Latest Music Definitions

These are the latest music related terms added to our site. This list is updated each day as we add more and more definitions.  

latest terms

tasto solo 

Tasto solo is an Italian term used in music scores, usually on the continuo part, to indicate that a note or section should be played on its own, without harmony. The term tasto is Italian for key, so the part is to be played solo by the fingerboard instrument and not by the harmony instrument where a basso continuo line is played by more than one instrument. The phrase first appeared in music theory books in the eighteenth century, but was used by composers such as Arcangelo Corelli before this time. C.P.E. Bach commented that, in practice, Italians did not play tasto solo.

scordatura 

Scordatura [skordaˈtuːra], is a tuning of a stringed instrument different from the normal, standard tuning. It typically attempts to allow special effects or unusual chords or timbre, or to make certain passages easier to play. It is common to notate the finger position as if played in regular tuning, while the actual pitch resulting is altered. When all the strings are tuned by the same interval up or down, as in the case of the viola in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra, the part is transposed as a whole.

mezzo-soprano 

A female singer with a range usually extending from the A below middle C to the F an eleventh above middle C. Mezzo-sopranos generally have a darker vocal tone than sopranos, and their vocal range is between that of a soprano and that of a contralto. 

hemiola

The imposition of a pattern of rhythm or articulation other than that implied by the time signature; specifically, in triple time (for example in 3
4) the imposition of a duple pattern 

Encore

An encore is when performers in a live show give an additional performance after the planned show has ended, usually in response to extended applause from the audience. Multiple encores are not uncommon, and they originated spontaneously, when audiences would continue to applaud and demand additional performance from the artist(s).

a capriccio 

A capriccio [a kaˈprittʃo] (Italian: "following one's fancy") is a tempo marking indicating a free and capricious approach to the tempo (and possibly the style) of the piece. This marking will usually modify another, such as lento a capriccio, often used in the Hungarian Rhapsodies of Franz Liszt. Perhaps the most famous piece to use the term is Ludwig van Beethoven's Rondò a capriccio (Op. 129), better known as Rage Over a Lost Penny.

a cappella 

A cappella (/ˌækəˈpɛlə/ US: /ˌɑːkə-/, Italian: [a kkapˈpɛlla]; Italian for "in the manner of the chapel")[1] music is specifically group or solo singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It contrasts with cantata, which is usually accompanied singing. The term "a cappella" was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato style. In the 19th century a renewed interest in Renaissance polyphony coupled with an ignorance of the fact that vocal parts were often doubled by instrumentalists led to the term coming to mean unaccompanied vocal music.[1] The term is also used, albeit rarely, as a synonym for alla breve.[2]

Fugue

In music, a fugue (/fjuːɡ/ fewg) is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (a musical theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and which recurs frequently in the course of the composition. It is not to be confused with a fuguing tune, which is a style of song popularized by and mostly limited to early American (i.e. shape note or "Sacred Harp") music and West Gallery music. A fugue usually has three main sections: an exposition, a development and a final entry that contains the return of the subject in the fugue's tonic key. Some fugues have a recapitulation.

pizzicato 

Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact technique varies somewhat depending on the type of instrument:

On bowed string instruments it is a method of playing by plucking the strings with the fingers, rather than using the bow. This produces a very different sound from bowing, short and percussive rather than sustained.
On keyboard string instruments, such as the piano, pizzicato may be employed as one of the variety of techniques involving direct manipulation of the strings known collectively as "string piano".
On the guitar, it is a muted form of plucking, which bears an audible resemblance to pizzicato on a bowed string instrument with its relatively shorter sustain. It is also known as palm muting. 

Fermata

A fermata (Italian: [ferˈmaːta]; "from fermare, to stay, or stop";[2] also known as a hold, pause, colloquially a birdseye or cyclops eye, or as a grand pause when placed on a note or a rest) is a symbol of musical notation indicating that the note should be prolonged beyond the normal duration its note value would indicate.[3] Exactly how much longer it is held is up to the discretion of the performer or conductor, but twice as long is common. It is usually printed above but can be occasionally below (when it is upside down) the note to be extended.

Music Glossary