Thursday, 5 December 2013

Music Terminology For Beginners

There is so much music terminology for piano players that even experienced players come across new terms on piano music.  Some of the words used are more common, though. A few of these are listed for you.

Accelerando - getting faster as the section of the piece marked goes on.
Adagio - played very slowly
Allegro - played at a fast tempo and with a cheerful mood
Andante - played moderately slowly
A tempo - go back to the original tempo
Beat - the basic unit of time in music, it is a regular tap of the foot, for example
Chord - when you play three or more notes together all at once
Coda - an ending that is different that previous verses in the musical piece
Crescendo - getting louder and louder through a marked passage
Diminuendo - getting softer and softer through a marked passage
Dolce - sweetly
Ensemble - a musical group, it could be anything from a band to a classical group
Forte - means to play the piece loudly, forcefully
Fortissimo - play the piece very loudly
Genre - the category of music (or any other artwork), rock and blues are examples
Glissando - playing down the keyboard rapidly, usually by sliding thumb down the keys
Interval - the distance between two musical tones
Largo - very slow and broad
Mezzo forte - play the piece somewhat loudly
Mezzo piano - play the piece somewhat softly
Phrase - a unit of music, denoted by a curved line under or over notes phrased together
Pianissimo - play the piece very softly
Piano - play the piece softly
Presto - play extremely fast
Semitone - also known as a half step
Staccato - play notes quickly, crispy, and detached from each other
Tempo - the rate of speed of the musical piece; it can vary during songs when marked
Variations - when you play a basic tune and then play different versions of it that retain the same melody.

These are the most common music words used by pianists, along with the words that have already been used in these lessons. Keys, key signatures, time signatures, notes, whole notes, quarter notes, and so on; improvisation, etc. There are always more words to add to your musical vocabulary.

Some of the words above are written out above or between the staffs. Some are noted by using a mark of some sort. These are many markings to learn, but some of them are easy. This is because the word is often written out along with the markings. Like the example listed below:

For example, a crescendo marking starts as a point on the left and opens up wider to the right (<). Sometimes, the word crescendo will also be written somewhere either in the marking or under it to help you. Some markings you will have just have to learn. Staccato music is marked by dots under the notes you are to play short and crisp.

When you learn all of this musical terminology, do not sit back and ignore the rest of the words and markings you find. Keep learning and you will never get bored. There is always more to know.

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