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

Tambourine
A small drum with pieces of metal on the sides. To play it, a person shakes, or hits with their hand.


Tempo
The rate of speed of a piece of music


Tenor
The highest natural adult male singing voice; also, a person having this voice.


Ternary Form
A piece of music for voice or instrument with three different sections. A scherzo is a piece of music in ternary form.


Theme
A melody in a piece of music that is shorter than a movement.


Theremin
An early electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the performer. The device was originally called the etherphone, based on the method it used to convey sound through the disruption of electronic current. It came to be named after the westernized name of its Russian inventor, Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.


Timbre
The quality or color of sound that makes one voice or instrument different from another.


Time
The time of a piece of music is how it is divided up ? how long each note will be, and how many notes will be in a measure. For example, say a piece of music is in 3-4 time. This means that in each measure there are three counts (1-2-3), and a quarter note (shown by the 4) gets one of those counts (or beats).


Timpani
Italian for Kettle drum


Tone Poem
A one-movement piece of program music, also called a symphonic poem.


Transcription
An arrangement of a piece of music for an instrument or voice other than the one for which it was originally written.


Treble
The highest voice in a piece of music written for several voices.


Treble Clef
The other name for the G clef. This is the top set of lines (staff) in a piece of music. The treble clef is shown by a fancy letter G. Where the clef is on the staff shows what each note written in the music is.


Tremolo
Playing a note again and again very quickly.


Triangle
A triangle of metal that is played by tapping it with a metal rod.


Trill
Quickly playing one note, then another note, then the first note again, and the second note again, and so on. The second note can be higher or lower than the first note.


Trio
A piece of music for three instruments.


Triple
Music that is felt in groups of three beats.


Trombone
A brass wind instrument with a long metal tube with two turns in it. To play it, blow into the mouthpiece, and use the movable slide or valves to change the sound.


Troubadour
A poet/musician in 12th and 13th century France.


Trumpet
A wind instrument with a metal tube with two turns in it, a cup-shaped mouthpiece, and a bell-shaped opening. Pressing on valves changes the sound.


Tuba
A large brass instrument, oval in shape with a mouthpiece and a big bell-shaped opening. The sound is changed by pressing valves. It plays very low notes.


Tuning Fork
A two-pronged metal tool. When it is hit, it gives off a tone that can be used to make sure that an instrument is in tune (has the right pitch when a note is played).


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

Tambourine
A small drum with pieces of metal on the sides. To play it, a person shakes, or hits with their hand.


Tempo
The rate of speed of a piece of music


Tenor
The highest natural adult male singing voice; also, a person having this voice.


Ternary Form
A piece of music for voice or instrument with three different sections. A scherzo is a piece of music in ternary form.


Theme
A melody in a piece of music that is shorter than a movement.


Theremin
An early electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the performer. The device was originally called the etherphone, based on the method it used to convey sound through the disruption of electronic current. It came to be named after the westernized name of its Russian inventor, Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.


Timbre
The quality or color of sound that makes one voice or instrument different from another.


Time
The time of a piece of music is how it is divided up ? how long each note will be, and how many notes will be in a measure. For example, say a piece of music is in 3-4 time. This means that in each measure there are three counts (1-2-3), and a quarter note (shown by the 4) gets one of those counts (or beats).


Timpani
Italian for Kettle drum


Tone Poem
A one-movement piece of program music, also called a symphonic poem.


Transcription
An arrangement of a piece of music for an instrument or voice other than the one for which it was originally written.


Treble
The highest voice in a piece of music written for several voices.


Treble Clef
The other name for the G clef. This is the top set of lines (staff) in a piece of music. The treble clef is shown by a fancy letter G. Where the clef is on the staff shows what each note written in the music is.


Tremolo
Playing a note again and again very quickly.


Triangle
A triangle of metal that is played by tapping it with a metal rod.


Trill
Quickly playing one note, then another note, then the first note again, and the second note again, and so on. The second note can be higher or lower than the first note.


Trio
A piece of music for three instruments.


Triple
Music that is felt in groups of three beats.


Trombone
A brass wind instrument with a long metal tube with two turns in it. To play it, blow into the mouthpiece, and use the movable slide or valves to change the sound.


Troubadour
A poet/musician in 12th and 13th century France.


Trumpet
A wind instrument with a metal tube with two turns in it, a cup-shaped mouthpiece, and a bell-shaped opening. Pressing on valves changes the sound.


Tuba
A large brass instrument, oval in shape with a mouthpiece and a big bell-shaped opening. The sound is changed by pressing valves. It plays very low notes.


Tuning Fork
A two-pronged metal tool. When it is hit, it gives off a tone that can be used to make sure that an instrument is in tune (has the right pitch when a note is played).


 

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