The medieval version of the rondo, in which two musical sections (a and b) are set to a text, resulting in the form ABaAabAB.
melismatic singing
Many notes sung to one syllable are said to be in this style.
Medieval fiddle
Sustaining line with a chant
the general surface sound produced by the interaction of the elements of music: melody, rhythm, harmony, color, texture, and form
a boy or adult singer who had been castrated to keep his voice from changing so that it would remain in the soprano register
a high, soprano–like voice produced by adult male singers when they sing in head voice and not in full chest voice
the belief that people can shape their world and have the capacity to create beautiful works of art for no other reason than aesthetic pleasure and enjoyment
the process by which one or more musical voices, or parts, enter and duplicate exactly for a period of time the music presented by the previous voice
a popular genre of secular vocal music that originated in Italy during the Renaissance, in which usually four or five voices sing love poems
a composition for choir or larger chorus setting a religious, devotional, or solemn text, often sung a cappella
basso continuo
a small ensemble of at least two instrumentalists who provide a foundation for the melody or melodies above, heard almost exclusively in Baroque music
term for the artistic period from 1600–1750; characterized by elaborate ornamentation, bold use of color, contrast, and energetic activity
Doctrine of Affections
the theory that different musical moods could and should be used to influence the emotions, or affections, of the listener
figured bass
early Baroque genre in which a few instruments accompanied a solo singer performing a song based on a highly charged, emotional text
terraced dynamics
a term used to describe the sharp, abrupt dynamic contrasts found in the music of the Baroque era
basso ostinato
a motive or phrase in the bass that is repeated again and again; in english Ground Bass
an elaborate lyrical song for solo voice
a style of singing and a type of song midway between an aria and a recitative
a term originally meaning “something sung;” in its mature state it consists of several movements, including one or more arias, ariosos, and recitatives; cantatas can be on secular subjects, but those of J. S. Bach are primarily sacred in content
chamber cantata
a genre that emphasized accompanied solo singing, it is usually divided into contrasting sections that alternate between recitative and aria; performed before a select group of listeners in a private residence
chamber music
music for soloists performed in the home or small auditorium
a general term connoting solo singing accompanied by a basso continuo in the early Baroque period
Italian for “obstinate;” a musical figure, motive, melody, harmony, or rhythm that is repeated again and again
an introductory movement usually for orchestra, that precedes an opera, oratorio, or dance suite
solo concerto
a concerto in which an orchestra and a single performer in turn present and develop the musical material in the spirit of harmonious competition
originally “something sounded” on an instrument as opposed to “something sung” (a “cantata”); later a multi–movement work for solo instrument, or instrument with keyboard accompaniment
walking bass
a bass line that moves at a moderate pace, mostly in equal note values, and often stepwise up or down the scale
a large–scale genre of sacred music involving an overture, arias, recitatives, and choruses, but sung, whether in a theater or a church, without costumes or scenery
Alberti bass
instead of having the pitches of a chord sound all together, the notes are played in succession to provide a continual stream of sound
birthplace of Mozart
(Italian for “tail”) a final and concluding section of a musical composition
the center–most portion of sonata–allegro form, in which the thematic material of the exposition is developed and extended, transformed, or reduced to its essence; it is often the most confrontational and unstable section of the movement
sonata–allegro form
a dramatic musical form of the Classical and Romantic periods involving an exposition, development, and recapitulation, with optional introduction and coda
ternary form
a three–part musical form in which the third section is a repeat of the first, hence ABA
an ancient musical form (surviving into the twentieth century) in which a refrain alternates with contrasting material
theme and variations
a musical form in which a theme continually returns but is varied by changing the notes of the melody, the harmony, the rhythm, or some other feature of the music
string quartet
a standard instrumental ensemble for chamber music consisting of a first and second violin, a viola, and cello; also a genre of music, usually in three of four movements, composed for this ensemble
diminished chord
a triad or seventh chord made up entirely of minor thirds and producing a tense, unstable sound