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


Musical Dictionary: X



F: The key of F.

: In solmization, the fourth degree of the major scale. Also known as f sharp.

Fanfare: A prelude or opening, a flourish, usually played by brass instruments.

False Cadence: A deceptive cadence.

Falsetto: A high, light, artificial voice used to sing notes that are above the normal register.

Fantasy, Fantasia, Fantaisie: A piece in free style and form.

Fasola: A system of solmization used in 17th- and 18th-century England and America. Fa, Sol, and La were given to both C-D-E and F-G-A, with mi used for the seventh degree.

F Clef: A clef that indicates which line represents F on a staff, as opposed to a C clef, or an G clef.

Feminine Cadence: A cadence ending on a weak beat.

Fermata: Hold; pause

Festivo, festoso:  (Ita) Festive; merry

Fibbonacci Series: A mathematical sequence in which the next number in the series is the sum of the previous two numbers. Used by many 20th century composers to determine various elements of composition, especially Bela Bartok.

Fiddle: A generic name covering any European bowed string instrument since the Middle Ages. Colloquial name for Violin.

Fife: A miniature Flute that has a narrower bore which produces a shrill and louder sound. It is held transversely and has been associated with British military bands.

Fifth: The fifth degree of the diatonic scale. Also, the interval formed by a given tone and the fifth tone above or below it, e.g. C up to G, C down to F. intervals of the fifth may be perfect (corresponding to major), diminished, or augmented.

Finger Cymbals: used since antiquity, these small circular cymbals are used in pairs, attached to the thumb and an opposing finder to create sounds for rhythm.

Figured Bass: The bass part of a piece written by giving a single bass note, with numbers beside it to indicate the inversion of the chord to be played.

Figured Melody: A highly ornamented melody.

Finale: The last movement of a sonata or symphony, or the last section of an opera.

Fine: The end.

Fingerboard: On string instruments, the top surface of the neck, where the fingers press down on the strings.

First ending: One or more measures which occur at the end of the stanza or stanzas.

Fixed Do: The system of solmization in which C is always Do.

Flageolet: A Flute family member, blown from the end and held vertically and similar to a Recorder. It has four finger holes and two thumbholes in the French version. The English version has six finger holes and only one thumbhole.

Flats: An accidental which lowers the pitch of a note one half step. See also key signature.

Flat Trumpet: An early English slide trumpet pitched in C.

Flautino: A small Flute but not to be confused with a Piccolo.

Flexatone: An interesting percussion instrument patented in the 1920's. Made of flexible metal sheets with wooden knobs mounted on spring steel strips. The player shakes it producing a tremolo sound.

Flugelhorn: Originally a half round German Hunting Horn. A brass valve instrument pitched in B flat. It has a large wide bell.

Flute: Generically defined as any instrument with an air column and confined hollow body whose sounds are produced by a stream of air flowing through holes and a systematic mechanism for covering them.

Flute d'amour: A type of Flute pitched to a minor 3rd below the concert Flute. It was used in the 18th century but has become obsolete.

Form: The design or structure of a musical composition

Forte: Symbolized in sheet music by the letter "f" this is an instruction to play the passage loud.

Fortepiano: A term that differentiates late 18th century Piano from the Harpsichord.

Fortissimo:  (Ita) Very loud.

Forza:  (Ita) Force. See Con Forza.

Fourth: The interval of four diatonic degrees. Also, the interval formed by a given tone and the fourth tone above or below it, e.g. C up to F; C down to G. Intervals of the fourth may be perfect, diminished, or augmented.

French Horn: Possibly descending from ancient animal horn that had a fingered play style. It is a valved brass instrument with spiral tubes and a wide, flaring bell.

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

Fret: On certain string instruments, a thin, raised bar placed across the fingerboard to indicate a specific position of a note, and aid in tuning that note.

Frog: Part of the violin bow.

Fugue: "Flight." A contrapuntal piece, in which two or more parts are built or "layered" on a recurring subject that is introduced alone, and followed by an answer, which is the subject (or theme) at a different pitch, usually the fifth.

Full score: An instrumental score in which all the parts for the instruments appear on their own staves in standard instrumental family order

Function: The way in which chords, and individual tones within the chords, tend to imply movement toward another chord.

Fundamental: Any note that sounds, producing overtones in the harmonic series.

Fz: Forzando or forzato. Synonomous with sforzando (sf or sfz).

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