A cappella
choral music without instrumental accompaniment
Ars Nova “new art”
a term used by musical theorists to describe the profound stylistic changes of italian and french music in the 14th century
Church Modes
Scales containing 7 tones with an 8th tone duplicating the first octave higher, but with patterns of whole and half steps different from major and minor scales; used in medieval, Renaissance, and twentieth-century music and in folk
long, sustained tone or tones accompanying a melody
a medieval dance that is one of the earliest surviving forms of instrumental music
Gregorian Chant
melodies set to sacred Latin texts, sung without accompaniment; Gregorian chant was the official music of the Roman Catholic Church
the dominant intellectual movement of the Renaissance, focusing on human life and its accomplishments
Instrumental Music
consisted of recorders, shawms, cornetts, sackbuts, lutes, viols, organs, regals, and harpsichords
Plucked string instrument shaped like half a pear; used in Renaissance and baroque music
Lute Song
A simpler type of secular music, has a solo voice usually accompanied by a lute. Mostly homophonic texture
Sacred choral composition made up of five sections: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei
Mass ordinary
Roman Catholic Church texts that remain the same from day to day throughout most of the year: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei
Composition for several voices set to a short secular poem, usually about love, combining homophonic and polyphonic textures and often using word painting; common in Renaissance
polyphonic choral work set to a sacred Latin text other than that of the mass; one of the two main forms of sacred Renaissance music
Medieval polyphony that consists of Gregorian chant and one or more additional melodic lines
(1450-1600) term used to describe the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Europe, a period of geographic exploration and adventure as well as intellectual curiosity and individualism
One of the main poetic and musical forms in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century France
Word painting
musical representation of specific poetic images- ex. running might be heard as rapid notes-often heard in Renaissance or Baroque
Middle Ages
(450-1450 A.D.)
Baroque period
emotional states like joy, grief, and agitation represented in baroque music through specific musical languages
Terraced Dynamics
abrupt alteration between loud and soft dynamic levels; characteristic of baroque music
baroque keyboard instrument in which sound is produced by means of brass blades striking strings, capable of making gradual dynamic changes, but within a narrow volume range
Baso Continuo
baroque accompaniment made up of a bass part usually played by two instruments: a keyboard plus a low melodic instrument
Figured Bass
Bass part of a baroque accompaniment with figures (numbers) above it indicating the chords to be played.
Piece that sounds fairly complete and independent but is part of a larger composition
In italian, all; the full orchestra, or a large group of musicians contrasted with a smaller group; often heard in baroque music
in italian, refrain; a repeated section of music usually played by the full orchestra, or tutti, in baroque compositions
Ritornello form
compositional form usually employed in the baroque concerto grosso, in which the tutti plays a ritornello, or refrain, alternating with one or more soloists playing new material
theme of a fugue
second presentation of the subject in a fugue, usually in the dominant scale
in a fugue, a melodic idea that accompanies the subject fairly constantly
transitional section in a fugue between presentations of the subject, which offers either new material or fragments of the subject or countersubject
compositional procedure used in fugues, in which a subject is imitated before it is completed; one voice tries to catch the other
Pedal Point (organ point)
single tone, usually in the bass, which is held while the other voices produce a series of changing harmonies against it; often found in fugues
variation of a fugue subject in which each interval of the subject is reversed in direction
variation of a fugue subject in which the subject is presented by beginning with its last note and proceeding backward to the first
variation of a fugue subject in which the original time values of the subject are lengthened
polyphonic composition based on one main theme, or subject
variation of a fugue subject in which the original time values of the subject are shortened
short piece usually serving to introduce a fugue or another composition; a short piece for a piano
in italian, fellowship or society; a group of nobles, poets, and composers who began to meet regularly in Florence around 1575 and whose musical discussions prepared the way for the beginning for opera
male singer castrated before puberty to retain a high voice range; the most important category of vocal soloists in opera during the baroque period
Secco Recitative
speechlike melody that is sung by a solo voice accompanied only by a basso cantinuo
Accompanied recitative
speechlike melody that is sung by a solo voice accompanied by the orchestra
Da Capo
from the beginning; an indication usually meaning that the opening section of a piece is to be repeated after the middle section
Da Capo aria
aria in A B A form; after the B section, the term da capo is written; this means from the beginning and indicates a repetition of the opening A section
Ground Bass (basso ostinato)
variation form in which a musical idea in the bass is repeated over and over while the melodies above it continually change; common in baroque music
Basso ostinato
another term for ground base
musical ornament consisting of the rapid alternation of two tones that are a whole or half step apart
in baroque music, a set of dance-inspired movements all written in the same key but differing in tempo, meter and character
French overture
common opening piece in baroque suites, oratorios, and opera; usually in two parts: the first slow, with characteristic dotted rhythms, full of dignity and grandeur; the second quick and lighter in mood, often starting like a fugue
Hymn tune sung to a German religious text
Chorale prelude
short composition for organ, based on a hymn tune and often used to remind the congregation of the melody before the hymn is sung