied to the key.
Clavicytherium: An upright
thus making the strings and soundboard vertical.
Claviorgan: Since the 15th century, this
term has applied to a keyboard
with strings and pipes. A
or Piano and
Clef: The symbol used
at the beginning of a staff to indicate which lines and spaces represent which
modern practice, only three clefs are commonly used, the
clef or treble clef, the
or bass clef, and the
when used as an alto clef.
voicing technique in which all the parts
involved remain as close together as the
allow, often within a single
Clusters: Groups of
that are the interval of a
second apart from one another.
of a composition. An added ending.
Col, coll', colla: With or
Colascione: A plucked
over a long narrow neck and a lute shaped body. Dates back to the 17th century.
Music formed in the "cook
pot" of the European and African influences of the Cape Verde Islands.
"Coloring". Elaborate coloration of the
melodic line, usually by a
Comic Opera: An
with light-natured music, comedy, and a happy ending. In contrast to
Common Chord: A
chords composed of a
root, third, and
Common Time: 4/4
Common Tone: A
note that remains the same between two different
Complete cadence: I-IV-V-I progression.
Composer: A person
who creates (composes) music.
greater than an octave, such as a
Con: (Ita) With.
Con brio: (Ita) With spirit;
Con calore: (Ita) With
(Ita) With force. An instruction to play a
passage with vigour.
Concert : A public
performance of music.
Concert grand piano: The largest of the
Pianos, usually about nine feet long.
Concertante : A
piece for two or more instruments with orchestral
Concertina: Similar to the
hexagonal in shape and a button
keyboard for each hand. It is a free reed,
bellows operated instrument
that is fully
Concertino : A short
concerto. The group of
soloists in a concerto
Concert master: First chair violinist in
Concerto: A piece
for soloist(s) and orchestra.
Concert pitch: The international tuning
pitch -- currently A 440 or 442. The
non-transposing (C) instruments.
Conducting: The directing of a group of
Conductor: The person who directs a group
Con intensita: With intensity.
successive degrees of the
scale; opposite of
Con moto: With
phrase in a
period, in a
Sounds that are in agreement in terms of physical generation of sound; i.e.
sounds found in the harmonic series of a
being harmonized, in contrast to dissonance.
Renaissance term for instrumental
chamber ensembles and for the compositions written for these
Con spirito: With spirit.
Contralto: A female singer who has the lowest tessitura of all the female voices typically in the range between the F below middle C (F3) to two F's above middle C (F5). For an example of a contralto role listen to Angiolina in La Cenerentola by Rossini.
bassoon with a basic
octave below the normal
Contrabass-Clarinet: Plays an
than the bass clarinets. It places a tremendous demand on the
player's lungs to
produce its powerful sonorous
Cornemuse: French version of
using a double reed, conical bore chanter with one or more single reed,
cylindrical bore drones.
instrument in B flat
with a range from
f sharp to
valves it plays similar to a Trumpet, but its
is softer and less brilliant. The mellow sound is achieved through the
use of a wider conical bore and a deeper mouthpiece than the Trumpets
Cornett: A wooden
instrument, lip vibrated
with finger holes and cup shaped mouthpiece. It has a wide conical bore and side
holes for a thumb and six fingers. Three sizes were made: small
treble (corn eltino),
tenor (cornone). It was used to play elaborate parts in
church music of 1550-1700.
Countermelody: A vocal part which
contrasts with the principal melody.
Counterpoint: The combination of two or more melodic lines played against one another. A
horizontal structure built upon competing
melodic lines, rather than a
"Against the tenor". The highest male singing voice, (alto
Cowbells: Large metal
bells with a heavy
clapper, usually with straight rather than flared sides, and nearly rectangular
shape. The type without a clapper is played with a drumstick.
Crab Cannon: A
contrapuntal piece in which one part is identical to another, but backwards.
Crescendo: A gradual
increase in volume.
believe". In the Mass, the third part of the
ordinary. The Creed.
Crotales: Antique cymbals that are small
Crumhorn: Developed in Northern
Italy in the late 15th century and spread to Germany. It became a very important
of the 16th and early 17th century. It is a double reed, wind-cap
instrument with a cylindrical bore. The crumhorn looks like a hockey stick with
finger holes. Made in different sizes: soprano,
bass and extended great
Cue: Indication by the
Conductor or a
spoken word or gesture for a performer to make an entry. Small
indicate another performer's part. Music occurrence in a film.
Cut time: 2/2
forms made up of complete
movements placed in
contrast to each other. eg:
, suite, etc.
Cycle of fifths:
which will lead us back to... the original
note but at a different
octave. See also
send me any additional words together with the