Musical Terms

8eva - an octave higher

A tempo - resume the normal speed after a diversion

Accelerando (accel.) - gradually becoming faster

Adagio - slowly, leisurely

Ad libitum - at pleasure, quite freely

Agitato - with agitation

Allargando - broadening out, often with an increase of tone

Allegretto - moderately fast; slightly slower than allegro

Allegro - lively and reasonably fast

Andante - at an easy walking pace

Andantino - a little slower (or a little faster than Andante)

Animato - with animation

Arco - (for string players) with the bow

Attacca - go on at once

Ben marcato - well marked

Brilliante - sparkling, brilliant

Brio - vigour

Calando - getting softer and slower

Cantabile - in a singing style

Capo - the beginning

Con anima - with feeling

Con brio - with spirit

Con forza - with forza

Con grazia - with grace

Con moto - with movement

Con sordini - with the mutes

Crescendo (cresc.) - gradually becoming louder

Da Capo (D.C) - from the beginning

Dal capo al fine or D.C. al fine written under the last bar of apiece of section - the music is to be repeated right from the beginning until it reaches the word ¡®fine (the end).

Dal Segno - from the sign ; the music is to be repeated from where the sign occurs earlier in the piece, then carrying on to the end.

Decrescendo (decresc.) - gradually becoming softer

Diminuendo (dim.) - gradually becoming softer

Dolce - soft and sweet

Forte (f) - loud

Forte - piano (fp) - loud then immediately soft

Fortissimo (ff) - very loud

Forzando (fz or sfz) - with a strong accent

Giocoso - gay, merry

Grave - very slowly

Grazioso - gracefully

Largo - slowly and stately, broad

Larghetto - slower than Largo

Legato - smoothly

Leggiero - lightly

Lento - slowly

Loco - at the normal pitch (generally after playing an octave higher)

Maestoso - majestically

Main droite (M.D.) - right hand

Main gauche (M.G) - left hand

Marcato - marked, accented

Meno mosso - slower, less movement

Mezzo forte (mf) - moderately loud

Mezzo piano (mp) - moderately soft

Mezzo staccato - moderately short and detached; shown by dots covered with a slur

Misterioso - mysteriously

Moderato ¨Cat a moderate speed

Molto - very, much

Morendo - dying away

M.M - Maelzel¡¯s metronome

Opus - a work or group of works

Ossia - or (an alternative version)

Ped. - depress the sustaining pedal of the pianoforte

Perdendosi - dying away

Pesante - heavily

Piacevole - pleasing

Piano (p) - soft

Pianissimo (pp) - very soft

Piu mosso - quicker

Pizzicato (pizz.) - plucked (in string music)

Poco - a little

Poco a poco - little by little (gradually)

Presto - very fast

Prestissimo - extremely fast, or as fast as possible

Rallentando (rall.) - gradually becoming slower

Risoluto - with resolution, boldly

Ritardando (retard.) - gradually becoming slower

Ritenuto (riten. or rit.) - immediately slower or hold back

Ritmico - rhythmically

Scherzando - playfully

Sempre - always

Senza - without

Sforzando (sf) - a strong (sudden) accent

Simile - in a similar manner

Sostenuto - sustained

Staccato - detached, short; note sustained for half the written length (shown by a dot above or below each note)

Stringendo - gradually faster

Subito - suddenly

Tempo - the speed of the music

Tenuto (ten.) - hold

Tranquillo ¨Cquietly, calmly

Tre corde - release the left, soft pedal of the pianoforte (with three strings)

Troppo - too much

Une corda - depress the left, soft pedal of the pianoforte (with one string)

Vivace - lively

Vivo - lively


Accent - accent; give prominence, play with force
[Respectively, strong accent marcato, normal accent, and tenuto]

Dot Passage - the music or passage between the dots is to be played again

Fermata(fermata) - musical symbol placed over a note or rest to be extended beyond its normal duration

Bind - tie or bind, indicating that the note being played or sung sustained, unbroken, through the total time value of the notes

Slur - slur; a group of notes are played under a single bow stroke (string), or without retonguing (wind), or in one breath (singing), so that the notes move smoothly with no perceptible break

Metronome - metronome mark, indicating the speed at which a piece is to be played; 60 crotchets to the minute

Up Bow - up - bow (bowed instrument - bow is pushed across the string); up - stroke (guitar - the string is plucked with the hand moving upwards)

Down Bow - down - bow (bowed instrument - bow is pulled across the string); down - stroke (guitar - the string is plucked with the hand moving downwards)

- a less strong accent placed above or below the note meaning that it is to be stressed but not as strongly as when marked as > or