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

Saxophone
A wind instrument made of brass. It has a single reed and the sound is controlled by keys on the body.


Scale
A series of notes played one after the other, either from the lowest note to the highest note or from the highest note to the lowest note. There are many different scales.


Scherzo
An Italian word that means joke. It is a quick, fun piece of music that can be used as the second or third movement in a sonata, string quartet or symphony, and is also written as a solo piano piece.


Score
A copy of a piece of music that has the parts for all the instruments on it. This is what the conductor looks at.


Septet
A piece of music for seven instruments.


Serenade
An evening song for instruments or for singing.


Sextet
A piece of music for six instruments (or the musicians who play them).


Sharp
A symbol which raises a note by a half step when put in front of it in a piece of music. A sharp note sounds a little higher than a regular one.


Sinfonia
Italian for "symphony."


Snare Drum
A small double-sided drum with skin pulled tight over the top and the bottom. Metal wires (called snares) are stretched across the bottom skin, and rattle when the drum is struck.


Solo
A piece of music (part of a composition or a whole composition) written for a single voice or instrument.


Sonata
A piece of instrumental music written to be performed by a soloist usually, but not necessarily, consisting of several movements.


Song
A short piece of music written for a solo voice, with or without accompaniment.


Soprano
A woman or boy’s highest range of singing voice; also, a person having this voice.


Spiritual
An African-American song with religious words and a folk or folk-like tune.


Staccato
A direction in musical composition telling musicians to play short, sharp, disconnected notes.


Staff
A set of five lines and four spaces on which notes are written to indicate their pitch. A clef at the beginning of the staff tells which notes are on which lines.


String
A string instrument has strings (wires or cords) that are plucked or picked or played with a bow. It also has a hollow body to make the sound bigger. Some string instruments are the guitar, violin, harp, and cello.


Suite
An ordered set of instrumental pieces, using newly composed or existing music like dances or folk songs. The suite also became a convenient way to arrange music written for plays, ballet, opera, and even film, for concert performance.


Symphony
A term now normally taken to signify an extended work for orchestra, consisting of several movements. The symphony became the chief vehicle of orchestral music in the late 18th century, and from the time of Beethoven came to be regarded as its highest and most exalted form.


Syncopation
Sudden changes in the rhythm of a piece of music, in what notes are accented, and in the value of notes produces syncopation. It often sounds like the music has been cut short and then started again.


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

Saxophone
A wind instrument made of brass. It has a single reed and the sound is controlled by keys on the body.


Scale
A series of notes played one after the other, either from the lowest note to the highest note or from the highest note to the lowest note. There are many different scales.


Scherzo
An Italian word that means joke. It is a quick, fun piece of music that can be used as the second or third movement in a sonata, string quartet or symphony, and is also written as a solo piano piece.


Score
A copy of a piece of music that has the parts for all the instruments on it. This is what the conductor looks at.


Septet
A piece of music for seven instruments.


Serenade
An evening song for instruments or for singing.


Sextet
A piece of music for six instruments (or the musicians who play them).


Sharp
A symbol which raises a note by a half step when put in front of it in a piece of music. A sharp note sounds a little higher than a regular one.


Sinfonia
Italian for "symphony."


Snare Drum
A small double-sided drum with skin pulled tight over the top and the bottom. Metal wires (called snares) are stretched across the bottom skin, and rattle when the drum is struck.


Solo
A piece of music (part of a composition or a whole composition) written for a single voice or instrument.


Sonata
A piece of instrumental music written to be performed by a soloist usually, but not necessarily, consisting of several movements.


Song
A short piece of music written for a solo voice, with or without accompaniment.


Soprano
A woman or boy’s highest range of singing voice; also, a person having this voice.


Spiritual
An African-American song with religious words and a folk or folk-like tune.


Staccato
A direction in musical composition telling musicians to play short, sharp, disconnected notes.


Staff
A set of five lines and four spaces on which notes are written to indicate their pitch. A clef at the beginning of the staff tells which notes are on which lines.


String
A string instrument has strings (wires or cords) that are plucked or picked or played with a bow. It also has a hollow body to make the sound bigger. Some string instruments are the guitar, violin, harp, and cello.


Suite
An ordered set of instrumental pieces, using newly composed or existing music like dances or folk songs. The suite also became a convenient way to arrange music written for plays, ballet, opera, and even film, for concert performance.


Symphony
A term now normally taken to signify an extended work for orchestra, consisting of several movements. The symphony became the chief vehicle of orchestral music in the late 18th century, and from the time of Beethoven came to be regarded as its highest and most exalted form.


Syncopation
Sudden changes in the rhythm of a piece of music, in what notes are accented, and in the value of notes produces syncopation. It often sounds like the music has been cut short and then started again.


 

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