Music Dictionary

author: EthanBrand date: 01/20/2004 category: the basics

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The more you know, the better. When I began I had troubles understanding simple things, well they are simple in hindsight. I will try to define and explain words that you will see a lot of if you want to further your playing. Now try and stay awake while reading this. Accidentals - Flats, double flats, naturals, sharps, and double sharps. Aeolean - A seven-note scale. (e.g. W H W W H W W, also known as the Natural Minor Scale) Arpeggio - The sounding of the tones of a chord in rapid succession rather than simultaneously. (A broke chord) Augmented - Refering to either an interval that is one-half step, or a semitone, larger than a perfect or a major interval. (Like a Caug Chord, remember augment means to make larger) Barre - The use of your index finger to hold down more than one string at one fret in a single chord. (e.g. The F# Barre Chord) Circle Of Fifths - A musical tool showing the relativity between keys. Chord - A chord is a set of three or more pitches that sound at the same time. (No need to explain) Chromatic - Refering to notes that are altered by the use of an accidental. (Notes that are one-half step apart) Diatonic - Of or using only the seven tones of a standard scale without chromatic alterations. (Music that remains within the confines of a single key) Diminished - Refering to either an interval that is one-half step less than a perfect or a minor interval. (D diminished chord contains D, F, and Ab.) Dominant - The fifth scale degree. (Built on the fifth scale degree (V)) Enharmonic - The relationship between two pitch classes that represent the same note. (i.e. G# and Ab) Harmonics - Any of a series of musical tones whose frequencies are integral multiples of the frequency of a fundamental tone. (Barely press on a string and sound the string it will give it a "thud" sound and thats a common harmonic) Interval - The distance between two pitches. (i.e. B is a half step away from C) Inversion - The term used to specify which chord tone is the lowest. (Of chords) Ionian - A seven-note scale. (e.g. W W H W W W H, also known as the Major Scale) Legato - Smooth and connected, in a flowing manner. (As in a 'Legato slide') Key - Refers to the tonic center of musical passage that adhears to a single mode. (The Key of C, Major - Chord, consisting of a major third and a perfect fifth. (D major chord contains D, F#, and A.) Minor - Chord, a minor third, and then a major thirds, which still adds up to a perfect fifth. Mode - A seven-note scale spanning an entire octave. (There are seven common modes) Modulate - To change keys. Octave - The relationship between two pitches where one has a frequency of 2 times the other. (When sounded together they sound the same) Pentatonic - Of or using only five tones, usually the first, second, third, fifth, and sixth tones of a diatonic scale. (e.g. The Am Pentatonic Scale) Rhythm - A general term used to refer to the position of musical events in time. (Self-explantory) Resolve - A musical progression which brings an ending to part of a piece. Root - The note a chord is built on. (G is the root for the G Chord) Scale - An ordered set of pitches that cover a range of one octave. (e.g. The Major Scale) Seventh - Chord, a series of stacked thirds forming a four-note chord. Suspended - Chord, containing either the root, second, and fifth (sus2), or the root, fourth, and fifth (sus4). Tonal - Hierarchy of pitches which functionally support or reference one pitch as the focal point or primary center, called the tonic. Tonic - The primary pitch which functions as the focal point or primary center of a key in tonal music. (Also known as an octave) Triad - A chord consisting of three pitch classes that form two stacked thirds. (Is the basis of tonal harmony) Vibrato - A tremulous or pulsating effect produced by rapid variations in pitch. (Hammering-on the string when the note has been sounded) Whole Step - An interval equal to two half-steps.
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