A History of Western Music Norton 8th Ed. Glossary Terms 1/5

Flashcard maker : Ken Ericksen
Abgesang
(pronounced AHP-ge-zong) See BAR FORM.
absolute music
Music that is independent of words, drama, visual images, or any kind of representational aspects.
a cappella
(Italian, \”in chapel style\”) Manner of choral singing without instrumental accompaniment.
accidental
Sign that calls for altering the pitch of a NOTE: a sharp raises the pitch a semitone, a flat lowers it a semitone, and a natural cancels a previous accidental.
accompanied recitative
RECITATIVE that uses ORCHESTRAL accompaniment to dramatize the text.
act
Main division of an OPERA. Most operas have two to five acts, although some have only one.
affections
Objectified or archetypal emotions or states of mind, such as sadness, joy, fear, or wonder; one goal of much BAROQUE music was to arouse the affections.
Agnus Dei
(Latin, \”Lamb of God\”) Fifth of the five major musical items in the MASS ORDINARY, based on a litany.
agrément
(French, \”charm\”; pronounced ah-gray-MANH) ORNAMENT in French music, usually indicated by a sign.
air
English or French song for solo voice with instrumental accompaniment, setting rhymed poetry, often STROPHIC, and usually in the METER of a dance.
air de cour
(French, \”court air\”) Type of song for voice and accompaniment, prominent in France from about 1580 through the seventeenth century.
Alberti bass
Broken-CHORD accompaniment common in the second half of the eighteenth century and named after Domenico Alberti, who used the FIGURATION frequently.
Alleluia
Item from the MASS PROPER, sung just before the Gospel reading, comprising a RESPOND to the text \”Alleluia,\” a verse, and a repetition of the respond. CHANT alleluias are normally MELISMATIC in style and sung in a RESPONSORIAL manner, one or more soloists alternating with the CHOIR.
allemande
(French for \”German\”) Highly stylized DANCE in BINARY FORM, in moderately fast quadruple METER with almost continuous movement, beginning with an upbeat. Popular during the RENAISSANCE and BAROQUE; appearing often as the first dance in a SUITE.
alto
(from ALTUS) (1) Relatively low female voice, or high male voice. (2) Part for such a voice in an ENSEMBLE work.
altus
(Latin, \”high\”) In fifteenth- and sixteenth-century POLYPHONY, a part in a range between the TENOR and the SUPERIUS; originally CONTRATENOR ALTUS.
Ambrosian chant
A repertory of ecclesiastical CHANT used in Milan.
answer
In the EXPOSITION of a FUGUE, the second entry of the SUBJECT, normally on the DOMINANT if the subject was on the TONIC, and vice versa. Also refers to subsequent answers to the subject.
anthem
A POLYPHONIC sacred work in English for Anglican religious services.
antiphon
(1) A LITURGICAL CHANT that precedes and follows a PSALM or CANTICLE in the OFFICE. (2) In the MASS, a chant originally associated with ANTIPHONAL PSALMODY; specifically, the COMMUNION and the first and final portion of the INTROIT.
antiphonal
Adjective describing a manner of performance in which two or more groups alternate.
Aquitanian polyphony
Style of POLYPHONY from the twelfth century, encompassing both DISCANT and FLORID ORGANUM.
aria
(Italian, \”air\”) (1) In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, any section of an Italian STROPHIC poem for a solo singer. (2) Lyrical monologue in an OPERA or other vocal work such as CANTATA and ORATORIO.
arioso
(1) RECITATIVO ARIOSO. (2) Short, ARIA-like passage. (3) Style of vocal writing that approaches the lyricism of an ARIA but is freer in form.
arpeggio
(from Italian arpa, \”harp\”) Broken-CHORD FIGURE.
Ars Nova
(Latin, \”new art\”) Style of POLYPHONY from fourteenth-century France, distinguished from earlier styles by a new system of rhythmic NOTATION that allowed duple or triple division of NOTE values, SYNCOPATION, and great rhythmic flexibility.
Ars Subtilior
(Latin, \”more subtle art\”) Style of POLYPHONY from the late fourteenth or very early fifteenth centuries in southern France and northern Italy, distinguished by extreme complexity in rhythm and NOTATION.
art music
Music that is (or is meant to be) listened to with rapt attention, for its own sake. Compare POPULAR MUSIC.
art song
A song intended to be appreciated as an artistic statement rather than as entertainment, featuring precisely notated music, usually THROUGH COMPOSED, and requiring professional standards of performance. Compare POPULAR SONG.
atonal/ atonality
Terms for music that avoids establishing a central pitch or tonal center (such as the TONIC in TONAL music).
aulos
Ancient Greek reed instrument, usually played in pairs.
authentic mode
A MODE (2) in which the RANGE normally extends from a STEP below the FINAL to an octave above it. See also PLAGAL MODE.
avant-garde
Term for music (and art) that is iconoclastic, irreverent, antagonistic, and nihilistic, seeking to overthrow established aesthetics. ballad (1) Long narrative poem, or musical setting of such a poem. (2) Late-eighteenth-century German poetic form that imitated the folk ballad of England and Scotland and was set to music by German composers. The ballad expanded the LIED in both FORM and emotional content.
ballad opera
GENRE of eighteenth-century English comic play featuring songs in which new words are set to borrowed tunes.
ballade
(1) French FORME FIXE, normally in three stanzas, in which each stanza has the musical FORM aab and ends with a REFRAIN. (2) Instrumental piece inspired by the GENRE of narrative poetry.
ballata
(from Italian ballare, \”to dance\”; pl. ballate) Fourteenth-century Italian song GENRE with the FORM AbbaA, in which A is the ripresa or REFRAIN, and the single stanza consists of two piedi (bb) and a volta (a) sung to the music of the ripresa.
ballet
In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France, an entertainment in which both professionals and guests danced; later, a stage work danced by professionals.
balletto/ ballett
(Italian, \”little dance\”) Sixteenth-century Italian (and later English) song GENRE in a simple, dancelike, HOMOPHONIC style with repeated sections and \”fa-la-la\” refrains.
band
Large ENSEMBLE of winds, brass, and percussion instruments, or of brass and percussion instruments without winds.
bar form
Song FORM in which the first section of MELODY is sung twice with different texts (the two STOLLEN) and the remainder (the ABGESANG) is sung once.
bard
Medieval poet-singer, especially of epics.
Baroque
(from Portuguese barroco, \”a misshapen pearl\”) PERIOD of music history from about 1600 to about 1750, overlapping the late RENAISSANCE and early CLASSIC periods.
bas
(French, \”low\”; pronounced BAH) In the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, term for soft instruments such as VIELLES and HARPS. See HAUT.
bass
(from BASSUS) (1) The lowest part in an ENSEMBLE work. (2) Low male voice. (3) Low instrument, especially the string bass or bass VIOL.
basse danse
(French, \”low dance\”) Type of stately couple DANCE of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
basso continuo
(Italian, \”continuous bass\”) (1) System of NOTATION and performance practice, used in the BAROQUE PERIOD, in which an instrumental BASS line is written out and one or more players of keyboard, LUTE, or similar instruments fill in the HARMONY with appropriate CHORDS or IMPROVISED MELODIC lines. (2) The bass line itself.
basso ostinato
(Italian, \”persistent bass\”) or ground bass A pattern in the BASS that repeats while the MELODY above it changes.
bassus
(Latin, \”low\”) In fifteenth- and sixteenth-century POLYPHONY, the lowest part; originally CONTRATENOR BASSUS.
bebop (or bop)
A style of JAZZ developed in New York in the 1940s that had a diversified RHYTHMIC texture, enriched HARMONIC vocabulary, and an emphasis on IMPROVISATION with rapid MELODIES and asymmetrical PHRASES. bel canto (Italian, \”beautiful singing\”) Elegant Italian vocal style of the early nineteenth century marked by lyrical, embellished, and florid melodies that show off the beauty, agility, and fluency of the singer’s voice.
big band
Type of large JAZZ ENSEMBLE popular between the world wars, featuring brass, reeds, and RHYTHM SECTIONS, and playing prepared arrangements that included rhythmic unisons and coordinated dialogue between sections and soloists.
binary form
A FORM comprised of two complementary sections, each of which is repeated. The first section usually ends on the DOMINANT or the relative major, although it many end of the TONIC or other KEY; the second section returns to the tonic.
blue note
Slight drop or slide in pitch on the third, fifth, or seventh degree of a MAJOR SCALE, common in BLUES and JAZZ.
blues
(1) African-American vocal GENRE that is based on a simple repetitive formula and characterized by a distinctive style of performance. (2) TWELVE-BAR BLUES.
bop
See BEBOP.
branle gay
RENAISSANCE DANCE in a lively triple METER based on a sideways swaying step.
breve
(from Latin brevis, \”short\”) In medieval and RENAISSANCE systems of RHYTHMIC NOTATION, a NOTE that is normally equal to half or a third of a LONG.
bull lyre
Sumerian LYRE with a bull’s head at one end of the soundbox.
burden
(1) In English medieval POLYPHONY, the lowest voice. (2) In the English CAROL, the REFRAIN.
Byzantine chant
The repertory of ecclesiastical CHANT used in the Byzantine RITE and in the modern Greek Orthodox Church.
cabaletta
In the operatic scene structure developed by Gioachino Rossini in the early nineteenth century, the last part of an ARIA or ENSEMBLE, which was lively and brilliant and expressed active feelings, such as joy or despair. See also CANTABILE and TEMPO DI MEZZO.
cabaret
Type of nightclub, first introduced in nineteenth-century Paris, that offered serious or comic sketches, dances, songs, and poetry.
caccia
(Italian, \”hunt\”; pronounced CAH-cha; pl. cacce) Fourteenth-century Italian FORM featuring two voices in CANON over a free untexted TENOR.
cadence
MELODIC or HARMONIC succession that closes a musical PHRASE, PERIOD, section, or COMPOSITION.
cadenza
(Italian, \”cadence\”) Highly embellished passage, often IMPROVISED, at an important CADENCE, usually occurring just before the end of a piece or section.
café-concert
Type of dining establishment, prominent in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Paris, that combined the food and drink of a café with musical entertainment, usually songs on sentimental, comic, or political topics.
call and response
Alternation of short PHRASES between a leader and a group; used especially for music in the African-American tradition.
cambiata
(Italian, \”changed\”) Figure in sixteenth-century POLYPHONY in which a voice skips down from a DISSONANCE to a CONSONANCE instead of resolving by STEP, then moves to the expected NOTE of resolution.
Camerata
(Italian, \”circle\” or \”association\”) Circle of intellectuals and amateurs of the arts that met in Florence, Italy, in the 1570s and 1580s.
canon
(Latin, \”rule\”) (1) Rule for performing music, particularly for deriving more than one voice from a single line of notated music, as when several voices sing the same MELODY, entering at certain intervals of time or singing at different speeds simultaneously. (2) COMPOSITION in which the voices enter successively at determined pitch and time intervals, all performing the same MELODY.
cantabile
(Italian, \”songlike\”) (1) Songful, lyrical, in a songlike style. (2) In the operatic scene structure developed by Gioachino Rossini in the early nineteenth century, the first section of an ARIA or ENSEMBLE, somewhat slow and expressing a relatively calm mood. See also CABELETTA and TEMPO DI MEZZO.
cantata
(Italian, \”to be sung\”) (1) In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a vocal chamber work with CONTINUO, usually for solo voice, consisting of several sections or MOVEMENTS that include RECITATIVES and ARIAS and setting a lyrical or quasi-dramatic text. (2) Form of Lutheran church music in the eighteenth century, combining poetic texts with texts drawn from CHORALES or the Bible, and including RECITATIVES, ARIAS, chorale settings, and usually one or more CHORUSES. (3) In later eras, a work for soloists, CHORUS, and ORCHESTRA in several MOVEMENTS but smaller than an ORATORIO.
canticle
HYMN-like or PSALM-like passage from a part of the Bible other than the Book of Psalms.
cantiga
Medieval MONOPHONIC song in Spanish or Portuguese.
cantilena
(Latin, \”song\”) POLYPHONIC song not based on a CANTUS FIRMUS; used especially for polyphonic songs by English composers of the late thirteenth through early fifteenth centuries.
cantillation
Chanting of a sacred text by a solo singer, particularly in the Jewish synagogue.
cantional style
(from Latin cantionale, \”songbook\”) Manner of setting CHORALES in CHORDAL HOMOPHONY with the MELODY in the highest voice.
cantor
In Jewish synagogue music, the main solo singer. In the medieval Christian church, the leader of the CHOIR.
cantus
(Latin, \”melody\”) In POLYPHONY of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, the highest voice, especially the texted voice in a polyphonic song.
cantus firmus
(Latin, \”fixed melody\”) An existing MELODY, often taken from a GREGORIAN CHANT, on which a new POLYPHONIC work is based; used especially for MELODIES presented in long NOTES.
cantus-firmus mass
POLYPHONIC MASS in which the same CANTUS FIRMUS is used in each MOVEMENT, normally in the TENOR.
cantus-firmus/imitation mass
POLYPHONIC MASS in which each MOVEMENT is based on the same polyphonic work, using that work’s TENOR (sometimes the SUPERIUS) as a CANTUS FIRMUS, normally in the tenor, and borrowing some elements from the other voices of the model to use in the other voices of the mass.
cantus-firmus variations
Instrumental GENRE of the late 1500s and early 1600s, comprising a set of VARIATIONS in which the MELODY repeats with little change but is surrounded by different CONTRAPUNTAL material in each variation.
canzona (canzon)
(Italian, \”song\”) (1) Sixteenth-century Italian GENRE, an instrumental work adapted from a CHANSON or composed in a similar style. (2) In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, an instrumental work in several contrasting sections, of which the first and some of the others are in IMITATIVE COUNTERPOINT.
canzonetta/ canzonet
(Italian, \”little song\”) Sixteenth-century Italian (and later English) song GENRE in a simple, mostly HOMOPHONIC style. Diminutive of CANZONA.
capriccio
(Italian, \”whim\”) (1) In the BAROQUE PERIOD, a FUGAL piece in continuous IMITATIVE COUNTERPOINT. (2) In the nineteenth century, a short COMPOSITION in free FORM, usually for PIANO.
carol
English song, usually on a religious subject, with several stanzas and a BURDEN, or REFRAIN. From the fifteenth century on, most carols are POLYPHONIC.
carole
Medieval circle or line dance, or the MONOPHONIC song that accompanied it.
castrati
(sing. castrato) Male singers who were castrated before puberty to preserve their high vocal RANGE, prominent in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, especially in OPERA.
catch
English GENRE of CANON, usually with a humorous or ribald text.
cauda
(Latin, \”tail\”; pl. caudae) MELISMATIC passage in a POLYPHONIC CONDUCTUS.
centonization
(from Latin cento, \”patchwork\”) A process of composing a new MELODY by combining standard MOTIVES and formulas, used in BYZANTINE CHANT.
chacona
(Italian, ciaccona) A vivacious dance-song imported from Latin America into Spain and then into Italy, popular during the seventeenth century
chaconne
(or ciaccona) BAROQUE GENRE derived from the CHACONA, consisting of VARIATIONS over a BASSO CONTINUO.
chamber sonata
See SONATA DA CAMERA.
chance
Approach to composing music pioneered by John Cage, in which some of the decisions normally made by the composer are instead determined through random procedures, such as tossing coins. Chance differs from INDETERMINACY but shares with it the result that the sounds in the music do not convey an intention and are therefore to be experienced only as pure sound.
chanson
(French, \”song\”; pronounced shanh-SONH) Secular song with French words; used especially for POLYPHONIC songs of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries.
chanson de geste
(French, \”song of deeds\”) Type of medieval French epic recounting the deeds of national heroes, sung to MELODIC formulas.
chansonnier
(French, \”songbook\”) Manuscript collection of secular songs with French words; used both for collections of MONOPHONIC TROUBADOUR and TROUV√®RE songs and for collections of POLYPHONIC songs.
chant
(1) Unison unaccompanied song, particularly that of the Latin LITURGY (also called PLAINCHANT). (2) The repertory of unaccompanied liturgical songs of a particular RITE.
chant dialect
One of the repertories of ecclesiastical CHANT, including GREGORIAN, BYZANTINE, AMBROSIAN, and OLD ROMAN CHANT.
chapel
A group of salaried musicians and clerics employed by a ruler, nobleman, church official, or other patron, who officiate at and furnish music for religious services.
character piece
A piece of CHARACTERISTIC MUSIC, especially one for PIANO.
characteristic (or descriptive) music
Instrumental music that depicts or suggests a mood, personality, or scene, usually indicated in its title.
charts
In postwar POPULAR MUSIC, weekly rankings of songs by sales or other measures of popularity.
choir
A group of singers who perform together, singing either in unison or in parts. Used especially for the group that sings in a religious service.
choral society
Amateur CHORUS whose members sing for their own enjoyment and may pay dues to purchase music, pay the CONDUCTOR, and meet other expenses.
chorale
(pronounced ko-RAL) STROPHIC HYMN in the Lutheran tradition, intended to be sung by the congregation.
chorale motet
CHORALE setting in the style of a sixteenth-century MOTET.
chorale prelude
Relatively short setting for organ of a CHORALE MELODY, used as an introduction for congregational singing or as an interlude in a Lutheran church service.
chorale variations
A set of VARIATIONS on a CHORALE MELODY.
chord
Three or more simultaneous NOTES heard as a single entity. In TONAL music, three or more notes that can be arranged as a succession of thirds, such as a TRIAD.
chorus
(1) Group of singers who perform together, usually with several singers on each part. (2) A MOVEMENT or passage for such a group in an ORATORIO, OPERA, or other multimovement work. (3) The REFRAIN of a POPULAR SONG. (4) In JAZZ, a statement of the HARMONIC PROGRESSION of the opening tune, over which one or more instruments play variants or new musical ideas.
chromatic
(from Greek chroma, \”color\”) (1) In ancient Greek music, adjective describing a TETRACHORD comprising a minor third and two SEMITONES, or a MELODY that uses such tetrachords. (2) Adjective describing a melody that uses two or more successive semitones in the same direction, a SCALE consisting exclusively of semitones, an INTERVAL or CHORD that draws NOTES from more than one DIATONIC scale, or music that uses many such melodies or chords.
chromatic saturation
The appearance of all twelve PITCH-CLASSES within a segment of music.
chromaticism
The use of many NOTES from the CHROMATIC SCALE in a passage or piece.
church calendar
In a Christian RITE, the schedule of days commemorating special events, individuals, or times of year.
church sonata
See SONATA DA CHIESA.
ciaccona
See CHACONA.
Classic period
In music history, the era from about 1730 to about 1815, between and overlapping the BAROQUE and ROMANTIC PERIODS.
classical music
(1) Common term for ART MUSIC of all PERIODS, as distinct from POPULAR MUSIC or FOLK MUSIC. (2) Music in the tradition of the repertoire of musical masterworks that formed in the nineteenth century, including lesser works in the same GENRES (such as OPERA, ORATORIO, SYMPHONY, SONATA, STRING QUARTET, and ART SONG) or for the same performing forces and newly composed works intended as part of the same tradition. (3) Music in the CLASSIC PERIOD.
classical style
Musical idiom of the eighteenth century, generally characterized by an emphasis on MELODY over relatively light accompaniment; simple, clearly articulated harmonic plans; PERIODIC phrasing; clearly delineated FORMS based on contrast between THEMES, between KEYS, between stable and unstable passages, and between sections with different functions; and contrasts of mood, style, and figuration within MOVEMENTS as well as between them.
clausula
(Latin, \”clause,\” pl. clausulae) In NOTRE DAME POLYPHONY, a self-contained section of an ORGANUM that closes with a CADENCE.
clavecin
French term for HARPSICHORD. A person who performs on or composes works for the clavecin is known as a clavecinist.
clavichord
Keyboard instrument popular between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The loudness, which depends on the force with which a brass blade strikes the strings, is under the direct control of the player.
clos
See OPEN AND CLOSED ENDINGS.
coda
(Italian, \”tail\”) A supplementary ending to a COMPOSITION or MOVEMENT; a concluding section that lies outside the FORM as usually described. .
collage
Work or passage that uses multiple QUOTATIONS without following a standard procedure for doing so, such as QUODLIBET or medley.
collegium musicum
An association of amateurs, popular during the BAROQUE PERIOD, who gathered to play and sing together for their own pleasure. Today, an ensemble of university students that performs early music.
color
(Latin rhetorical term for ornament, particularly repetition, pronounced KOH-lor) In an ISORHYTHMIC COMPOSITION, a repeated MELODIC pattern, as opposed to the repeating rhythmic pattern (the TALEA).
coloratura
Florid vocal ORNAMENTATION.
Communion
Item in the MASS PROPER, originally sung during communion, comprising an ANTIPHON without verses.
composition
The act or process of creating new pieces of music, or a piece that results from this process and is substantially similar each time it is performed; usually distinguished from IMPROVISATION and performance.
concert band
Large ENSEMBLE of winds, brass, and percussion instruments that performs seated in concert halls, like an ORCHESTRA.
concert étude
See éTUDE
concertato medium
(from Italian concertare, \”to reach agreement\”) In seventeenth-century music, the combination of voices with one or more instruments, where the instruments do not simply double the voices but play independent parts.
concerted madrigal
Early-seventeenth-century type of MADRIGAL for one or more voices accompanied by BASSO CONTINUO and in some cases by other instruments.
concerto
(from Italian concertare, \”to reach agreement\”) (1) In the seventeenth century, ENSEMBLE of instruments or of voices with one or more instruments, or a work for such an ensemble. (2) COMPOSITION in which one or more solo instruments (or instrumental group) contrasts with an ORCHESTRAL ENSEMBLE. See also SOLO CONCERTO, CONCERTO GROSS, and ORCHESTRAL CONCERTO.
concerto grosso
Instrumental work that exploits the contrast in sonority between a small ENSEMBLE of solo instruments (concertino), usually the same forces that appeared in the TRIO SONATA, and a large ENSEMBLE (RIPIENO or concerto grosso).
concitato
See STILE CONCITATO.
conductor
A person who leads a performance, especially for an ORCHESTRA, BAND, CHORUS, or other large ENSEMBLE, by means of gestures.
conductus
A serious medieval song, MONOPHONIC or POLYPHONIC, setting a rhymed, rhythmic Latin poem.
conjunct
(1) In ancient Greek music, adjective used to describe the relationship between two TETRACHORDS when the bottom NOTE of one is the same as the top note of the other. (2) Of a MELODY, consisting mostly of STEPS.
conservatory
School that specializes in teaching music.
consonance
INTERVAL or CHORD that has a stable, harmonious sound. Compare DISSONANCE.
consort
English name (current ca. 1575-1700) for a group of instruments, either all of one type (called a full consort), such as a consort of VIOLS, or of different types (called a broken consort).
consort song
RENAISSANCE English GENRE of song for voice accompanied by a CONSORT of VIOLS.
contenance angloise
(French, \”English guise\”) Characteristic quality of early-fifteenth-century English music, marked by pervasive CONSONANCE with frequent use of HARMONIC thirds and sixths, often in parallel motion.
continuo
BASSO CONTINUO.
continuo instruments
Instruments used to REALIZE a BASSO CONTINUO, such as HARPSICHORD, organ, LUTE, or THEORBO.
contrafact
In JAZZ, a new MELODY composed over a HARMONIC PROGRESSION borrowed from another song.
contrafactum
(Latin, \”counterfeit\”; pl. contrafacta) The practice of replacing the text of a vocal work with a new text while the music remains essentially the same; or the resulting piece.
contrapuntal
Employing COUNTERPOINT, or two or more simultaneous MELODIC lines.
contratenor
(Latin, \”against the tenor\”) In fourteenth- and fifteenth-century POLYPHONY, voice composed after or in conjunction with the TENOR and in about the same RANGE, helping to form the HARMONIC foundation.
contratenor altus contratenor bassus
(Latin) In fifteenth-century POLYPHONY, CONTRATENOR parts that lie relatively high (ALTUS) or low (BASSUS) in comparison to the TENOR. Often simply written as \”altus\” or \”bassus,\” these are the ancestors of the vocal ranges ALTO and BASS.
cornett
Wind instrument of hollowed-out wood or ivory, with finger holes and a cup mouthpiece, blown like a brass instrument.
counterpoint
The combination of two or more simultaneous MELODIC lines according to a set of rules.
country music
(also known as country-and-western) A type of POPULAR MUSIC associated primarily with white southerners, that blends elements of FOLK MUSIC, POPULAR SONG, and other traditions.
couplet
In a RONDO or seventeenth- or eighteenth-century RONDEAU, one of several PERIODS or passages that alternate with the REFRAIN.
courante
A DANCE in BINARY FORM, in triple METER at a moderate tempo and with an upbeat, featured as a standard MOVEMENT of the BAROQUE dance SUITE.
court ballet
Seventeenth-century French GENRE, an extensive musical-dramatic work with costumes, scenery, poetry, and dance that featured members of the court as well as professional dancers.
courtly love
See FINE AMOUR.
Credo
(Latin, \”I believe\”) Third of the five major musical items in the MASS ORDINARY, a creed or statement of faith.
crumhorn
RENAISSANCE wind instrument, with a double reed enclosed in a cap so the player’s lips do not touch the reed.
cumulative form
FORM used by Charles Ives and others in which the principal THEME appears in its entirety only at the end of a work, preceded by its DEVELOPMENT.
cycle
A group of related works, comprising MOVEMENTS of a single larger entity. Examples include cycles of CHANTS for the MASS ORDINARY, consisting of one setting each of the KYRIE, GLORIA, SANCTUS, and AGNUS DEI (and sometimes also Ite, missa est); the POLYPHONIC MASS cycle of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries; and the SONG CYCLE of the nineteenth century.
da capo aria
ARIA FORM with two sections. The first section is repeated after the second section’s close, which carries the instruction da capo (Italian, \”from the head\”), creating an ABA FORM.
dances
Pieces in stylized dance rhythms, whether independent, paired, or linked together in a SUITE.
descriptive music
See CHARACTERISTIC MUSIC.
developing variation
Term coined by Arnold Schoenberg for the process of deriving new THEMES, accompaniments, and other ideas throughout a piece through variations of a germinal idea.
development
(1) The process of reworking, recombining, fragmenting, and varying given THEMES or other material. (2) In SONATA FORM, the section after the EXPOSITION, which MODULATES through a variety of KEYS and in which THEMES from the exposition are presented in new ways.
diastematic
Having to do with INTERVALS. In diastematic motion, the voice moves between sustained pitches separated by discrete intervals; in diastematic NOTATION, the approximate intervals are indicated by relative height (see HEIGHTED NEUMES).
diatonic
(1) In ancient Greek music, adjective describing a TETRACHORD with two whole tones and one semitone. (2) Name for a SCALE that includes five WHOLE TONES and two SEMITONES, where the semitones are separated by two or three whole tones. (3) Adjective describing a MELODY, CHORD, or passage based exclusively on a single diatonic scale.
diegetic music or source music
In film, music that is heard or performed by the characters themselves.
digital
Relating to methods for producing or recording musical sounds by translating them into a coded series of on-off pulses, or 1s and 0s, in the same way that computers store and transmit data.
diminution
(1) Uniform reduction of NOTE values in a MELODY or PHRASE. (2) Type of IMPROVISED ORNAMENTATION in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in which relatively long notes are replaced with SCALES or other FIGURES composed of short notes.
direct
Pertaining to a manner of performing CHANT without alternation between groups (see ANTIPHONAL) or between soloist and group (see RESPONSORIAL).
discant
(Latin, \”singing apart\”) (1) Twelfth-century style of POLYPHONY in which the upper voice or voices have about one to three NOTES for each note of the lower voice. (2) TREBLE part.
disjunct
(1) In ancient Greek music, adjective used to describe the relationship between two TETRACHORDS when the bottom NOTE of one is a whole tone above the top note of the other. (2) Of a MELODY, consisting mostly of skips (thirds) and leaps (larger INTERVALS) rather than STEPS.
dissonance
(1) Two or more NOTES sounding together to produce a discord, or a sound that needs to be resolved to a CONSONANCE. (2) A NOTE that does not belong to the CHORD that sounds simultaneously with it; a nonchord TONE.
diva
A leading and successful female OPERA singer. See also PRIMA DONNA.
divertissement
In TRAGéDIE EN MUSIQUE, a long interlude of BALLET, solo AIRS, choral singing, and spectacle, intended as entertainment.
division
See DIMINUTION (2).
dominant
In TONAL music, the NOTE and CHORD a perfect fifth above the TONIC.
double leading-tone cadence
CADENCE popular in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in which the bottom voice moves down a WHOLE TONE and the upper voices move up a SEMITONE, forming a major third and major sixth expanding to an open fifth and octave.
double motet
Thirteenth-century MOTET in three voices, with different texts in the DUPLUM and TRIPLUM.
Doxology
A formula of praise to the Trinity. Two FORMS are used in GREGORIAN CHANT: the Greater Doxology, or GLORIA, and the Lesser Doxology, used with PSALMS, INTROITS, and other chants.
dramatic opera
Seventeenth-century English mixed GENRE of musical theater, a spoken play with an OVERTURE and four or more MASQUES or long musical interludes. Today often called SEMI-OPERA.
drone
NOTE or notes sustained throughout an entire piece or section.
duplum
(from Latin duplus, \”double\”) In POLYPHONY of the late twelfth through fourteenth centuries, second voice from the bottom in a four-voice TEXTURE, above the TENOR.
dynamics
Level of loudness or softness, or intensity.
echos
(Greek; pl. echoi) One of the eight MODES associated with BYZANTINE CHANT.
electronic music
Music based on sounds that are produced or modified through electronic means.
empfindsam style
(German, \”sensitive style\” or \”sentimental style\”) Close relative of the GALANT style, featuring surprising turns of HARMONY, CHROMATICISM, nervous RHYTHMS, and speechlike MELODIES.
enharmonic
(1) In ancient Greek music, adjective describing a TETRACHORD comprising a major third and two quartertones, or a MELODY that uses such tetrachords. (2) Adjective describing the relationship between two pitches that are notated differently but sound alike when played, such as G and A.
ensemble
(1) A group of singers or instrumentalists who perform together. (2) In an OPERA, a passage or piece for more than one singer.
episode
(1) In a FUGUE, a passage of free COUNTERPOINT between statements of the SUBJECT. (2) In RONDO FORM, a section between two statements of the main THEME. (3) A subsidiary passage between presentations of the main thematic material.
equal temperament
A TEMPERAMENT in which the octave is divided into twelve equal SEMITONES. This is the most commonly used tuning for Western music today.
estampie
Medieval instrumental DANCE that features a series of sections, each played twice with two different endings, OUVERT and CLOS.
ethos
(Greek, \”custom\”) (1) Moral and ethical character or way of being or behaving. (2) Character, mood, or emotional effect of a certain TONOS, MODE, METER, or MELODY.
étude
(French, \”study\”) An instrumental piece designed to develop a particular skill or performing technique. Certain nineteenth-century √©tudes that contained significant artistic content and were played in concert were called CONCERT √©TUDES.
exoticism
Nineteenth-century trend in which composers wrote music that evoked feelings and settings of distant lands or foreign cultures.
experimental music
A trend in twentieth-century music that focused on the exploration of new musical sounds, techniques, and resources.
exposition
(1) In a FUGUE, a set of entries of the SUBJECT. (2) In SONATA FORM, the first part of the MOVEMENT, in which the main THEMES are stated, beginning in the TONIC and usually closing in the DOMINANT (or relative major).
expressionism
Early-twentieth-century term derived from art, in which music avoids all traditional forms of \”beauty\” in order to express deep personal feelings through exaggerated gestures, angular MELODIES, and extreme DISSONANCE.

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