CLASSICAL MUSIC GLOSSARY
Ambrosian chant Plainsong named after St Ambrose, who introduced it in the fourth century. It was influenced by Middle Eastern singing.
Baroque Music from the period between Renaissance and classical; in other words, from about 1600 to the 1750s
Bar In written music, a section which corresponds to a fixed number of beats: the horizontal lines ofwritten music are divided into bars by vertical lines.
Chamber Music Music written for a small number of musicians, such as a string quartet, to be played in a room rather than a concert hall.
Chant Unaccompanied, vocal liturgical music.
Choir A group of singers.
Chorale A traditional form of Lutheran hymn.
Chord Three or more notes played at the same time.
Chromatic scale A scale made up of 12 semitones
Consort A small group of musicians playing Renaissance or baroque instruments which all belong to the same family, such as recorders.
Counterpoint Combining two or more independent lines harmoniously. (The adjective is 'Contrapunta').
Descant A high-pitched line above the soprano melody.
Dynamics The notation describing the loudness ofthe music -'crescendo' is a typical example.
Early music Music from periods up to the 16th century.
Etude A piece of music originally intended as an exercise to develop technique, it became a form in itself.
Fanfare A short, dramatic piece for bright instruments such as trumpets.
Incidental music Music which accompanies a film or play.
Interval The difference in pitch between two notes.
Liturgy A version of a Christian ervice, such as a Catholic mass.
Madngal A four -or five- part song which originated in Italy in the 14th century.
Minimalism Late 20th-century music by composers such as Philip Glass, based on a small number of ideas repeated many times.
Modulation Passing from one key to another through harmonic progressions.
Motif A fundamental
unit of composition, consisting of at least two notes which build up into
longer themes and passages.
Pitch The frequency of a note. (A, B, C, etc.)
Plainsong Early Christian chanting.
Recital A performance by one or two players.
Scale A progression of notes which establishes a key.
Score A complete ochestration written out on the pagel with all the parts set out separately.
Stave The five horizontal lines on which music is written.
String quartertt Two violins, a viola and a cello.
Temary form A piece Of music in three sections.
Timbre The quality or colour of the tone.
Tonic The fundamental note of a diatonic scale -this note decides the key ofthe piece,
Upbeat The last and weakest beat of a bar.