This is the letter page D of the Musical Dictionary from Classical and Jazz


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Musical Dictionary: D



D: 1. "Deutsch". D numbers are used instead of opus numbers to catalogue works by Schubert

    2. The key of D.

Da capo, D. C.: Return to the beginning. When followed by al Fine it means that you go back to the beginning and end at Fine (the end).. On the other hand if followed by the Coda sign you go back to the beginning and play to the Coda sign, then skip to and play the Coda.

Dal: "From the," "by the."

Dal segno, D. S.: Repeat from the sign..... Frequently followed by al Fine which means that you go back to the sign and end at Fine (the end). If followed by the Coda sign you go back to the sign and play to the Coda sign, then skip to and play the Coda.

Damper pedal:  Introduced in 1783, by the Englishman John Broadwood it is the right pedal on pianos, which raises all the dampers and lets all the strings vibrate without having to hold keys down. Some upright instruments have retained the split damper capability in place of one of the other pedals allowing the performer to choose between raising the upper or lower string dampers.

Dampers: On pianos, the felt mutes that dampen the sound of a sounding string.

Dampening: Muting the note or chord on stringed instruments by using your hand or bow or the damper pedal on pianos. See sul pont.

Darabukkah: A goblet shaped drum made of wood, metal or clay. It is used in the Islamic world. The darabukkah has a single head and is held horizontally on the players thighs.

Deceptive Cadence: A cadence where the dominant tonality resolves to any chord other than the tonic, most especially when it goes instead to the sixth.

Decrescendo:  Gradually softer. Synonymous with diminuendo.

Degree: A note of a scale, usually as identified by number. See second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and octave.

Delicato:  (Ita) Delicately.

Descant: 1. Soprano or tenor voice.
              2. The melodic line or counterpoint accompanying an existing melody.
              3. The upper part of a polyphonic composition.
              4.The highest pitch member of some families of instruments.

Descant Horn: Refers to the high florid part added above the melody of a hymn.

Descant Recorder: Soprano Recorder.

Descant via da Gamba: Treble violin.

Descriptive Music: Program music.

Dessus de Viola: Treble Viola: the highest part.

Development: The elaboration of melodic, thematic, or harmonic progressions in a piece.

Di: Of, with

Diatonic: The notes that occur naturally in a scale, without being modified by accidentals other than in the key signature.

Dies Irae: "Day of Wrath". The sequence for the Requiem Mass.

Didjeridu: After the termites hollow out a dead eucalyptus branch, the Aborigines of northern Australia learned to blow into the end of it creating a rhythmic humming interspersed with tongue and lip movements. Its sound is that of a constant pitch drone over voice sounds which can be superimposed to add more rhythmic patterns.

Diminished: Lowered, or reduced. The term for an interval which has been decreased from the major by two half steps and from the perfect by one half step, e.g. c-a, diminished sixth, or c-g, a diminished fifth. Also used for a triad which has a minor third and a diminished fifth, e.g. c, c-e, g. Or in other words the lowering of a pitch chromatically by one half step.

Diminished Seventh Chord: A chord which contains a root, a minor third, a diminished fifth, and a diminished seventh.

Diminished Triad: A chord which contains a root, a minor third, and a diminished fifth.

Diminuendo, dim: Gradually softer. Synonymous with decrescendo.

Diminuition: The shortening of note values used in a theme to alter the melody without changing the pitches.

Dirge: A piece that is performed at a funeral or memorial service.

Disjunct: The term used to describe intervals larger than a second; the opposite of conjunct.

Dissonance: Notes that conflict, or sound outside of a chord in which they occur. Such notes usually fall outside of the overtones which are being generated by the note or chord that is sounding.

Divertimento: An entertaining instrumental piece made up of several short movements.

Divisi, div: An indication of divided musical parts.

Do: The first degree of the major scale.

Dodecaphonic: Twelve-tone music.

Dolce: Sweetly.

Dolcissimo: Very sweetly.

Doloroso: Sadly; mournfully.

Dominant: The fifth degree of the major or minor scale. Also, the term for the triad built on the fifth degree, labelled V in harmonic analysis. A dominant usually resolves to the tonic.

Domra/Dombra: An early two or three stringed lute. Nicolai Pavlovich Budashkin composed a concerto for Russian Dombra in 1940. It had a long neck and the strings may or may not have frets.

Dorian Mode: A medieval mode whose scale pattern is that of playing D to D on the white keys of a Piano.

Double bar: Two vertical lines placed on the staff to indicate the end of a section or a composition. Also, used with two dots to enclose repeated sections.

Double Bass: The lowest pitched member with the largest and deepest tones in the Violin family.

Double Concerto: A concerto for two solo instruments, and orchestra.

Double Counterpoint: Invertible Counterpoint.

Double Flat: An accidental that lowers the note it proceeds by one whole step.

Double Fugue: A fugue with two themes that occur at the same time.

Double Sharp: An accidental that raises the note it precedes by one whole step.

Double tonguing: On Flute and brass instruments, the technique of rapidly articulating notes by using the front and the back of the tongue in alternation (t-k-t-k-t-k).

Doubly Augmented Sixth Chord: An augmented sixth chord, which contains a sharp second from the tonic.

Downbeat: The first beat of the measure; given by the Conductor with a downward stroke.

Down bow: In the Violin family, drawing the bow downward from its frog.

Dramatic Soprano: A female singer with a slightly lower range than a Lyric Soprano.

Dramatic Tenor: A male singer with a slightly lower range than a Lyric Tenor.

Drum: Percussion instrument with various types of skin stretched over their frame or vessel of wood, metal or bone.

Drum Major: Leader of a marching band.

Drum Set: Basic set of drum equipment including a bass drum, snare drum, suspended cymbal and other percussion instruments used by a single player.

Du: "From the," "of the."

Duet: A piece for two performers.

Dulcian: Also referred to as a Curtal, predecessor to the Bassoon.

Dulcimer: A Zither which produces sounds by striking metal strings with wooden hammers. Most commonly having two long brides or two rows of bridges. Shaped like a shallow rectangular box.

Duplet: A group of two notes performed in the time of three of the same kind.

Dynamics: Varying degrees of loudness or softness in a musical work, and the symbols that represent them.

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