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Musical Terms

A Cappella

Unaccompanied vocal piece


A tempo

Resume normal speed


Accelerando

Gradually faster


Ad libitum

At pleasure (style and speed at performers discretion)


Adagietto

Fairly slow


Adagio

Slow


Adagissimo

Very slow


Alla Breve

Two minims in a bar


Allargando

Getting slower


Allegretto

Fairly lively and fast


Allegro

Fast, lively


Andante

Moderate (walking) pace


Animato

Animated


Appassionata/o

Passionately


Arpeggio

Like a harp


Bis

Twice


Brio

Vigour


Cadenza

A passage usually towards end of a solo piece, where soloist plays alone in a skilled way


Canon

Piece of music where one voice repeats the part of another, throughout the whole piece.


Capo

The beginning


Capriccio, Caprice

A light, free piece of music


Coda

A passage at the end of a movement


Codetta

Little coda


Con Anima

with feeling


Con moto

With movement


Crescendo

Gradually louder


Da capo

From the beginning


Decrescendo

Becoming gradually softer


Diminuendo

Becoming gradually softer


Dolce

Sweetly, tenderly


Dolcissimo

Very sweetly and gently


Dolente

Sadly


Duet

Piece for two players


Energico

With energy


Espressivo

With expression


Finale

The last movement


Fine

The end


Forte

Loud


Fortissimo

Very Loud


Forzando

Forcingly, sudden emphasis or accent


Fuga

A fugue


Fugato

In fugal style


Fugue

A piece of music of contrapuntal style, based on a theme, with more than one voice


Furioso

Furiously


General pause, Grand pause

Everyone to remain silent (pause)


Glissando

Rapid scale passage produced by sliding over keys or strings


Grandioso

Grandly


Grave

Very slow and solemn


Grazioso

Gracefully


Impetuoso

Impetuously


Incalzando

Increasing speed and tone


L'istesso Tempo

Keep same speed


Lacrimoso

Sadly, tearfully


Lamentoso

Mournfully


Larghetto

Slightly faster than largo


Largo

Slow and stately


Legatissimo

As smooth as you can


Legato

Smooth


Leggiero

Light and delicate


Lento

Slow


Loco

Back to playing notes at their normal pitch


Lontano

As from a distance


Lunga pausa

Long pause


Lusingando

Coaxing


Ma non troppo

But not too much


Maestoso

Majestically


Main droite, Mano destra

Right hand


Main gauche, mano sinistra

Left hand


Mancando

Dying away


Marcia

March


Martellato

Hammered out


Marziale

Martial


Mesto

Sadly


Mezza voce Mezzo forte

Moderately loud


Mezzo Piano

Moderately quiet


Moderato

Moderate time


Morendo

Gradually dying away


Moto, Movimento

Movement


Muta

Change


Non troppo

Not too much


Obbligato

Obligatory, musn't be omitted


Ostinato

Persistently repeated


Ottava bassa

Octave lower


Parlando, Parlante

Sung in a talking fashion


Passionato

Passionately


Patetico

With feeling


Pausa

A Rest / break


Perdendosi

Dying away


Piacevole

Agreeable


Piangevole

Plaintively


Pianissimo

Very soft


Pizzicato

Plucked


Pochissimo

As small as possible


Portamento

Smooth glide from note to note


Prestissimo

As fast as possible


Presto

Very fast


Primo volta

First time


Quasi recitativo

Like a recital


Rallentando

Getting slower gradually


Repetizone, replica

Repeat


Rigoroso

Strictly, rigerous


Risoluto

Bold


Risvegliato

More animation


Ritardando

Gradually slower


Ritenuto

Hold back


Scherzando

Playful


Segue

Carry on


Sempre

Always


Senza misura

In free time


Senza sordini

Without mute


Sforzando, sforzato

Accented (forced)


Slargando, slentando

Gradually slower


Smorzando

Dying away


Soave

Smooth


Solenne

Solemn


Sordini

Mute


Sospirando

Sighingly


Sostenuto

Sustained


Spiritoso

Spirited


Staccatissimo

Very detached


Staccato

Detached


Stringendo

Gradually faster


Suave

Gentle, smooth


Sul Ponticello

Play near the violin bridge


Tacet

Silent


Tempo comodo

At a convenient speed


Tempo giusto

Strict time


Tempo primo

Back to original speed


Teneramente

Tenderly


Tosto

Rapid


Tranquillo

Calm


Tremolando, tremolo

Very rapid repitition of one or two notes


Tutta forza

Full power, as loud as possible


Unis

Play in unison again


Veloce

Quick


Vibrato

Vibrating


Vigoroso

Bold


Vite, vivace, vivement, vivo

Quick and lively


Voce

Voice


Volti subito

Turn page quickly

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