Added Value
A process by which rhythmic irregularity is created through the
addition of a note value or rest to a rhythmic figure.
Additive Rhythm
When the effect on the listener is one of unequal groupings of
subdivisions being added together.
Refers to music in which various elements of a composition are, in
varying degrees, determined by chance.
Alteration Symbols
Indicate that a given chord member is to be lowered
(flatted) or raised (sharped) by a semitone.
A term that refers to music that avoids reference to a tone center or
Bitonality, Bimodality or Polytonality
When two or more key centers are heard
at the same time.
Diatonic Planning
Involves parallel movement of vertical sonorities whose
structures are identical.
Displaced Accent
A technique whereby the composer intentionally violates the
normal metric accent pattern implied by the meter, shifting the accent to a
relatively weak beat.
Dodecaphonic Music
Music composed using the twelve-tone method.
Half-Step/Minor Third Scale
A six-note collection derived from the
juxtaposition of two augmented triads at the interval of a half step.
A term originally applied to a style of painting that sprang up
in France in the nineteenth century, the concept was reflected in music by a
turning away from more orderly formal procedures of the late eighteenth and
early nineteenth centuries and a fascination with color, as expressed through
harmony, instrumentation, and the use of rhythm.
Inversional Equivalence
A pitch class set and its mirror inversion (or inversion
followed by transposition) are considered to be equivalent.
The deliberate juxtaposition of minute melodic fragments
of contrasting timbre and register.
Metric Modulation
Term used by Elliott Carter to describe a method of
changing tempo by equating a particular note value to another note value, or
proportional note value, usually in the next bar.
Mixed Meter
The use of rapidly changing meter signatures.
Musique Concrete
A technique wherein natural sounds – such as a voice, an
instrument, or the ticking of a clock – are recorded and then subjected to
modification by means of altered playback speed, reversed tape direction,
fragmentation and splicing of the tape, creation of a tape loop, echo effect, and
other timbral manipulations.
Normal Order (or Normal Form)
To arrange members of a pitch class set into
an arbitrary ordering that is most compact.
Outside Interval
The interval between the first and last note of an ordering.
The attempt to equalize the seven tones of the diatonic scale so
that no single pitch is heard as a tone center.
A set of five pitch classes.
Five note scale which has played a significant role in music,
particularly non-Western music.
The use of chords in parallel motion.
The atomization of the melodic line.
Refers to the use of two or more meters at once, whether explicitly
notated or not.
Denotes a musical texture in which the listener is made aware of
two or more contrasting rhythmic streams.
Quartal Harmony
A sonority derived from stacked 4ths.
Quintal Harmony
A sonority derived from stacked 5ths.
A digital recorder that stores “sequences” of MIDI information rather
than actual sounds.
The process whereby such aspects of music as the subdivisions of
the beat, dynamic level of individual pitches, and, in the case of instrumental
music, choice of timbre were decided on by means of a predetermined rhythmic,
dynamic, and/or timbral series.
Split-Third Chord
The sonority in which both the major and minor quality are
built on the same root.
A vocal effect which is a cross between singing and dramatic
Tone Cluster
Any collection of three or more adjacent pitches in secundal
Whole-Tone Chords
Vertical sonorities that may result from whole-tone