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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - Glossary - M - P

Continuing our glossary…

Madrigal - A song from the Renaissance period for multiple singers. Often unaccompanied.

Maestoso - Tempo marking meaning majestically.

Marcato - Marked, accented.

Melisma - Where a syllable in a song is sung to more than one note. (Don’t say warbling or wobbly music)

Melodic Interval - The distance between two notes played one after the other.

Moderato - A tempo of a moderate speed.

Modulation - A key change.

Molto - Very.

Monophonic - A single line of music - no backing, no harmony. For example a solo tune played on a flute.

Motet - Short polyphonic, religious choral piece.

Motif - A short piece of music that’s repeated.

Nonet - A group of nine players or singers.

Octet - A group of eight players or singers.

Opera Buffa - Light hearted opera.

Opera Comique - Comical opera with spoken recitatives.

Opera Seria - Serious opera often with a mythological theme.

Operetta - Small, often lighthearted, opera.

Oral Tradition - Music that is passed on by playing and listening - not written down.

Oratorio - Bible story set to music. Similar to opera but with no acting.

Ostinato - A repeated musical pattern.

Parallel Motion - When parts move with the same interval between them.

Passing Note - A note that links the preceding and following notes.

Pedal Note - A sustained or repeated note often in the bass part.

Perfect Cadence - The end of a section or piece going from the dominant chord (V) to the tonic (I)

Pesante - Heavy

Phrase - A short musical sentence.

Pianissimo (pp) - Very quiet

Piano (p) - Quiet

Piano Trio - A piano, violin, and cello (not three pianos!)

Pivot Chord - A chord that belongs to two keys used to modulate from one to the other.

Pizzicato (Pizz) - An instruction that tells strings players to pluck the strings.

Plagal Cadence - The end of a section or piece going from the subdominant chord (IV) to the tonic (I).

Polyphonic - Texture of music where two or more tunes are woven together.

Polyrhythm - Two or more rhythms being played at the same time.

Portamento - A singing technique where the singer slides from one note to another.

Presto - Tempo marking meaning very fast.

Prestissimo - Tempo marking faster than presto - about as fast as you can possibly play.

Primary Chord - The tonic, subdominant or dominant chord.

Pull-Off - Opposite to hammer on whereby the guitarist will play a note and then release the finger to let another note sound.

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