BINARY FORM – is in 2 sections. Section A followed by section B. Both are usually repeated. All dances from the BAROQUE SUITE are in BINARY FORM.
TERNARY FORM – 3 sections A, B and C.
RONDO FORM – in RONDO FORM, section A comes back after each new section. Like this, A – B – A – C – A. It could go on longer.
VARIATION FORM – each new section is based on the original section A, and so it is a variation of it.
MONOPHONIC means 1 single sound; it could be a voice or an instrument.
HOMOPHONIC means a single melody (tune) with a background accompaniment, the accompaniment might move with the melody like a hymn, or it might be a rhythmic backing like the um-pa-pa of a waltz. Both are homophonic.
POLYPHONIC means lots of different melodies playing at once, it sound like lots of people talking at the same time.
REVERB – this makes it sound like singing or playing in a very large room, it is like a tiny, tiny echo. Do not confuse this with the real echo.
DELAY or ECHO – actually the proper name is delay and you can hear a really distinct echo of the sound.
VOCODER – almost always used on voices and it makes you sound like a Dalek from Doctor Who.
LOOPING – when a short bit of the music is recorded and the repeated over and over or looped
DRUM MACHINE – not really an effect this is an electric gadget to play drum parts. They sound very mechanical and were used a lot in cheesy 80’s music.
MINUET – has 3 beats to a bar and it is at a medium speed. It is easy to confuse this with a waltz but it does not have the um-pa-pa background of a waltz and it is slower.
SARABANDE – is really slow and serious. It’s the only one that is slow.
GAVOTTE – is quite quick and you will be able to feel a steady 2 beat pulse.
GIGUE – is fast, think JIG. There are 2 beats to a bar but each beat is split into 3 parts. You will usually get a score for this question and, even if you do not read music, you can still see the groups of 3.
PERFECT CADENCE is a musical full stop.
IMPERFECT CADENCE is a musical comma.
MAJOR sounds happy
MINOR sounds sad or can be powerfully dramatic.
ATONAL means no key and is usually clashing and unpleasant but not always, it can just sound aimless.
PENTATONIC uses a scale with gaps in it and so it can sound “airy” most often it sounds Chinese.
ACCELERANDO – the music gets gradually faster.
ACCENT – Means that a note is given more emphasis or stress than others.
ADAGIO – to be performed slowly and in a relaxed manner (just think slow)
ALLEGRO – fast
ALLEGRETTO –a bit fast, not as fast as allegro
ANDANTE – quite slow. It literally means walking speed.
ARCO – a direction for violin players etc. It means to play normally with the bow.
ARPEGGIO – when the notes of a chord are played one after the other instead of all at once. Like finger style on a guitar. (See also BROKEN CHORD)
BROKEN CHORD – same as ARPEGGIO.
CRESCENDO – music gets gradually louder.
COUNTER-MELODY – another tune which is played along with the main tune.
DIMINUENDO – music gets gradually quieter.
DISCORD – clashing sounds, not nice.
DISSONANT/DISSONANCE – when discords are being used and the music sounds clashing.
DRONE –note or notes that carry on throughout the music, like bagpipes.
DYNAMICS – just means the louds and quiets in the music and how they change. This is REALLY IMPORTANT and you would be surprised how many people don’t know. REMEMBER IT.
GLISSANDO – sliding from one note to another like a slide on a guitar with a bottleneck. Trombones and violins etc do this really well. They seem to like this one it has been in every paper recently.
IMITATION – when one instrument or voice simply copies what another has already done. This can be higher or lower.
LARGO –music is slow and dignified.
NOTE CLUSTER – lots of notes really close together, a DISCORD, sounds nasty, like someone leaning on a piano keyboard. They used to like this but I haven’t seen it recently.
OSTINATO – a short pattern of notes that is repeated over and over. Called a RIFF in rock. This is a favourite and is always in the paper somewhere.
PEDAL – a long, LOW note that carries on under the music. It could also be a series of repeated notes but it must be the same note and it must be LOW. If the same thing happens with a high note it is called an INVERTED PEDAL.
PIZZICATO – a direction to violin etc players to pluck the strings instead of playing ARCO with the bow.
PRESTO –music is fast.
RITARDANDO – music gets gradually slower.
SEQUENCE – when a pattern of notes is played or sung again but slightly higher or lower, usually by the same instrument or voice. Another favourite one this.
SFORZANDO – When a bit suddenly stands out in the music.
STACCATO – when notes are played short and detached. Sounds jumpy.
SYNCOPATION – when the music lies against the beat instead of with it. Most popular music is syncopated, most marches and waltzes, for example, aren’t.
TEMPO – how fast or slow the music is and how this might change.
TRILL – moving quickly between a note and the one above it. This can happen in the melody on long notes.
VIVACE – music is lively.
AoS 1 - Rhythm and Metre
• Rhythm is the way different lengths of sound are combined to produce patterns. • Metre is a regular pattern of beats indicated by a time signature. • Pulse is the beat of the music. It’s what you tap your feet to! The rhythms can vary the pulse or beat will be steady (like your pulse – hopefully!) • Tempo is the speed of the music, and in particular the speed the pulse of the music is beating. o Largo – very slow tempo o Adagio – slow tempo o Andante – at a walking pace. (Medium-slow) o Moderato – A medium tempo / moderate tempo o Allegro – Fast tempo o Vivace – Fast and lively tempo. o Presto – Very fast tempo • Accelerando – to get faster. • Rallentando(Rall.)/Ritardando(Rit.) – Slowing down the tempo. • Rubato – flexible tempo, usually used in romantic sounding music ;) • Simple time each beat is divided into two equal parts. • Compound time each beat is divided into 3 equal parts. • Triplet is 3 notes (or rests), all the same length, squeezed into the time of two. • Syncopation – when the weak (off beats) beats of the bar are accented. • Regular metre – a time signature where all the beats are the same length. • Irregular metre – a time signature where the beats are grouped together unevenly (5 or 7 beats per bar). Will have a lopsided feel and may not sound western. • Free metre -Where the music has no definite pulse or metre. • Drum fill – short drum solo in between sections of a piece.
AoS 2 - Harmony and Tonality
• Tonality – the key of the music. The piece will be built mainly from a particular scale. The tonality can be: • Major – a happy uplifting sound (play C-C to get used to the sound) • Minor – a sad, more serious sound (play A-A, replacing the G with a G# to get used to the sound) • Tonal – will have a sense of key/tonal centre. • Atonal – music with no sense of fixed tonality/key. May sound rather ‘random’. • Pentatonic – a five note scale. Often used in Chinese, African and Celtic Folk melodies • Modal – came before scales. E.g. play D-D on the white notes-this is the Dorian mode. Often used in early music, folk and jazz. • Whole tone – a scale made up of only whole tones. C, D, E, F#, G#, A# • Harmony – two or more notes of different pitch create harmony. • Chromatic - scale made up of semitones (smallest interval e.g. C-C#). • Diatonic harmony uses only the notes that belong to the major or minor keys. • Consonance - music/harmonies that sound nice (consonant). • Dissonance – clashing music/harmonies (dissonant). • Discords – harsh, dissonant sounding combination of notes. • Close harmony – where the notes are close together within the separate parts e.g. Barber shop singing • Drone – long held note, usually in the bass. Often 2 notes held together. Used a lot in Indian music. • Modulation – to change key/tonality. For example if the piece is in the key of C major you could modulate to the key of G major or A minor... It’s a good way of developing a piece of music. Stevie Wonder uses loads of modulation in his songs. Listen to ‘Golden Lady’ on you tube. • Tierce de Picardie – when a piece in a minor key finishes with a major chord • Cadences – a cadence is formed by the two chords that come at the end of a musical phrase: o Perfect cadence V-I. Sounds final and complete. o Plagal cadence IV-I. Also sounds complete, but not as strong. Used for the “Amen” at the end of hymns. o Imperfect cadence I -V. Unfinished feel to the music. o Interrupted cadence V-VI. Your ears expect it to go to the tonic as in a perfect cadence, but instead it goes to the VI chord – so it is the surprise cadence!
AoS 3 - Texture and Melody
• Monophonic – one single melody line. No harmonies, but it may be played/sung by more than one instrument/voice. • Unison – When everyone sings/plays one part together e.g. when we all sing Happy Birthday we are singing in unison (therefore, unison is monophonic). • Octaves - If the instruments/voices are an octave apart this is called being in OCTAVES. To be in unison the notes must be at the same pitch. • Homophonic (or harmonic) – a texture where all parts (melody and accompaniment) move in the same (more or less) rhythm creating a chordal effect. The accompaniment is supporting a clear melody. • Broken Chords – Playing the notes of the chord separately, one after the other. Broken Chords provide a more flowing accompaniment than when they are played as block chords. • Polyphonic / Contrapuntal –A texture where 2 or more equally important melodies interweave (weave in and out of each other). • Imitation – a phrase is repeated (imitated – so not necessarily exactly the same!). Could be one instrument/voice imitating itself, or 2 or more imitating each other. • Canon – is a particular type of imitation. It’s like a round (‘London’s Burning’), where the imitating part repeats the entire melody and not just a few notes of it. • Antiphonal –stereo effect as a musical phrase is passed from one group of performers to another. E.g. like two choirs singing alternate phrases standing in different places in a church. A lot of early religious vocal music was antiphonal. • Pitch – how high or low the note is. • Interval – the gap in pitch between two notes. • Scale – a group of notes played in ascending or descending order. • Arpeggio - playing the notes of a chord one by one • Conjunct melodies move mainly by step (next door notes like C-D) and sound smooth. • Disjunct melodies use a lot of leaps (bigger intervals) rather than step movement. They will sound spiky and are much harder to sing! • Triadic melodies that use the notes from a triad (3 note chord). E.g. a melody using C’s, E’s and G’s would be triadic as those are notes from the chord of C. • Scalic melodies are melodies that follow the order of a particular scale. Similar to conjunct melodies except that a scalic melody can only move up or down to the next note of the scale, whereas a conjunct melody can have a few little jumps. • Pentatonic scale - a five note scale. Often used in Chinese, African & Celtic Folk melodies. • Whole tone scale – a scale made up of only whole tones. • Chromatic scale – a scale made up of semitones (smallest interval e.g. C-C#). • Augmentation – doubling the note values/lengths of the original tune • Diminution – halving the note values/lengths of the original tune • Modes – came before scales. E.g. play D-D on the white notes-this is the Dorian mode. Often used in early music, folk and jazz. • Passing notes are the notes in between the notes of the harmony. So if the accompanying chord was C, the notes not in the chord (D, F, A, B) would be the passing notes. You need passing notes to make a melody sound smooth otherwise it would just be a triadic melody. • Blue notes the flattened notes in a Blues Scale. Often slide up or down to these notes. They make a piece sound ‘bluesy’! • Sequence – when a tune is repeated a step higher (ascending sequence) or a step lower (descending sequence). • Glissando/Portamento – a slide between 2 notes. (instruments like piano or harp would play all the notes in between the 2 notes really fast by sliding the fingers over the notes really quickly.) • Pitch bend – bending the note on a guitar or any string instrument/voice or keyboard/synthesizer. • Ornamentation – decorating the melody with ornaments such as trills (2 adjacent notes played rapidly). • Mordents - (upper and lower) – 3 notes starting and ending on the same note with the middle note either a step higher or lower. • Ostinato / Riff - a repeated rhythm or tune. (Both words mean the same, but riff tends to be used in a pop context.) • Phrase – a musical sentence (where you’d naturally take a breath). Often 2, 4 or 8 bars long. Indicated by a curved line above the stave. • Articulation – how to play the notes: o Staccato ( ) short, detached notes. o Legato -smooth. Indicated by a slur ( ) o Accent ( ) notes played with more force. • Improvisation – when a player makes the music up on the spot. In jazz/blues/pop players will often improvise a solo – commonly on a guitar/sax/trumpet/keyboard.
AoS 4 - Timbre and Dynamics
• Vocals – The use of voices. o Soprano voice – A high pitched female voice. o Tenor voice – A high male voice. o Alto voice – A low female voice. o Bass voice – A low male voice. o Countertenor - a male alto achieved using a falsetto voice o Falsetto – ‘false voice’ technique where male singers can sing higher using a softer voice. o Vibrato – A slight regular wavering of a pitch used by singers and instrument players to add warmth and interest to the note. • Instrumental Music – Music played by instruments only. (No singing!) • Instrumental family – e.g. String family, Woodwind family, Percussion family, Brass family. o Muted (Con sordino) – To deaden/quieten the sound. Brass players put mutes in the bell of the instrument to do this. o Vibrato – See above • String instruments can be played: o Con arco (Arco) – with a bow o Pizzicato (pizz)– plucked with the finger o Double stopping – when 2 strings are played at once o Tremelo/tremolando – literally means ‘trembling’. Rapid up & down movements of the bow on the strings. Good for building suspense etc. • Technology – Use of technology in music o Reverb – this is when the sounds of an instrument last longer, imitating the sound of the instrument reflecting against walls, floors and ceilings. o Distortion – Usually used in rock, this is when an instrument is forced to sound ‘aggressive.’ o Chorus – This is when a voice or instrument is multiplied electronically, so it sounds like many o Multitracking – A recording technique where different sounds/instruments are recorded seperatly and played back together e.g. Logic o Compression – Used mostly as a recording technique, this is where the quietest sounds are boosted and the loudest are lowered, so the recording is evened out. E.g. drums. o Vocodor – Device used to electronically combine a human voice with a musical instrument o Sequence - Electronic device or computer program that is used to record, edit and play back music data using MIDI o Panning - Sound is electronically moved across from one speaker to another, or is separated into different speakers
• Fortissimo (ff) - very loud • Forte (f) - loud • Mezzo Forte (mf) - quite loud • Mezzo piano (mp) - quite quiet • Piano (p) - quiet • Pianissimo (pp) - very quiet • Crescendo (< ) - getting louder • Decrescendo / Diminuendo ( >) - getting quieter • Sforzando (sf) - suddenly very loud
AoS 5 - Structure and Form
• Binary - o Two sections of roughly equal length o First section (A) is then answered by the second section (B) o Each section is usually repeated • Ternary – o Built up in three sections: A, B, A o Section B contains a contrast in some way to Section A. o The repeat of Section A can be exactly the same as the first time or it may have added detail to make it more interesting • Call and Response - o A musical phrase is sung by one person or musician and is followed by a responding phrase by one person or a group of musicians. o Common in traditional African Music and African-American music like Gospel o Think ‘Oh Happy Day’ • Rondo - o A main theme (A) keeps on returning between contrasting sections o Would have the structure A, B, A, C, A, D, A and so on o The contrasting sections are called episodes o Rondo is an example of a multi-sectional form as it has more forms than binary or ternary o A composer may change the repeats in some way each time and other sections may be repeated o Therefore this would still count as a Rondo: A, B, A, C, A, B, A as it has returned to A between each episode • Theme and Variations - o Involves starting a piece with a main theme which is then repeated several times, but changing or ‘varying’ each time o May be changed in tempo, style, instruments, rhythm, anything o But the main theme is usually in binary or ternary form and is often very memorable • Arch-Shape - o This form is completely symmetrical o The plan of the music resembles an arch; A, B, C, B, A • Cyclic Form - o Constant repetition of a fixed number of beats or melodic pattern o During each cycle these patterns can be repeated and developed through improvisation, or changes in texture or dynamics o Common in Africa, India, and Asia • Popular Song Forms - o Be able to recognise verse, chorus, bridge o Some may also involve Intro and Outro, Fills and Middle 8s o Ballad – o A common form of pop music; often romantic, it is a song that tells a story. • Ground Bass - o A melody in the bass (the lowest part) that is repeated through out the music o Harmony and Melody may keep changing around the ground bass o May be known as a Riff in popular music • Continuo/Basso Continuo o The Baroque orchestra also used a ‘continuo’ part beneath these instruments – a bass instrument (cello or bassoon usually) and harpsichord or organ - to fill out the harmonies. This would be the equivalent today of bass guitar and keyboard/guitar in the group – it provided the backdrop to the rest of the music • Pedal note – o a sustained (held) or repeated note, usually in the bass. The harmony on top of a pedal note must change while the pedal note stays the same or it is not a pedal note. It may be a Tonic pedal or a Dominant pedal note. • Fugue – o a polyphonic piece where each part enters with the same tune (at different pitches) and develops each one independently. It is similar to a canon but more complex with modulations, a development section and an ‘exposition’ where the opening section returns. • Concerto – o A piece of classical music for a soloist accompanied by an orchestra. Usually has 3 movements (fast – slow – fast). • Concerto Grosso – o In the Baroque times you could also get a Concerto Grosso which meant that in this case there were a small group of soloists rather than just one• Strophic – o When the same tune is repeated throughout for each verse. Think hymn tunes or Adele’s ‘Make you feel my love’ • Through-Composed – o Opposite of Strophic. When new music occurs for each verse, changing to reflect different moods or situations described in the lyrics • Aria – o A solo singer sings a melody with orchestral accompaniment. Found frequently in operas