Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Woodwind Quintet

Standard chamber ensemble consisting of one each of the following: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and french horn (not a woodwind instrument). A chamber group is a smaller ensemble of musicians; much less than a FULL ensemble which may have a dozen of the same instrument.

String Quartet

The string quartet is composed of 4 instruments. Its makeup is two violins, one viola and one cello. To history, this is one of the most important type of chamber ensemble. The string quartet has paved the path for other classical chamber groups to form, even having a hand in the creation of jazz combos.

Example: Haydn, String Quartet, Op.76, No.2, fourth movement Real Audio: 28k 56k About this album Here, the first violin has the melody and the other three instruments provide accompaniment.

Piano Quintet

Standard chamber ensemble is composed of 5 instruments: piano with two violins, a viola and a cello.


Creation of a musical composition while it is being performed, seen in cadenzas of concertos and my favorite: jazz. Improvisation is more than just blowing notes on the spot; inner feelings and expression come out through music. Many improvisers will express this through their body language.

"Recordame" demo--


Contrapuntal music utilizes counterpoint, or two or more melodic lines. Counterpoint: The compositional way of combining two or more simultaneous melodic lines; "point against point" or "note against note." A meldoy is a rhythmically organized sequence of single tones related to one another in order to make up a particular musical phrase or idea.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A cappella

Choral music performed without instrumental accompaniment. This chorus usually sings with many harmonies. In certain a cappella groups who remake pop songs, a person can beat-box (play drums essentially with their mouth) as an alternative to percussion instruments. The size of an A Cappella group ranges from just about a half-dozen people to 5 dozen people.


This is basically the system of writing music according to the preferance to one tone (the tonic), which makes it the center of all other tones.


What happens if there wasn't rhythm in life?
You wake up and decide to watch TV, and you were just in time of the introduction to Fox News. Wait, there's just saying the names of the achor people and some noise in the music. What's missing? The rhythm in the background? Well, if you do not have a key signature, a beat, and the tempo, then there's the problem. Rhythm provides the melody to play clear and smooth pitches.

Quadruple Meter

Also known as common time. A piece of music written in quadruple meter would have four beats in each measure.


Octave - is the interval between one musical note and another with half or double the frequency.
Sheet music of a higher octave


The texture of a piece of music refers to the particular way in which the aspects of the piece such as melody and harmony are put together and set in time. For example, piece of music might be comprised of two or more realtively independent melodic lines, like this or it might contain more full chords like this. Texture is also determined by what and how instruments are playing at the particular point in the music.


Harmony- Two or more broken notes played at the same time. As an example, visualize Pachebel’s Canon in D with a chamber string ensemble. All the violins have the same music, but come in different times. The music is sectioned in letters. Let’s say the 1st violinist starts the melody. Now when the 1st player reaches the first note in A, the 2nd violinist starts the melody. Then when the 1st player reaches B, and the 2nd one would reach A, that’s when the 3rd violinist would start the melody. All the different notes playing at the same time produces the harmony.


Chord The sounding of three or more tones played at the same time; can be more then three notes playing at the same time. These simultanous tones are usually being designated as an interval. Chords can be divided into two main classes, consonant and dissonant(constituting or producing a dissonance).
This chart is an example of differnt
chords that may be played on a piano.

metric accent

METRIC ACCENT-- the strong beat of any given meter. In other words, the first beat of any measure.


POLYPHONIC-- music that combines several distinct melodic lines simultaneously (Harvard, 2003). Bach fugues are an excellent example of polyphonic music.

double stop

DOUBLE STOP--playing two notes on a string instrument by pressing down a given distance on the string(s). Go to this site for an example on guitar. This technique is especially common in virtuoso violin playing, demonstrated extrordinarily by the likes of Paganini.


1. Countermelody- first off, a melody is an arrangement of musical tones and rhythmic dictations that together create a coherent musical idea. Therefore, a countermelody is a second melody played simultaneously with the melody.

String Quintet

1. String Quintet- A quintet is a group of 5 musicians. 2 Violins, 2 Violas and 1 cello or 2 Violins, 1 Viola and 2 Cellos. For further exlanation refer to a Piano Trio.


1. Aerophone- A musical instrument that’s primary means of vibrating to make sound is air. Through the principles of physics, air in a column can create specific notes. Just as a soda bottle or other hollow type apparatus these instruments rely on air to create a sound.
Examples include:
Flute, Horn etc.

Piano Trio

1. Piano Trio- First off, a trio is generally a group of three musicians, those musicians playing any instrument, playing music together. A piano trio is a group of three musicians only they play three more specific instruments. Generally, a piano trio consists of a violin, a cello, and of course a piano (


1. Interval- An interval is the space between two different musical tones otherwise known as notes. For example on a piano there are keys. The names of the keys range from the letter A to the letter G. If you go from the letter B to the letter C you can either move up one place, or you can move down to the C below the letter B. If you move up one place then you are moving up 1 space. This means that you have created an interval called a Second. It's called a second because you also include the the note itself when you count notes. Start with one as your bottom note.


TEMPO-- the speed at which music is performed; the speed of the beat in a piece. The specified tempo is given at the top of the sheet music in the form of a metronome marking or a general tempo marking--largo (slow), allegro (fast), etc.


BEAT-- a metric pulse (Harvard, 2003). A beat is the heartbeat of a piece; like a persons heartbeat which can be fast if they are running or slow is they are sleeping, the heartbeat of the piece is always consistent and even.


Syncopation is when the normal accent or stressed beat(consistent pulse of a piece) of a measure is changed to accent the unstressed beat. If there are four beats in a measure, i.e. 1-2-3-4, the stressed beat normally falls on the 1st and 3rd beats, i.e. 1-2-3-4. If this measure were syncopated, you would place emphasis on the 2nd and 4th beats of the measure, i.e. 1-2-3-4. Go to this website to hear an example of a non-syncopated rhythm and a syncopated rhythm. Syncopation does not only occur on 2 and 4 but may occur on smaller fractions of the beat as well.


A membranophone is a type of instrument where the sound is produced by vibrations from a stretched membrane. In other words, a DRUM. Most membranophones are drums and you can see a picture of one at this site. Some drums include tarambouke, tubular drums, kettledrums, and frame drums. Membranophones are classified based on shape and/or material. The kazoo is one example of a membranophone, the sound being by vibrations, that is not a drum. To hear some membranophones go to this link and click on the musical note in the Technical Record box on the left side of the page.

Monday, August 29, 2005


When an instrumentalist playing a string instrument, such as the violin, cellor of viola, rapidly moves the bow across one or more strings to create a sound of multiple pulses. In playing the piano, sax, or other woodwinds, the player would strike the keys rapidly to create multiple pulses.

Compound Meter

A meter where each beat can be devided into three rather than two, like in a simple meter. An example of a compound meter would be a waltz written in 3/4 time where the counts are 1-2-3, 1-2-3.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Pizzicato is the term used to describe a method used in played stringed instruments. Instead of using the bow to produce a desired note, the player plucks the string. This method produces a sound that is short and abrupt opposed to slow and sustained. Go to this site and hear the example of pizzicato(the first picture with the guy holding the cello right above the heading Sonata; 1st movement).

antecedent consequent phrase

The term antecedent consequent phrase might sound a little tricky but in fact it is not difficult to understand. A much easier name you might give it would be a question and answer phrase because a melody is played in one voice and then repeated in a different voice with possible variation, but still similar to the original theme. More simply, you might be listening to some orchestra piece and the melody or main theme of the piece is played by the trombones and then repeated with slight variation by the french horns. It is like a musical form of conversation and a very useful way to emphasize a theme or melody. You can hear examples of antecedent consequent phrases in Beethoven's String Quartet op 18 no 2, in fugues, canons, and many other works.


When discussing the definition of dissonance, it is imperative to explain it's counterpart, consonance. Simply stated, consonance is a a group of notes, two or more(like a chord), that sound stable when played at the same time, and pleasing to the ear. On the other hand, dissonant chords sound unstable and often displeasing to a listeners ear.( Often consonant sounds are said to feel normal while dissonant sounds are meant to exemplify "disturbance and tension. "(Harvard Dict) Also, when dissonant chords or notes are played, the unstable sound feels as though it need to move to more stable ground by resolving or switching to something with consonance. Some notes that produce an agreeable sound of consonance are like the notes used in a major chord, for instance the first three notes of the Star Spangled Banner. Go to this website to hear the first three notes of the song and when you listen to them try to imagine the notes being played at the same time. Also, if listen to the rest of the song you will notice that most all of the piece displays consonance with many stable sounding chords. A good example of dissonance can be heard in the beginner piano exercise chopsticks. The notes are a whole step(on the piano that means there is a key in between them, for instance a whole step would be when you start on a white key, skip the following black key and go the the next white key) apart and when played together create a very displeasing annd unstable sound.


On a string instrument, harmonics refers to the notes with "flutelike" timbre that are produced when lightly touching the nodes, or points between each defined note, sounding one octave, or series of 8 notes, higher than the note when the string if fully pressed down, or stopped.

Here is a website with an animation demonstrating harmonics ona string instrument. The points at which the string alternates movement up and down are the nodes.

Click here.


also tone color

A standard melody.

Tone Color: The quality of tone, or sound of definite picth and duration, made on a specific instrument, and the difference in tone using the same pitch on a different instrument.


The sequence of notes, including the top and bottom, that are the highest and lowest notes playable by an instrument. Range for vocalists include six types, three for male and female each. All of them have a set range, but this definition can be seen more as an average, because those with training can excede the set ranges.


Without meter, or time signature.


A melodic or harmonic formula that comes a the end of a piece or phrase signaling conclusion. This formula can consist of a number of chords leading to the end, typically a I (or tonic triad) chord, supplying resolution and a final statement to the peice. A tonic triad is a chord consisting of 1, 3, 5, and 8 of the given chord. Taken in C, this would be C-E-G-C.

Here is a great site with some examples.

Conjunct Melody

Conjunct Melody is the melodic motion that goes from one note to the next in a single scale degree interval, then again in a second scale interval; it never leaps.


An idiophone is any musical instrument that uses the vibration of it's main component without the vibrations of a string (guitar), membrane (drum) or column of air (flute). There are six types of idiophones: Concussion (castanets), Percussion (xylophone), Rattle (maraca), Scraper (washboard), Plucked Idiophone (jew's harp), and Friction Idiophone (Musical Saw).


A sequence is the repetition of a phrase of melody at a different pitch level; higher or lower.
*Tonal Sequence~ Where notes in the repeated phrase are modified to keep it in the original key
*Real Sequence~ Where repeated phrase is unaltered as it’s pitch is changed. Out of key sometimes.


A phrase is a small musical thought that is usually part of a bigger, more complete thought that makes up a song.


Rubato is the bending and shaping of a tempo in a musical piece in order to embellish upon the charm, beauty, and meaning of a phrase, without straying from the basic pulse.

Oral transmission

In music, oral transmission is music that has been passed from someone to someone else through use of the mouth, not written music.


Hemiola, derived from the the Greek word hemiolios, refers to the ratio 3:2. In music, a hemiola is a metrical pattern in which two bars of triple time are played as if you are in double time, playing three bars. The following excerpt from the Mozart piano sonata in F shows a hemiola in the second two bars: Hemiola exerpt.


A triad is a a chord that has three pitches all the adjacent notes a third from eachother. On a staff, a triad is characterized by three notes on either three adjacent lines or three adjacent spaces.


A chordophone is an instrument that produces sound by the vibration of a stretched string. On many occasions, there is a body to the chordophone that causes the sound produced to reverberate, creating a greater magnitude of the volume. Some examples of chordophones are the piano, guitars, lutes, or violins.


a unit of musical time consisting of a fixed number of note values of a given type. These note values are determined by the work's time signature. Each measure is deliniated in musical notation by a set of bar lines.

Disjunct Melody

a type of melodic motion in which each note preceeds the next by an interval no larger than a 2nd.


In a musical scale or key, the tonic is the first or main note. Generally in a piece of music, the tonic is brought out slightly when played, because it is the center for the tonality of the piece. The tonic serves as the primary point of rest, attraction, and resolution in a musical scale. Often, music ends on the tonic in order to create a feeling of completeness.