Below is the list of top 50 Musical Terms You Should Know
Accent refers to when a specific note/phrase is
emphasized with an increase in intensity
above the general non-accented notes.
'Adagio' is defined as 'slowly'
in Italian. Adagio is a piece that must be played with a
'Allegro' roughly translates to 'cheerful' in Italian. In music, Allegro describes it as
being played at an upbeat and bright tempo.
Andante is described as a moderately slow tempo or 'at a walking pace'.
Alto refers to the contrapuntal part that is higher than the tenor and its associated vocal
range. In a 4-part voice, Alto is the second-highest part.
An arpeggio is a type of broken chord. In Arpeggio, the notes that create a chord are played
or sung in a rising or descending order.
In music, a bar is a segment of time that represents the number of beats in which each beat
is represented by a particular note value. After fixing the bars, you must write your lyrics
within the boundaries of a bar.
A Cadence is a basically a two-chord progression at the end of a phrase in music.
A Cadenza is a specific part where soloists are allowed to sing in a "free" rhythmic style
and often allowing virtuosic display.
Canon in music is when a melody is based on a strict imitation principle. An initial melody
is emulated at a specified time interval by one or more parts, either at the same pitch or
some other pitch.
It is a symbol used to describe the pitch of written notes.
When kept on a stave, it
indicates the name and pitch of the notes on the lines.
Coda is Italian for 'tail'. A coda is a final passage that slides the piece or specific
movement to an end. It is an expanded cadence technically.
It is a method used by composers to indicate that the music passage should gradually
increase in loudness over time. It is to describe that the volume is increasing.
14. Da Capo
Da capo is an Italian word roughly meaning "from the beginning". The Da capo is an
instruction used in sheet music to restart the piece from the beginning and go back to the
top. It can also take place after one or more repeats of small sections.
15. Dal Segno
Dal Segno means 'from the sign' and this instruction appears at the end of the bar from
which you have to return to either the initial start or the beginning of a piece.
Diminuendo is the opposite of a crescendo.
It means the gradual decrease in dynamic volume
during the music.
Fermata roughly translates to "to stay or stop. "It is a symbol used to indicate that a note
should be held longer beyond its normal duration.
In music, a flat is a note that is one-half step lower than the natural note.
Forte(f) is a term in music dynamics to describe a louder note. The Forte should be louder
than the mezzo-forte(mf).
Fortepiano (also known as forte piano) describes a sudden dynamic change in a music score.
The abbreviation used is 'fp'
Giocoso in music means that a piece of music is played in a fun, lively, and humorous
manner. It often comes at a higher tempo.
A glissando instructs the instrumentalists to do a long slide between two specific notes.
Although it is played smoothly, there are no major changes in distinct pitches.
The glockenspiel is a musical instrument with metal bars that are struck by a mallet.
Largo means 'broad' in Italian. In music, it refers to a slow and dignified tempo on the
Leggero means light in Italian. It instructs the musician to play more lightly, usually fast
and in a graceful manner.
Legato is Italian for 'tied together' and means that the musical notes are played/sung in a
smooth and connected fashion.
A motif in music refers to a short piece of melody that occurs in a musical piece. It can
also be called a motive or cell.
As the name states, natural notes are neither sharp nor flat. It is used to tell the
musician that the note is natural
Nonet is a composition that is created with nine musicians or a group of nine performers.
An Ostinato can be both a rhythmic or pitch pattern that repeats consistently throughout the
To Pan or Panning is the distribution of a sound signal, determined by a pan control
setting, into a new stereo or multi-channel sound field.
Pianissimo is Italian for "very soft". Pianissimo is an instruction in music that tells
musicians to play in a very softly or quieter tone.
Pizzicato means plucked in Italian, It is a playing technique that involves plucking the
strings of a string musical instrument.
34. Quarter tone
A quarter tone is a pitch halfway between the usual notes of music or an interval about half
as wide as a semitone.
A quintuplet is defined as a grouping of five sixteenth notes to take place within a
Rhapsody is a term in music which is a one-movement work that is repeated yet integrated,
free-flowing in structure.
Ritardando is the gradual slowdown in the tempo of music in a particular direction.
A rondo is a structure of musical pieces and usually contains multiple repeating sections.
Scherzo is a short composition piece, sometimes movement from a large symphony of music.
Sforzando is a musical notation to play a note with sudden or abrupt emphasis. It is
abbreviated as 'sfz'.
A sharp musical note is a semitone than the same natural note generally used in a piece.
A soprano is a range of pitches that has the highest vocal range in all voice types.
Sostenuto in Italian means "sustained". In sheet music, it is a note or musical passage that
requires each note to play beyond its normal value.
When shortened and delayed notes are played,
it is called Staccato. It is the opposite of
The tempo is defined as the pace or speed at which a piece of music is played.
Tenor is the range of notes between alto and bass. The vocal range lies between the
countertenor and voice types of baritone.
Tremolo is a modulation effect of trembling in a musical piece. It creates a change in
Trill (also known as 'shake') is a musical element that consists of a rapid alternation
between two adjacent notes.
The pulsating change in the pitch of a music track is called Vibrato. It is characterized by
the variation of the pitch as well as the variable speed.
Vivace means "lively" and is an indication to play in a very quick, upbeat tempo in a music