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Upbeat and brisk. Italian: 'walking'. Meaning the music should be played at a walking pace.

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Not too fast or slow. Italian: 'air'. An aria is a song, generally used to describe set-piece songs in Opera. Music in which no key can be established.

The sonata

The technique is heard in a lot of 20th Century music. Composers from the Second Viennese School used atonality as a basis for much of their work. A work in dance form imitative of a folk song, with a narrative structure. A vertical line through the stave, to mark the music into sections, each with a set amount of beats within. A boating song, generally describing the songs sung by gondoliers in Venice. Male singing voice in the middle range. Gerald Finley is a world class example of a baritone.

A period in art and music from around Italian: 'continuous bass'. A form of bass line used in music from the Baroque period. It is usually notated with numbers indicating what chords can be used, so the continuo player can embellish the lines. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are a fine example of this. A lullaby. A Spanish dance. Two chords at the end of a piece which provide a type of 'punctuation' at the end of a musical phrase.

Cadences can either suggest the sentence isn't over, or provide a type of musical 'full-stop'.


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A choral work that uses solo voices with an instrumental usually orchestral accompaniment. A cantata is generally a choral work of some length that also uses solo voices, usually with instrumental accompaniment. The texts used may be sacred or secular. Some cantatas use solo voices without chorus or choir. Listen to Bach's Cantata No.


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Italian: 'caprice'. A lively piece of music, usually free in its form and short. Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien is certainly in high spirits. French: 'song'. A French song, from the middle ages to the 20th century. A Lutheran hymn. Generally the music moves in block chords. The most famous Chorales of all were written by Bach. Notes which do not belong to the diatonic scale. For example, in the scale of C major the white notes on the piano , they black keys sharps and flats are the chromatic notes.

Vivaldi Cello Sonatas - Classical Baroque Music - Reading Focus Melancholic Meditation Relief

Rimsky Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee is a particularly exciting example of a work built around the chromatic scale. Several symbols drawn at the end of a stave, indicating the pitch of the notes written on that stave. Italian: 'tail'. The tail end of a piece of music.

Beethoven's Piano Sonatas: John Suchet's guide to the music - Classic FM

Usually a section which indicates the end of the piece or section is approaching. Italian: 'colouring'. A type of decoration, usually in singing that is ornate and richly ornamented.

Dame Joan Sutherland was one of the greatest coloratura sopranos of all time. A piece of instrumental music for soloist contrasted by an ensemble either a small group of musicians or a full orchestra. Rachmaninov's epic Piano Concerto No. The vocal range of a male alto. Close in range to a female soprano. Iestyn Davies explains here.

Piano Sonata No. 14 (Beethoven)

Italian: 'from the beginning'. Usually abbreviated to 'D. Italian: 'expressive'. An instruction meaning that a passage should be played with expression, or expressively. French: 'study'. An instrumental composition intended to improve or tax certain aspects of technique. Some of the hardest instrumental works are large scale etudes by composers such as Chopin and Liszt. Flat can also mean that a note is out of tune, sounding lower than it should in this case. Italian: 'strong'. A dynamic instruction meaning the music should be played loudly.

The instruction appears as either: 'f' loud; 'ff' fortissimo, meaning very loud; or 'fff' very loud. The practice has expanded to allow for any number of 'f's, depending on how loud a composer wants something to be played. Here are some examples of when 'fff' really doesn't describe it A form in which the composition is contrapuntal. A theme introduces the piece, which is then repeat at different pitches throughout the composition, set in counterpoint to other musical lines within the texture.

The Fugue has proven a fascinating medium, even penetrating the world of pop music and Lady Gaga Italian: 'playful', 'cheerful'. Meaning the piece should be played in a cheerful or playful way. From the French 'glisser', meaning to slide. An instruction to slide between a group of notes. On the piano, for example, the performer runs a finger down or up the keyboard. The sounding of two or more notes at the same time.

A composer may be said to have a 'harmonic language', similar in meaning to saying someone has a particular accent. A piece of music with a humorous feel. A song of religious worship. The protestant tradition of hymn singing comes from the chorales of Martin Luther. Here is Classic FM's collection of 50 classic hymns.

A term describing movements in art and music. Both Debussy and Ravel resented their music being described thus , as they felt it suggested their music had little formal and structural value. The accuracy or lack of pitch in instrumental playing and singing.

For example, 'intonation is off here', meaning the tuning is not exact. A musical key is the relation of different chords to each other. The 'tonic' is the subjective sense of 'home', from which musical compositions deviate from, and arrive back to. Relations of different keys to each other give the impression of tension, development and resolution.

Classical Music Styles

A 'key signature' is an instruction at the beginning of written music, indicating what the 'home key' of the work is. Italian: 'broad', 'wide', 'slow'. An instruction meaning the music is usually slow in speed, or broad in tempo. Italian: 'joined'. An instruction indicating that a sequence of notes should be played smoothly, or joined up, as opposed to disconnected.

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Italian: 'wood'. An instruction for string players, usually written as 'col legno' with the wood. This indicates that the string player should use the wooden side of the bow to hit the strings with. A short, recurring musical phrase, usually associated with a character, idea, event or object. This is the musical equivalent of branding. Wagner used the technique extensively in his music dramas. Italian: 'little book'. The text of an opera or vocal work, which was traditionally printed in a small book. German: 'song'. With the advent of the Baroque period - , the recorder came to be used almost exclusively as a solo instrument.

Ensembles of the time focused on strings particularly the violin with one or more instruments performing a "solo" for forms such as the "concerto" or "concerto grosso," or continuo bass one bass instrument accompanied by one chord-playing instrument, such as a harpsichord with one or more instruments performing forms such as the "suite" or "sonata. A stronger, more stimulating timbre was sought from the instrument, and in the Baroque period particularly the later Baroque period the bore of the recorder was made conical. As a result, higher pitched harmonics were fuller, and the instrument came to produce a clear, resplendent timbre.

During this period, a great many "sonata" and "concerto" works were produced for the recorder, and it could be said that this was the period in which the recorder was most glamorous and active. For example, in addition to G. Handel's "Seven Sonatas" and "Two Trio Sonatas," a number of settings in opera and oratorios saw recorders used, as well as their use for solos in J. Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto" No.

In addition, G. Telemann wrote many sonatas, trio sonatas and concertos for the recorder, including his particularly well-known "Concerto in A Minor. Scarlatti as well as A. Vivaldi wrote many sonatas, triosonatas, and concertos, "Concerto in C-Major for Sopranino Recorder and String Orchestra"is particularly well known. It would not be an exaggeration to say this was the golden age of the recorder.

However, after the Baroque period the recorder lost its position and status to the flute, and vanished for a time from musical history. From the time of the classical period, when works by Mozart and Beethoven became well known, orchestras began to develop, but with its limited volume the recorder was unable to hold its own. Moreover, as the flute was more expressive and easier to play, the recorder gradually became less popular.