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Elements of Music

50 51 glossary oF tErMs AccidentAl Any of the five symbols bb, b, nat, , x that lower or raise a pitch by one or two semitones, usually used to alter or restore a key. Add An intermediary or nonchord tone added to a chord for flavouring or colour, usually a 2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 11th, or 13th. AnAcrusis A pickup or upbeat, preceding a metrically strong downbeat. AppoggiAturA A dissonant tone that occurs on a strong beat, and then resolves to a consonance or chord tone, it leans against the consonance and then relaxes into it. Augmented Used to describe an interval or chord. With intervals, it indicates a perfect or major interval raised one semitone, with chords, it indicates a major triad with a raised fifth. BinAry Form A basic AB structure in musical form, often each contrasting section repeats. cAdence A gesture or assembly of notes and rhythms that suggest a sense of closure, pause, or finality to a musical phrase or section. cAesurA A pause or rest. cAmBiAtA A dissonance formula that is a double neighbor group, effectively a tone and its two flanking tones, above and below. chord Three or more tones sounding together as an independent entity. They are often spelled largely in thirds, the primary core being a triad. chromAtic colourful, used to indicate music using semitones, accidentals, or the entire 12tone collection, contrasted with diatonic. cleF A symbol placed at the beginning of the staff that indicates where pitches are to be placed on the lines and spaces of the staff, the three types being the Gclef, Fclef, and Cclef. consonAnce The relative stability of a musical interval, generally not requiring resolution, contrasted with dissonance. Most often octaves, fifths, fourths, thirds, and sixths. counterpoint The simultaneity of independent lines, which are coherent horizontally and vertically, adhering to strict rules about consonance and dissonance, with historical variance. crescendo A gradual increasing in volume and intensity, indicated by an expanding hairpin in musical notation. decrescendo A gradual decreasing in volume and intensity, indicated by a contracting hairpin in musical notation. diAtonic A scale comprised of seven different contiguous tones, with a specific relationship of whole and half steps, often used to describe major and minor. Contrasted with chromatic. Also describes music that adheres to this scale. diminished Used to describe a musical interval or chord, either the lowering of a perfect interval by one semitone, or a triad with a minor third and diminished fifth. dissonAnce One or more musical intervals that suggest instability, most often seconds and sevenths, and tend to require some form of resolution to a consonance. dominAnt The scale degree a fifth above a root or tonic of a key, also a powerful station of the scale, that often suggests its own resolution, back to the tonic. Often it is present in a cadence. dronAl Music that is primarily melodic and rhythmic, lacking harmonic movement, with all scale tones relating to a drone or still point. epigrAm As used in this book, a musical motive or idea that has just enough particularity and individuality to constitute a recognizable shape and identity, often functioning as a basic building block of an entire composition. schAppe Escape tone, a dissonance on a weak part of the beat that is approached by step, followed by a leap to a consonance in the opposite direction. extension Tones above the octave added to a chord to enrich its overall colour without altering its function, always a 9th, 11th, or 13th. Also known as a tension. FlAt A symbol used to indicate a lowering of a natural by one semitone. Also used to describe a tone that is tuned slightly under pitch. Forte A symbol in dynamics used to indicate music to be played strongly or loudly, contrasted with piano. FricAtive A frictionbased consonant in spoken language, such as F, V, H, and TH. guide tone Usually the 3rd and 7th of a chord, acting as leading tones that maximise the forward motion of a harmonic progression. hAlF step See Semitone. hArmonic minor One of the three types of minor scales, in which the 6th scale degree is lowered and the 7th scale degree is raised, to allow for the dominant chord to be major. Thus it has the interval of an augmented second between the 6th and 7th. hArmonics Each of the component tones of the overtones series, which imbue the lowest tone, the fundamental, with timbre or colour, each being mathematically related to it in wholenumber ratios, 1x, 2x, 3x, gradually increasing in frequency. Many string and wind instruments can be played in such a way to reveal these softer upper tones. hArmony The relationship of a vertical arrangement of tones when sounding together, also a chord, and the way in which chords relate and are organised through time. ictus A metric accent or strong beat, often a downbeat. intervAl The distance between two pitches. inversion With musical intervals, it is the operation of taking the bottom note and placing it at the top, so a 2nd yields a 7th, 3rd a 6th, 4th a 5th, and so on. In harmony, it indicates that a note other than the root of the chord is in the bass. Key A collection of pitches that reinforce one note as a tonic. There are 12 major and 12 minor keys in Western music, each built upon one of the 12 notes, with sharps and flats added accordingly to preserve whole steps and half steps. Key signAture The global instruction indicating which notes are to be raised or lowered in a composition to preserve and express a particular scale, placed at the beginning of a staff before the meter and after the clef. leAding tone The seventh scale degree of any scale, most often a half step below the tonic. legAto A musical instruction to play the notes in a connected and smooth fashion, with no breaks in between. mAjor In describing musical intervals, this indicates the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th as they occur naturally in the major scale. In describing chords, a triad that is made up of a perfect fifth, and in between a major third, placed above the root. Contrasted with minor. Also describes an overall scale or key flavour, always referring to the third of the scale. meAsureBAr A parcel of musical time, segmented by the meter, in which one complete grouping is delimited. In notation, a measure is separated by a line on either side. mediAnt The third scale degree of any scale. melismAtic Vocal music that has two or more pitches assigned to one syllable. melodic minor One of the three minors, in this scale the 6th and 7th scale degrees are altered to appear as they do in the major scale to heighten the upward movement to the tonic. Often a descending version also exists as an unaltered version of the natural minor. melody The succession of tones in time, arranged in a meaningful pattern, which can be of varying lengths. meter A pattern of rhythmic groupings indicated by a fraction, in which the numerator indicates the number of beats per measure, and the denominator indicates the type of subdivisions to receive the beat quarter, eighth, sixteenth. The two basic forms of meter are duple and triple. minor In describing musical intervals, this indicates a major interval lowered by a semitone or half step. In harmony, a chord that is made up of a perfect fifth, and in between a minor third, placed above the root. Contrasted with major. Also describes an overall scale or key flavour. Western music identifies three types of minors, natural, harmonic, and melodic. modAl Music that utilises scales other than major and minor, such as Phrygian, Dorian, Lydian, etc. see pp. 89. Often this type of music does not modulate. modulAtion A changing of key or scale in which the tonal center moves, and the accidentals required for one scale are introduced to alter the previous one. This is most easily conveyed by a IIV VI harmonic formula. nAturAl An accidental that cancels a sharp, flat, double sharp, or double flat, corresponding to the white notes on the piano. nAturAl minor The Aeolian mode, this is the minor scale without any alterations to its 6th or 7th scale degrees. neighBor tone A nonchord tone that exists above or below a chord tone as a temporary dissonance and decoration, usually on a weak beat. octAtonic An eightnote scale, most often referring to diminished scales. overtone series A natural acoustic phenomenon occurring wherever a vibration of a string or air through a pipe occurs. The length of the vibration increasingly subdivides, yielding vibrations or frequencies higher in sound than the largest vibration. These arrange together to form timbre, and communicate the identity of the sound. Also responsible for the vowels in spoken language. pAssing tone An intermediary tone between two chord tones, usually a dissonance, occurring on a weak beat. pentAtonic A fivenote scale, most often referring to the first five fifths when arranged together, 12356. Also the black notes on the piano. perFect A musical interval of an octave, 5th, 4th, and unison, which most closely resemble the first acoustic intervals of the overtone series. piAno A musical instruction indicating music to be played softly or quietly. Contrasted with forte. plosives An explosive sounding consonant in spoken language, often a B, P, D, G, or Q. polyrhythms The simultaneous use of two different rhythmic patterns that do not directly relate to oneanother, also called cross rhythms. register A specific region of the entire pitch range of an instrument, voice, or piece of music. rhythm The temporal arrangement of movement, quite often possessing a pulse. root The bottommost pitch of a triad or chord, which conveys its function and identity in the context of a harmonic progression. This is always discoverable by arranging the notes into closely voiced thirds. rounded BinAry A musical structure in the form ABA, where the last A is a shorter, truncated version of the first. semitone A half step, the smallest interval in Western traditional music. Two adjacent notes on the piano, whether white or black. shArp A symbol used to indicate a raising of a natural by one semitone. Also used to describe a tone that is tuned slightly above pitch. siBilAnts A type of fricative consonant in spoken language, at higher frequencies, often resembling a hissing sound, such as S, and Z. sonAtA As used in this book, specifically a formal procedure which presents two contrasting themes, the second being in a key other than the tonic often the dominant, followed by a modulatory and free development section, and then a recapitulation in which the two themes are presented again, and the second theme is restored to the tonic key. stAccAto A musical instruction indicating notes to be played in a detached fashion, usually marked by a small dot above or below the note. suBdominAnt The fourth scale degree, a fifth below the tonic, and a whole step below the dominant. It often functions as a departure from the tonic and a preparation for the dominant. suBmediAnt The sixth scale degree of any scale, a third below the tonic. suBtonic The seventh scale degree of any scale, most often a whole tone below the tonic see Leading tone. supertonic The second scale degree of any scale, a step above the tonic. suspension A chord in which the third is held or suspended from resolving as the rest of the tones resolve, prepared in the previous chord. In modern music, the suspension needs no preparation, nor resolution. syllABic Vocal music that has only one pitch assigned to a syllable. syncopAtion A rhythmic procedure by which strong beats are shifted to weak beats, temporarily obscuring the sense of pulse or meter. The use of syncopation is one of the strongest indicators of musical styles around the world. tempo The rate or speed of a musical performance through time. tenuto A musical instruction indicating notes that are to be played in a sustained or extended fashion, usually marked by a line or dash above or below the note. ternAry A musical structure in the form ABA, where the last A is generally a complete repetition of the first. tonAl Music using the principles of tonic dominant relationships, predominantly the major and minor systems prevalent in Western music. tonic The home or resting point of a scale, the strongest point of gravity to which all other tones in the scale relate, the first scale degree. tonicizAtion A temporary support of and pointing to a tonal center other than the tonic, but not firmly confirmed, which only occurs in a modulation. trAnsposition A moving of the notes of a composition up or down from one key to another, while keeping the relative intervals intact. triAd A threenote structure, arranged in thirds, and resulting in one of the four chord types major, minor, diminished, or augmented. tritone A diminished 5th, or augmented 4th, made of three whole tones, or six semitones. The largest symmetrical interval in the Western scale, it divides the octave perfectly in half, and is its own inversion. Often utilised in a dominant 7th chord represented by the fourth and seventh scale degrees of a major scale, it has a powerful forward drive towards resolution by contraction or expansion, and is in fact the liberating force that unlocks the puzzle of tonality by pushing and pulling into and out of one key into another. Whole tone Also a whole step, comprised of two half steps or semitones.
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