Music in Our Schools Month: Music - Middle 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!
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Full list of words from this list:

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

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