Succession of single tones or pitches perceived by the mind as a unity.
Distance between the lowest and highest tones of a melody, an instrument or a voice. This span can be generally described as narrow, medium or wide in range.
An accompanying melody sounded against the principal melody.
The simultaneous combination of notes and the ensuing relationships of intervals and chords. Not all musics of the world rely on harmony for interest, but it is central to most Western music.
A series of tones or pitches in ascending or descending order. Scale tones are often assigned numbers (1-8) or syllables (do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do).
A collection of seven different pitches ordered in a specific pattern of whole and half steps, as shown below:

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
whole whole half whole whole whole half

A collection of seven different pitches ordered in a specific pattern of whole and half steps, as shown below:

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1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
whole half whole whole whole half whole

The first note of a scale (the tonic or keynote do), which serves as the home base around which the other pitches revolve and to which they ultimately gravitate.
Based on principles of major-minor tonality, as distinct from modal.
Total abandonment of tonality (centering in a key). Atonal music moves from one level of dissonance to another, without areas of relaxation.
Combination of tones that sounds discordant and unstable, in need of resolution.
Concordant or harmonious combination of tones that provides a sense of relaxation and stability in music.
Sustained sounding of one or several tones for harmonic support, a common feature of some folk musics.
The controlled movement of music in time.
Rate of speed or pace of music. Tempo markings are traditionally given in Italian; common markings include grave (solemn; very, very slow); largo (broad; very slow); adagio (quite slow); andante (a walking pace); moderato (moderate); allegro (fast; cheerful); vivace (lively); presto (very fast); accelerando (getting faster); ritardando (getting slower); and a tempo (in time; returning to the original pace).
Regular pulsation; a basic unit of length in musical time.
Organization of rhythm in time; the grouping of beats into larger, regular patterns, notated as measures. In simple meters, such as duple, triple, and quadruple, each beat subdivides into two; in compound meters, such as sextuple, each beat divides into three.
A rhythmic grouping or metrical unit that contains a fixed number of beats; in notated music, it appears as a vertical line through the staff.
Music lacking a strong sense of beat or meter, common in certain non-Western cultures.
Changing Meter
The numbers placed at the beginning of a composition to indicate the meter of the music, e.g. . The upper number indicates the beats in a measure; the lower number tells what kind of a note will receive one beat.
“Borrowed time”, common in Romantic music, in which the performer hesitates here or hurries forward there, imparting flexibility to the written note values. Also tempo rubato.
Getting faster.
Holding back, getting slower.
A short melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic pattern that is repeated throughout a work or a section of one.
The interweaving of melodic (horizontal) and harmonic (vertical) elements in the musical fabric. Texture is generally described as monophonic (single line), heterophonic (elaboration on a single line), homophonic (single line with accompaniment), or polyphonic (many voiced).
Single-line texture, or melody without accompaniment.
Two or more melodic lines combined into a multivoiced texture, as distinct from monophonic.
Smooth, connected melody that moves principally by small intervals.
Disjointed or disconnected melody with many leaps.
Accompanied; also a recitative that is accompanied by orchestra.
Vocal style established in the Baroque, with a solo singer and instrumental accompaniment.
The quality of a sound that distinguishes one voice or instrument from another. Also tone color.
Element of musical expression relating to the degree of loudness or softness, or volume, of a sound.
he dynamic effect of gradually growing louder, indicated in the musical score by the marking “<".
Growing softer.
Small fluctuation of pitch used as an expressive device to intensify a sound.
(Legato)-Smooth and connected; opposite of staccato. (Staccato)-Short, detached notes, marked with a dot above them.
The structure or shape of a musical work, based on repetition, contrast and variation; the organizing principle in music. Binary and ternary are basic forms, while more complex forms include sonata-allegro, rondo, minuet and trio, theme and variations, ritornello, and fugue.
Two-part (A-B) form is based on statement and departure. Also two-part form.
Three-part (A-B-A) form based on a statement (A), contrast or departure (B), and repetition (A). Also three-part form.
Sonata-Allegro Form
The opening movement of the sonata cycle, consisting of themes that are stated in the first section (exposition), developed in the second section (development), and restated in the third section (recapitulation). Also sonata form or first-movement form.
Polyphonic form popular in the Baroque era in which one or more themes are developed by imitative counterpoint.
Creation of a musical composition while it is being performed, seen in Baroque ornamentation, cadenzas of concertos, jazz, and some non-Western musics. See also embellishment.
Type of polyphonic composition in which one musical line strictly imitates another at a fixed distance throughout.
Song structure that is composed from beginning to end, without repetitions of large sections.
Chamber Music
Ensemble music for up to about ten players, with one player to a part.
Piano Trios
Standard chamber ensemble of piano with violin and cello.
String Quartets
The string quartet was one of the most common chamber ensembles. Its makeup is two violins, viola and cello.
Woodwind Quintets
Standard chamber ensemble consisting of one each of the following: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn (not a woodwind instrument).
To perform alone or as the predominant part.
A piece for two performers.
A piece for six instruments or voices. Six performers.
A piece for seven instruments or voices. Seven performers.
A piece for eight instruments or voices.
A piece for nine instruments or voices.