Music in Our Schools Month: Music - High School

Review this list and your music vocabulary will be pitch perfect. You'll learn about musical notation, genres of music, different types of instruments, and much more. Master these words and you won't miss a beat!
190 words 857 learners

Learn words with Flashcards and other activities

Full list of words from this list:

  1. a cappella
    without musical accompaniment
  2. accelerando
    with increasing speed
  3. accent
    the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note
  4. accidental
    musical notation that makes a note sharp or flat or natural
  5. accompaniment
    a musical part that supports other musical parts
  6. acoustic
    relating to the study of the physical properties of sound
  7. alla breve
    a musical time signature indicating two or four half notes to a measure
  8. allargando
    gradually decreasing in tempo and broadening in manner
  9. allegretto
    in a moderately quick tempo
  10. allegro
    in a quick and lively tempo
  11. allegro con spirito
    lively with spirit
  12. alto
    the lowest female singing voice
  13. andante
    at a moderately slow tempo
  14. arco
    to be played with the bow
  15. aria
    an elaborate song for solo voice
  16. arpeggio
    a chord whose notes are played in rapid succession
  17. arrangement
    a piece of music that has been adapted for performance
  18. arranger
    a musician who adapts a composition for particular voices or instruments or for another style of performance
  19. articulation
    the aspect of pronunciation that shapes the sounds of speech
  20. atonal
    characterized by avoidance of traditional musical scales
  21. augmentation
    the statement of a theme in notes of greater duration
  22. bar line
    a vertical line before the accented beat marking the boundary between musical bars
  23. baroque
    relating to an elaborately ornamented style of art and music
  24. bass
    the lowest part of the musical range
  25. bass clef
    a clef that puts the F below middle C on the fourth line of a staff
  26. beat
    the basic rhythmic unit in a piece of music
  27. bel canto
    a style of operatic singing
  28. blues
    a type of folksong that originated among Black Americans
  29. brass instrument
    a wind instrument that consists of a brass tube (usually of variable length) that is blown by means of a cup-shaped or funnel-shaped mouthpiece
  30. cadenza
    a solo passage occurring near the end of a piece of music
  31. canon
    piece of music in which a melody is imitated in other parts
  32. chamber music
    serious music performed by a small group of musicians
  33. chest voice
    the lower ranges of the voice in speaking or singing
  34. chord
    a combination of three or more notes that blend harmoniously
  35. chorus
    the part of a song where a group of singers joins a soloist
  36. chromatic
    based on a scale consisting of 12 semitones
  37. classical music
    traditional genre of music conforming to an established form and appealing to critical interest and developed musical taste
  38. coda
    the closing section of a musical composition
  39. common time
    a time signature indicating four beats to the bar
  40. composer
    someone who writes music as a profession
  41. concerto
    a composition for orchestra and a soloist
  42. conductor
    the person who leads a musical group
  43. crescendo
    a gradual increase in loudness
  44. decrescendo
    (music) a gradual decrease in loudness
  45. descant
    an additional musical part above the main melody
  46. diatonic
    based on or using the five tones and two semitones of the major or minor scales of western music
  47. diminished
    reduction by a semitone of any perfect or minor interval
  48. diminuendo
    (music) a gradual decrease in loudness
  49. diminution
    the statement of a theme in notes of lesser duration
  50. double bar
    notation marking the end of principal parts of a musical composition; two adjacent bar lines
  51. double stopping
    stopping two strings and producing two notes at the same time
  52. downbeat
    the first beat of a musical measure
  53. down-bow
    a downward stroke from the heel to the tip of the bow
  54. duet
    a musical composition for two performers
  55. eighth note
    a musical note having the time value of an eighth of a whole note
  56. embouchure
    the aperture of a wind instrument into which the player blows directly
  57. ensemble
    a group of musicians playing or singing together
  58. expression
    communication without words
  59. falsetto
    a male singing voice with artificially high tones
  60. fermata
    (music) a prolongation of unspecified length on a note or chord or rest
  61. flat
    lowered in pitch by one chromatic semitone
  62. folk music
    the traditional and typically anonymous music that is an expression of the life of people in a community
  63. forte
    (music) to be played relatively loudly
  64. fortissimo
    a direction in music; to be played very loudly
  65. fret
    bar of metal across the fingerboard of a musical instrument
  66. genre
    an expressive style of music
  67. glissando
    a rapid series of ascending or descending notes on the musical scale
  68. half note
    a musical note having the time value of half a whole note
  69. half rest
    a musical rest having the time value of half a whole rest or equal in duration to two beats in common time
  70. half step
    the musical interval between adjacent keys on a keyboard instrument
  71. harmonic
    a tone that is a component of a complex sound
  72. harmony
    the structure of music with respect to composition of chords
  73. head voice
    the higher ranges of the voice in speaking or singing
  74. homophonic
    having a single melodic line with accompaniment
  75. hymn
    a song of praise, especially a religious song
  76. improvise
    perform without preparation
  77. instrumentation
    the act of arranging a piece of music for an orchestra and assigning parts to the different musical instruments
  78. interval
    the difference in pitch between two notes
  79. jazz
    genre of American music that developed in the 20th century
  80. key
    diatonic scale providing tonal framework for a musical piece
  81. keyboard
    set of levers that can be pressed, as on a piano or computer
  82. key signature
    the sharps or flats that follow the clef and indicate the key
  83. largo
    slowly and broadly
  84. leading tone
    (music) the seventh note of the diatonic scale
  85. ledger line
    a short line
  86. legato
    connecting the notes; in music
  87. lento
    (of tempo) slow
  88. madrigal
    an unaccompanied partsong for several voices
  89. major key
    a key whose harmony is based on the major scale
  90. march
    genre of music written for walking with regular steps
  91. measure
    musical notation for a repeating pattern of musical beats
  92. melodic
    of or relating to a distinctive sequence of musical notes
  93. melodic phrase
    a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence
  94. melodic theme
    (music) melodic subject of a musical composition
  95. melody
    a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence
  96. meno mosso
    played at reduced speed; less rapid
  97. meter
    rhythm as given by division into parts of equal duration
  98. metronome
    clicking pendulum indicating the tempo of a piece of music
  99. middle C
    the note designated by the first ledger line below the treble staff; 261.63 hertz
  100. MIDI
    a standard protocol for communication between electronic musical instruments and computers
  101. minor key
    a key based on the minor scale
  102. moderato
    (of tempo) moderate
  103. monophonic
    consisting of a single melodic line
  104. motif
    a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music
  105. movement
    a major self-contained part of a symphony or sonata
  106. musical phrase
    a short musical passage
  107. natural
    being neither raised nor lowered by one chromatic semitone
  108. notation
    a technical system of symbols to represent special things
  109. octave
    a musical interval of eight tones
  110. opera
    a drama set to music
  111. opus
    a musical work that has been created
  112. oratorio
    a musical composition for voices and orchestra
  113. orchestra
    a musical organization consisting of instrumentalists
  114. ostinato
    a musical phrase repeated over and over during a composition
  115. pentatonic scale
    a gapped scale with five notes
  116. percussion
    section of a band or orchestra that plays struck instruments
  117. pianissimo
    a direction in music; to be played very softly
  118. piano
    used as a direction in music; to be played relatively softly
  119. pitch
    the high or low quality of a sound
  120. pizzicato
    with a light plucking staccato sound
  121. polyphonic
    having two or more independent but harmonically related melodic parts sounding together
  122. polyphony
    music arranged in parts for several voices or instruments
  123. pop
    music of general appeal to teenagers
  124. presto
    at a very fast tempo (faster than allegro)
  125. primo
    the principal part of a duet (especially a piano duet)
  126. quarter note
    a musical note having the time value of a quarter of a whole note
  127. quarter rest
    a musical rest having one-fourth the time value of a whole rest
  128. quartet
    a musical composition for four performers
  129. reed
    a thin strip of material that vibrates and produces a tone
  130. refrain
    part of a song or poem that recurs at regular intervals
  131. register
    timbre characteristic of a certain range of the human voice
  132. repertoire
    a collection of works that an artist or company can perform
  133. rest
    musical notation indicating silence of a specified duration
  134. rhythm
    the basic recurring unit in a piece of music
  135. ritardando
    gradually decreasing in tempo
  136. rock music
    a genre of popular music originating in the 1950s
  137. rondo
    a musical form that is often the last movement of a sonata
  138. round
    a partsong in which voices follow each other
  139. rubato
    a flexible tempo; not strictly on the beat
  140. scale
    a series of notes differing in pitch according to a scheme
  141. score
    a written form of a musical composition
  142. semitone
    the musical interval between adjacent keys on a keyboard instrument
  143. sforzando
    (music) a notation written above a note and indicating that it is to be played with a strong initial attack
  144. sharp
    raised in pitch by one chromatic semitone
  145. sightread
    perform music from a score without having seen the score before
  146. sixteenth note
    a musical note having the time value of a sixteenth of a whole note
  147. slur
    a curved line spanning notes that are to be played legato
  148. solfege
    singing using solfa syllables to denote the notes of the scale of C major
  149. solo
    a musical composition for one voice or instrument
  150. sonata
    a musical composition of movements of contrasting forms
  151. soprano
    the highest female voice; the voice of a boy before puberty
  152. sotto voce
    in an undertone
  153. spiccato
    bowing in such a way that the bow bounces lightly off the strings
  154. staccato
    marked by or composed of disconnected parts or sounds
  155. staff
    five horizontal lines on which the musical notes are written
  156. stave
    five horizontal lines on which musical notes are written
  157. stringed instrument
    a musical instrument in which taut strings provide the source of sound
  158. suite
    a musical composition of several loosely connected movements
  159. symphonic
    relating to or characteristic or suggestive of a symphony
  160. symphony
    a long and complex sonata for an orchestra
  161. syncopation
    a musical rhythm accenting a normally weak beat
  162. synthesizer
    (music) an electronic instrument (usually played with a keyboard) that generates and modifies sounds electronically and can imitate a variety of other musical instruments
  163. tempo
    the speed at which a composition is to be played
  164. tenor
    the adult male singing voice above baritone
  165. texture
    the musical pattern created by parts being played together
  166. theme
    melodic subject of a musical composition
  167. tie
    a curved line over two notes of the same pitch
  168. timbre
    the distinctive property of a complex sound
  169. time signature
    a musical notation indicating the number of beats to a measure and kind of note that takes a beat
  170. tonality
    any of 24 major or minor diatonic scales that provide the tonal framework for a piece of music
  171. tone
    the distinctive property of a complex sound
  172. tonic
    relating to or being the keynote of a major or minor scale
  173. transposition
    playing in a different key from the key intended
  174. treble clef
    a clef that puts the G above middle C on the second line of a staff
  175. tremolo
    a tremulous effect produced by repetition of a single tone
  176. triad
    a three-note major or minor chord
  177. trill
    a note that alternates with another note a semitone above it
  178. trio
    a musical composition for three performers
  179. tune
    adjust the pitches of (musical instruments)
  180. unison
    two or more sounds or tones at the same pitch or in octaves
  181. up-bow
    an upward stroke from the tip to the heel of the bow
  182. variation
    a repetition of a musical theme in which it is modified
  183. vibrato
    (music) a pulsating effect in an instrumental or vocal tone produced by slight and rapid variations in pitch
  184. vivace
    lively, in music
  185. vocal
    music intended to be performed by one or more singers, usually with instrumental accompaniment
  186. whole note
    a musical note having the longest time value
  187. whole rest
    a musical rest equal in duration to four beats in common time
  188. whole step
    a musical interval of two semitones
  189. wind instrument
    a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by an enclosed column of air that is moved by the breath
  190. woodwind
    any wind instrument other than the brass instruments
Created on February 3, 2017 (updated March 29, 2017)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.