Music Dictionary

Musical Dictionary

Our Interactive Dictionary of Musical Terms.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Oboe
A woodwind instrument with a double reed at the tip. Sound is made when a person blows through the mouthpiece, and sounds are changed by pushing down keys.


Octave
Eight notes in order (for example, A B C D E F G A is an octave). These seven letters are the only notes. An octave begins and ends on the same note.


Octet
A piece of music for eight instruments.


Opera
A play set to orchestral music in which the characters sing all their lines. Operas can also contain orchestral overtures and interludes as well as choruses.


Opera Bouffe
French for comic opera. This is a light, funny kind of opera.


Opera Buffa
Italian for comic opera. This is a light, funny kind of opera.


Opera Comique
French opera with spoken words, instead of singing.


Opera Seria
Serious opera. These operas are about heroes and myths.


Operetta
Like opera, an operetta is a play set to music in which the characters sing. However, in opera everything is sung. In operetta, there are spoken lines between the singing.


Opus
Opus means work. It is used by those who write music to keep their music in order. For example, their first piece of music might be called Opus 1, and their second might be Opus 2.


Oratorio
A piece of music for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, that is usually based on a religious story, often with text from the Bible.


Orchestra
A mixed group of instruments, with a large number of string instruments, and wind and percussion too.


Orchestration
Putting together an arrangement of a piece of music for all the different instruments in the orchestra.


Organ
A keyboard instrument with many pipes made to sound by forcing air through them, and controlled by keyboards and pedals. Also called a pipe organ. Organs are used a lot in churches.


overture
A piece of music played at the beginning of a play, opera or ballet in order to set the mood; also, an orchestral concert piece written as a single movement.


Music Dictionary

Musical Dictionary

Our Interactive Dictionary of Musical Terms.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Oboe
A woodwind instrument with a double reed at the tip. Sound is made when a person blows through the mouthpiece, and sounds are changed by pushing down keys.


Octave
Eight notes in order (for example, A B C D E F G A is an octave). These seven letters are the only notes. An octave begins and ends on the same note.


Octet
A piece of music for eight instruments.


Opera
A play set to orchestral music in which the characters sing all their lines. Operas can also contain orchestral overtures and interludes as well as choruses.


Opera Bouffe
French for comic opera. This is a light, funny kind of opera.


Opera Buffa
Italian for comic opera. This is a light, funny kind of opera.


Opera Comique
French opera with spoken words, instead of singing.


Opera Seria
Serious opera. These operas are about heroes and myths.


Operetta
Like opera, an operetta is a play set to music in which the characters sing. However, in opera everything is sung. In operetta, there are spoken lines between the singing.


Opus
Opus means work. It is used by those who write music to keep their music in order. For example, their first piece of music might be called Opus 1, and their second might be Opus 2.


Oratorio
A piece of music for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, that is usually based on a religious story, often with text from the Bible.


Orchestra
A mixed group of instruments, with a large number of string instruments, and wind and percussion too.


Orchestration
Putting together an arrangement of a piece of music for all the different instruments in the orchestra.


Organ
A keyboard instrument with many pipes made to sound by forcing air through them, and controlled by keyboards and pedals. Also called a pipe organ. Organs are used a lot in churches.


overture
A piece of music played at the beginning of a play, opera or ballet in order to set the mood; also, an orchestral concert piece written as a single movement.


 

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