Music Term Definitions

Volume

Crescendo (cresc):  Gradually increase the volume

Decrescendo (decresc.):  Gradually softer

Diminuendo (dim.):  Gradually softer

Forte (f):  Strong or loud

Fortepiano (fp):  Loud then immediately soft

Fortissimo (ff):  Very strong or loud

Mezzo:  medium or moderately (as in mezzo piano or mezzo soprano)

Morendo:  Die away

Pianissimo:   very soft

Piano:  Soft

Sforzando (sfz):  Loud sudden attack

Tempo

Grave:  Very very slow and solemn  (30-50)

Largo:  Broad and slow  (40 – 50)

Lento:  Slow & calm  (but not as slow as Largo)  (50)

Adagio:  Slowly, leisurely  (60 – 80)

Andante:  In a walking tempo, moderately slow  (80 – 96)

Maestoso:  Majestically (80 -104)

Allegretto:   Tempo between Allegro and Andante  (96-116)

Moderato:  In a moderate tempo     (112-130)

Allegro:  Quick and lively  (120-160)

Vivace:  Very Fast  (140 – 180)

Presto:  Very fast (160-200)

Prestissimo: As fast as possible (180 + )


Tempo Modifiers

Accelerando (Accel.):   Gradually increase the tempo

Alla Breve:  (Same as cut time) – Two beats per measure & half note get the beat

Allargando:  Gradually slower and broader

A tempo:  In the original speed

Grand Pause (G.P.):   A long pause in the music

L’istesso tempo:   In the same beat speed

Meno Mosso:  less motion, a little slower

Piu mosso:  more motion;  a little faster

Rallentendo:  Gradually slower

Ritardando:  Gradually slower

Rubato:  Not in a strict tempo

Stringendo:  Press the tempo;  gradually faster

Tenuto:  Hold full value or stretch the notes

Form

Attacca:  Attached

Cadenza:  extended section for soloist alone

Coda:  A finishing section (tail)

Da Capo (D.C.) :  From the beginning

Dal Segno (D.S.):  From the sign

Fine:  The end


Instrumentation Instructions

Ad Libertum (ad. lib.):    At the performer’s discretion, improvisation

Divisi (div.):  Divide the between players

Ossia:  an alternate part

Soli:  Like instruments playing same part

Solo:  one player

Tacet:  Silent

Tutti:   Everyone

Unison:  All play same part

Stylistic Indications

Animato:  In an animated style

Brio, con:  With brilliance, with spirit,

Cantabile:  In a singing style

Dolce:  Sweetly

Espressivo:   With Expression

Fuoco, con:  With fire

Grazioso:  gracefully

Legato:  Smooth and connected

Maestoso:  Majestically

Marcato:  Marked with distinctness, every note accented

Pesante:  Heavily, emphatic

Semplice:  simple

Sostenuto:  Sustained

Staccato:   Separated

Secco:   dryly,  extremely separated

Sordino:  Mute (con sordino: with mute;  senza sordino: without mute)

Qualifiers

Assia:  very    (Allegro assia -very fast)

Con:  with  (con fuoco – with fire)

Molto:   Much  (molto crescendo – increase volume significantly)

Non troppo:  Not too much   (Allegro non troppo – not too fast)

Poco a poco:   Little by little  (diminuendo poco a  poco – softer little by little)

Subito:   Immediately, suddenly  (subito piano – suddenly soft)

Senza:   Without  (senza sordino – without mute)

Sempre:  Always   (sempre staccato – always separated)

Simile:  Continue in a like manner  (usually used for articulation)

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