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Sonny

Glossary of music terms A-F

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Sonny

Glossary of music terms A-F:

Accent: An unusual manner of pronunciation, e.g. "Y'all sang that real good!"

Accidentals: Wrong notes

Ad Libitum: A premiere.

Agitato: A string player's state of mind when a peg slips in the middle of a piece.

Agnus dei: A famous female church composer.

Allegro: Leg fertilizer.

Altered Chord: A sonority that has been spayed.

Atonality: Disease that many modern composers suffer from. The most prominent symptom is the patient's lacking ability to make decisions.

Augmented fifth: A 36-ounce bottle.

Bar Line: A gathering of people, usually among which may be found a musician or two.

Beat: What music students to do each other with their musical instruments. The down beat is performed on the top of the head, while the up beat is struck under the chin.

Bravo: Literally, "How bold!" or "What nerve!" This is a spontaneous expression of appreciation on the part of the concertgoer after a particularly trying performance.

Breve: The way a sustained note sounds when a violinist runs out of bow.

Broken consort: When somebody in the ensemble has to leave and go to the restroom.

Cadence: When everybody hopes you're going to stop, but you don't.

Cadenza: The heroine in Monteverdi's opera "Frottola".

Cantus firmus: The part you get when you can only play four notes.

Chansons de geste: Dirty songs.

Chord: Usually spelled with an "s" on the end, means a particular type of pants, e.g. "He wears chords."

Chromatic Scale: An instrument for weighing that indicates half-pounds.

Clausula: Mrs. Santa.

Coloratura Soprano: A singer who has great trouble finding the proper note, but who has a wild time hunting for it.

Compound Meter: A place to park your car that requires two dimes.

Con Brio: Done with scouring pads and washboards.

Conductor: A musician who is adept at following many people at the same time.

Conductus: The process of getting Vire into the cloister.

Counterpoint: A favorite device of many Baroque composers, all of whom are dead, though no direct connection between these two facts has been established. Still taught in many schools, as a form of punishment.

Countertenor: A singing waiter.

Crescendo: A reminder to the performer that he has been playing too loudly.

Crotchet: 1) A tritone with a bent prong. 2) It's like knitting, but it's faster. 3) An unpleasant illness that occurs after the Lai, if prolation is not used.

Cut time: When you're going twice as fast as everybody else in the ensemble.

Da capo al fine: I like your hat!

Detache: An indication that the trombones are to play with the slides removed.

Di lasso: Popular with Italian cowboys.

Discord: Not to be confused with Datcord.

Drone: The sound of a single monk during an attack of Crotchet.

Ductia: 1) A lot of mallards. 2) Vire's organum.

Duration: Can be used to describe how long a music teacher can exercise self-control.

Embouchre: The way you look when you've been playing the Krummhorn.

English horn: A woodwind that got its name because it's neither English nor a horn. Not to be confused with French horn, which is German.

Espressivo: Close eyes and play with a wide vibrato.

Estampie: What they put on letters in Quebec

Fermata: A brand of girdle made especially for opera singers.

Fermented fifth: What the percussion players keep behind the tympani, which resolves to a 'distilled fifth', which is what the conductor uses backstage.

Fine: That was great!

Flute: A sophisticated pea shooter with a range of up to 500 yards, blown transversely to confuse the enemy.

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