In a slow, graceful tempo (faster than lento but slower than andante), or a piece of music (or movement thereof) thus named.

air/ayre:  English style of song popular in the late 16th and early 17th centuries; usually accompanied by a lute. 'Ayre' is the spelling used in sources of the period.

aleatory music:  Music composed according to various principles introducing chance or indeterminate outcomes into its actualization in performance.

allegro:  In a lively tempo (faster than allegretto but slower than presto), or a piece of music (or movement thereof) thus named.

andante:  At a moderate tempo (faster than adagio but slower than allegretto), or a piece of music (or movement thereof) thus named.

anthem:  A choral setting (often with solo voice parts and organ accompaniment) of an English language religious or moral text, usually for performance during Protestant services; c1550 to present.

antiphon:  A liturgical chant sung as the response to the verses of a Psalm; generally fairly short and simple in style.

arabesque:  A short piece of music featuring various melodic, contrapuntal or harmonic decorations.

arpeggione:  A bowed bass viol-like instrument with guitar tuning briefly popular during the early 19th century.

Ars nova:  Italian for 'new art'; an early 14th century term for the new techniques in composition, rhythm, and notation particularly as seen in the writings and music of Philippe de Vitry.

atonal:  Music which does not exhibit the traditional hierarchy of chord progressions and key signatures. The term was first used to describe music of Schoenberg, Webern and Berg, who consciously wrote this way.

avant-garde:  French for 'in advance'; term used in all the arts to describe any work, style, or school that is considered in its own time to be radical, consciously breaking from previous tradition.

bagatelle:  A short, light instrumental piece of music of no specified form, usually for piano.

ballade:  (1) A 14th/15th century French song form which set poetry to music (2) per Chopin, an instrumental (usually piano) piece with dramatic narrative qualities.

ballet:  Theatrical performance featuring dance movements to an instrumental musical score, or term describing the music itself; 16th century to present.

barcarolle:  Song or instrumental piece in a swaying 6/8 time (i.e., suggesting the lilting motion of a Venetian gondola).

Baroque Period:  Era in the history of Western music extending from c1600-c1750, and exemplified by the compositions of Schütz, Corelli, François Couperin, Vivaldi, Domenico Scarlatti, Handel and J.S. Bach.

bass viol:  See viola da gamba.

basso-continuo:  See continuo.

bel canto:  (1) A manner of singing (from the Italian 'beautiful singing') originally exhibited by Italian singers of the late 18th century emphasizing smoothness and beauty of sound throughout the full vocal range (2) Italian opera of the first half of the 19th century, so named because of its emphasis on vocal virtuosity in closed numbers.

berceuse:  A soft instrumental piece or lullaby, usually in a moderate 6/8 tempo; a lullaby.

Biedermeier:  Designation for music of the early 19th century associated with the musical bourgeoisie and domestic music-making.

canon:  A contrapuntal form in two or more (voice or instrumental) parts in which the melody is introduced by one part and then repeated by the next (and so on) before each previous part has finished (i.e., such that overlapping of parts occurs).

cantata:  Term applied to a 17th and 18th century multi-movement non-theatrical and non-liturgical vocal genre; subsequently used to describe large-scale vocal works in the same spirit, generally for soloists, chorus and orchestra.

canzona:  (1) 16th/17th century instrumental genre in the manner of a French polyphonic chanson, characterized by the juxtaposition of short contrasting sections (2) term applied to any of several types of secular vocal music.

caprice/capriccio:  Term describing a variety of short composition types characterized by lightness, fancy, or improvisational manner.

carol:  Since the 19th century, generally a song that is in fourpart harmony, simple form, and having to do with the Virgin Mary or Christmas.

chaconne:  A slow, stately dance-with-variations composition form especially popular during the 17th and early 18th centuries.

chamber concerto:  A concerto scored for small orchestra.

chamber music:  Music suitable for ensemble performance in intimate surroundings; especially, instrumental music with individual parts for two to eight or nine players.

chamber opera:  An opera of modest proportion, usually scored for small orchestra; 20th century.

chamber orchestra:  A small orchestra.

chamber symphony:  A symphony for small orchestra in which the players are assigned chamber music-like parts.

chanson:  French for 'song'; in particular, a style of 14th-16th century French song for voice or voices, often with backing instrumental accompaniment.

chant/plainchant:  Monophonic music used in Christian liturgical services. It is sung in unison and in a free rhythm, and as a style probably dates from the first century of the Christian era.

chorale (choral):  A Protestant hymn tune intended for congregational use.

chorale prelude:  An instrumental piece based on a chorale melody.

Classical (or 'Classic') Period:  Era in the history of Western music extending c1750-c1825, and exemplified by the compositions of Joseph Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert.

Classicism/Neoclassicism:  Inexact terms usually denoting the general aesthetic ideals (including:  balance, symmetry, clarity, reverence for ancient cultures, etc.) of Baroque or Classical composers, and/or the efforts by a recent composer to integrate such aesthetics (as opposed to those of the Romantic Period) into hi/r style of composition.

concert overture:  An orchestral piece in overture form often relating a deliberate program, but not excerpted from or related to a larger work; especially popular during the Romantic Period.

concertante:  When used to modify another form or genre term, this word suggests a greater than usual amount of concerto-like virtuoso display from one or more of the players.

concertato:  A work for instrumental group and soloist(s), or a small ensemble of soloists with orchestra; 17th and 18th centuries.

concertino:  (1) Soloist group in a concerto grosso (2) a short concerto, usually in free form (19th and 20th centuries).

concerto:  (1) Ensemble music for voice(s) and instrument(s) (17th century) (2) extended piece of music in which a solo instrument or instruments is contrasted with an orchestral ensemble (post-17th century).

concerto grosso:  Orchestral form especially popular in the 17th and 18th centuries in which the contrasting lines of a smaller and a larger group of instruments are featured.

consort:  A small ensemble for playing and/or singing music composed before c1700, or adjective describing the music (usually with parts for viols and solo voices).

continuo/basso-continuo:  Bass line accompaniment by two or more instruments in which one instrument (cello, bassoon, etc.) plays the bass line and the second (usually keyboard) fills in harmonies above it; characteristic element of much music composed in the 17th and 18th centuries.

counterpoint/contrapuntal:  The combination of two or more simultaneously moving musical lines into a single pleasing harmonic/melodic texture.

credo:  Third item of the Ordinary of the Mass.

divertimento/divertissement:  A style of light, often occasion-specific, instrumental music arranged in several movements; especially popular in the mid to late 18th century.

etude:  Literally, a 'study'; especially, a piece written for purposes of practicing or displaying technique.

exoticism:  The incorporation of musical styles, forms, or instruments or instrumentation originating in cultures outside of the European (especially, Western European) tradition.

Expressionism:  In music, a style associated with the first quarter of the 20th century that was introspective (delving into the psychological realm) but also:  (1) consciously rejected representational forms, and (2) exploited dissonance, in the form of atonality.

fanfare:  A short ceremonial flourish played by brass instruments.

fantas(-ia)(-ie)(-y)/phantasie/fantaisie:  Especially, an instrumental piece in which conventional form is suspended in favor of the application of imaginative stylizations or improvisation (the term is also applied to several similar concepts).

Franco-Flemish:  Regional designation given to pre-18th century composers from the present-day countries of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands; most commonly applied to composers of the Renaissance Period, when a regional idiom flourished.

fugue:  Contrapuntal form in which a subject theme ('part' or 'voice') is introduced and then extended and developed through some number of successive imitations.

galant/rococo:  Style which flourished in the first half of the 18th century; it served as a crucial transition from the Baroque to the Classical. Its most recognizable traits include a light texture, emphasis on melody, and a preference for dance forms.

galliard:  A lively court dance of Italian origin, usually in triple time, popular in 16th and 17th centuries.

gamelan:  Any of a variety of percussion instrument-dominated orchestras of Javan-Balinese origin.

gigue (jig):  A quick, springy dance often used as the concluding movement to 18th century instrumental suites.

gloria:  Second item of the Ordinary of the Mass.

Gregorian chant:  See chant.

harmonium:  Small, portable organ-like instrument patented in 1842; eventually a name given to any sort of reed organ.

homophony:  Musical texture in which one or more lines dominate and the others remain in the background.

hymn:  Sung praise to a deity, meant for communal use and usually in a chordal style.

Impressionism:  Style period in music which mirrored some of the art movement of the same name during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In music, it is principally associated with Debussy, whose music exhibits such characteristics as blurring of traditional formal structures, preference for modality, and the use of instruments for sake of timbre alone (instrumental 'color').

impromptu:  A short instrumental piece of a free, casual nature suggesting improvisation.

incidental music:  Music composed for the production of a predominantly spoken play.

introduction:  A section, often of slow tempo, that opens a more extended piece or movement of a piece.

keyboard:  (1) Generic term describing a member of the keyboard instrument 'family':  i.e., a piano, organ, harpsichord, clavichord, virginal, etc. (2) the arrangement of keys found on such instruments.

legend(e):  A piece, usually short, that depicts legendary or mythical characters and/or events; especially popular in the 19th century.

libretto:  The text of an opera, either written by the composer of the opera's music, or by someone else (the 'librettist').

Lied(er):  German for 'song(s)'; in particular, a style of 19th century German song distinguished by the setting of texts from the literary tradition and by the elaboration of the instrumental accompaniment.

madrigal:  (1) A 14th century Italian style of setting secular verse for two or three unaccompanied voices (2) a 16th/17th century contrapuntal setting of verse (usually secular) for several equally important voice parts, usually unaccompanied.

magnificat:  A setting of the Biblical hymn of the Virgin Mary (as given in St. Luke) for use in Roman Catholic and Anglican services; 14th century to present.

Mannheim School:  Designation for a group of 18th century German composers and musicians whose symphonic writing and orchestration laid a foundation for later composers such as Joseph Haydn and Mozart.

march:  Instrumental music with a repeated and regular rhythm such as might appropriately accompany a marching group.

masque:  An aristocratic 16th/17th century English theatre form integrating poetry, dance, music and elaborate sets.

mass/messe (Latin 'Missa'):  The principal religious service of the Catholic Church, with musical parts that either vary according to Church calendar (the 'Proper') or do not (the 'Ordinary').

mazurka:  A moderately fast Polish country dance especially popular in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries.

messe:  See mass.

microtonal music:  Music which makes use of intervals smaller than a semitone (a half step).

minimalism:  Term describing a late 20th century style characterized by the slowing down of musical processes through the repetition-with-variation of short fragments.

minuet:  A graceful French dance of moderate 3/4 tempo often appearing as a section of extended works (especially dance suites) of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Missa:  See mass.

monody:  Solo song with continuo accompaniment, as seen in the works of late 16th century composers, particularly Giulio Caccini.

monophony:  Musical texture in which there is only one line.

motet:  (1) To c1400, a piece with one or more voices, often with different but related sacred or secular texts, singing over a fragment of chant in longer note-values (2) after 1400, a polyphonic setting of a short sacred text.

music theatre:  Broad term usually used to distinguish smaller-scale works combining song, instrumental accompaniment and dramatic context from more elaborate dramatic productions (e.g., operas, operettas, ballets, etc.).

Nationalism:  Music incorporating materials which affirm a particular national or ethnic identity, analogous to similar intellectual and artistic developments in 19th century European and American culture. These materials are most commonly musical materials from folk music, though they may also be extra-musical materials from national myths and legends.

Neoclassical:  A 20th century style of composition exhibiting a return to the use of structural forms and stylistic features employed in earlier times.

Neoclassicism:  See Classicism.

neoromanticism/post-Romanticism:  Vague terms generally denoting efforts to retain the aesthetic and/or mood of Romantic Period composition, while adding to it through the application of more recent techniques.

New England School:  Late 19th century group of Germanic tradition-trained New England composers who aimed to create a music which was distinctly American but within the contemporary German esthetic.

nocturne:  A moderately slow piece, usually for piano, of dreamy, contemplative character and song-like melody.

nonet:  A chamber music piece scored for nine players.

ode:  Cantata-like musical setting of the lyric poetry form so called.

opera:  Theatrically staged story set to instrumental and vocal music such that most or all of the acted parts are sung; c1600 to present.

operetta:  In its modern form (c1850s onward), a light opera containing interludes of spoken dialogue and dance.

oratorio:  Originally, a setting of an extended religious narrative (and since c1800, nonreligious ones as well) for vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra, intended for concert or church performance without costumes or stage settings; c1600 to present.

orchestration:  The art of arranging a musical composition for play by a large array of instrumental forces.

overture:  A self-contained orchestral piece preceding a stage work or multi-movement vocal work.

pantomime ballet:  A ballet-like performance in which moods, action, and narration can be depicted through choreographed bodily gestures.

partita:  Term initially applied as a synonym for 'set of variations' (17th century), then as a synonym for 'suite' (c1700 to present).

passacaglia:  An instrumental dance form similar to the chaconne in which there is continuing repetition of a theme usually played in the bass; originated in Spain and became popular in France and Italy during the Baroque Period.

Passion:  A musical setting of the story of the events leading to the Crucifixion.

pavan(e):  A quiet, stately court dance (probably of Italian origin) of the 16th and 17th centuries, and remaining popular in the 17th century as an instrumental form.

phantasie:  See fantasia.

piano four hands:  A piece played by two players on one piano.

piano quartet:  A chamber music ensemble consisting of a pianist and three other players (here restricted to string players), or a composition played thereby.

piano quintet:  A chamber music ensemble consisting of a pianist and four other players (here restricted to string players), or a composition played thereby.

piano rag:  A short piano piece in the ragtime style; i.e., containing a strongly syncopated melodic line set to regularly accented bass accompaniment.

piano trio:  A chamber music ensemble consisting of a pianist and two other players (here restricted to string players), or a composition played thereby.

plainchant:  See chant.

polka:  An energetic Bohemian dance performed in the round in 2/4 time. Originally a peasant dance, but in the mid-19th century it became popular throughout all classes in Europe and America.

polonaise:  A stately Polish processional dance in 3/4 time; especially popular as an instrumental form in the 18th and 19th centuries.

polyphony:  Musical texture in which two or three lines simultaneously sound, each line retaining its identity.

Post-Classical:  Used here to designate the transition style between Classical and Romantic.

post-Romanticism:  See neoromanticism.

Pre-Classical:  Used here to designate the transition style between Baroque and Classical.

prelude:  An instrumental section or movement preceding/introducing a larger piece or group of pieces.

prepared piano:  A piano in which foreign objects have been attached to the strings for purposes of producing special sound effects; 20th century.

primitivism:  Twentieth century musical style resembling some of the characteristics of the art movement of the same name. Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring exemplifies many of the common features:  persistent and driving rhythms, bold dissonances, and the simultaneous use of more than one key.

psalm setting:  Any vocal music setting of the Biblical Psalms (traditionally attributed to King David).

quadrille:  A lively 19th century French square dance sometimes incorporating popular tunes of the day.

rag:  See piano rag.

Renaissance Period:  Era in the history of Western music extending from c1400-c1600, and exemplified by the compositions of Josquin Desprez, Lasso and Palestrina.

requiem:  Generally speaking, a musical composition honoring the dead; more specially (1) the Roman Catholic Mass for the dead, or (2) other commemorative pieces of analogous intent.

rhapsody:  Term similar to 'fantasia' applied to pieces inspired by extroverted romantic notions; 19th and 20th centuries.

rococo:  See galant.

romance/romanze:  (1) A song with a simple vocal line and a simple accompaniment; especially popular in late 18th/19th century France and Italy (2) a short instrumental piece with the lyrical character of a vocal romance.

Romantic Period:  Era in the history of Western music extending from c1825-c1910, and exemplified by the compositions of Berlioz, Chopin, Robert Schumann, Liszt, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler.

Romanticism:  Broad term for 19th century musical style which mirrored many attributes of the movement of the same name in art and literature. Romantic composers embraced emotion over reason and the power of nature and its redemptive qualities, and had a fascination with extroversion and the macabre.

rondo/ronde:  An instrumental form in which the first or main section is repeated between subsidiary sections and to conclude the piece; usually in lively tempo.

scherzo:  Term designating lively and usually lighthearted instrumental music; most commonly used to label the fast-tempo movement of a symphony, sonata, etc.

Second Viennese School:  The group of Viennese-centered composers who flourished between 1910-1930 and who had as a common bond the 12-tone system of composition (see serialism).

serenade:  A light and/or intimate piece of no specific form such as might be played in an open-air evening setting.

serialism:  Twentieth century compositional method which employs ordered sets of tones instead of the traditional chordal progressions to create the music.

sinfonia:  Term applied in a variety of contexts in different periods; e.g., as a near synonym for 'instrumental canzona,' 'prelude,' 'overture,' and 'symphony.'

sinfonia concertante:  An 18th/early 19th century concerto grosso-like orchestral form for one or more featured instruments, but often exhibiting the lightheartedness of a divertimento.

sinfonietta:  A short symphony, often of modest intent and/or played with reduced forces.

sonata:  (1) An extended piece for instrumental soloist (or featured instrument with solo instrumental accompaniment), usually in several movements; in its modern form dating from the early 18th century (2) term applied in earlier days to instrumental music to distinguish it from vocal music ('cantata').

sonatina:  A short sonata, or one of modest intent; especially popular during the Classical Period.

song cycle:  A group of songs performed in an order establishing a musical continuity related to some underlying (conceptual) theme.

Stabat Mater:  A sequence in the Roman Catholic liturgy regarding the crucifixion, and used in several Divine offices.

stile antico:  Italian for 'old style'; a 17th century style of church music composition which consciously imitated the smooth sound and a capella style of 16th century composer Palestrina.

string orchestra:  An orchestra composed entirely of string instruments.

string quartet:  A chamber music ensemble consisting of four players (usually on two violins, viola and cello), or a composition played thereby.

string quintet:  A chamber music ensemble consisting of five players (usually on two violins, two violas and cello), or a composition played thereby.

string sextet:  A chamber music ensemble consisting of six players (usually on two violins, two violas and two cellos), or a composition played thereby.

string trio:  A chamber music ensemble consisting of three players (usually on violin, viola and cello), or a composition played thereby.

suite:  An set of unrelated and usually short instrumental pieces, movements or sections played as a group, and usually in a specific order.

symphonic (or 'tone') poem:  A descriptive orchestral piece in which the music conveys a scene or relates a story; c1850 to present.

symphony:  (1) An extended piece for full orchestra, usually serious in nature and in several movements; early 18th century to present; (2) a performing group of instrumentalists; i.e., a symphony orchestra.

tango:  Argentinian dance danced by couples and marked by strong syncopation, dotted rhythmic figures, and a 2/4 time signature.

Te Deum:  (from the Latin, "We praise Thee, O God") Lengthy hymn of praise to God in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other Christian liturgies.

Third Stream:  Term (coined by the American composer Gunther Schuller in the late 1950s) for compositional method bringing together jazz and classical styles.

toccata:  A piece for keyboard, usually technically demanding, intended as a display for virtuosity.

trio sonata:  A chamber music form for two featured instruments and continuo accompaniment; especially popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.

(theme and) variations:  Composition form in which variously modified re-statements of an initially introduced theme are presented in sequence, one after another.

twelve-tone:  See serialism.

verismo:  Italian for 'realism'; originally a type of 19th century Italian opera which depicted and centered on characters who were socially marginal, often the lower classes.

Vernacularist:  Used here to describe a 20th century composition approach making use of popular music forms such as jazz or theater.

viola da gamba/bass viol:  A 6- or 7-string bowed member of the viol family of instruments; similar to the modern cello.

virginal:  A small harpsichord popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.

waltz/valse:  A popular ballroom dance in 3/4 time dating from c1800.

wind (instrument):  A woodwind or brass instrument (an instrument played by blowing into it or otherwise setting the air in motion inside it with one's lips).

wind quintet:  A chamber music ensemble consisting of five wind players (usually on flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon and horn), or a composition played thereby.

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