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broken chord: See arpeggio.
chord: Three or more different notes played simultaneously.
chord progression: Movement from one chord to another.
clef: A symbol placed on the music staff to indicate the pitch represented by each staff line and space.
coda: Literally means “tail.” The ending section of a song, indicated by a target-looking sign.
common time: 4/4 meter.
concerto: What you might be playing one day; a composition for a featured soloist and an orchestra.
crescendo: Gradually get louder.
cut time: Pays less than full-time; or 2/2 meter
da capo: Literally means “from the beginning;” often abbreviated as D C. al Coda or D.C. al Fine, meaning to play again from the beginning to the coda, or end.
dal segno: Literally means “from the sign;” often abbreviated as D.S. al Coda or D.S. al Fine, meaning to play again from the dollar-looking sign to the coda, or end.
Appendix A: Glossary of Musical Terms 307
damper: Little felt pads that stop the piano strings from vibrating.
D.C.: Home of the United States government; see da capo. decrescendo: See crescendo and do the opposite.
diminished: Lowered by one half step. A minor chord becomes a diminished chord when the 5th interval is lowered one half step.
diminuendo: Gradually get softer.
dissonant: Not pleasant to hear; unresolved tonality.
double barline: See barline and add another one; indicates the end of a section in the music.
D.S.: See dal segno.
dynamics: Music’s volume indications. See mezzo
enharmonics: Two tones that are the same pitch but have different names, such as C-sharp and D-flat.
F clef: See bass clef.
fermata: To hold a note or rest for an undetermined amount of time, fine: The end.
flat: What you hope your tires aren’t; or a half-step lower.
forte: The number after 39 Qust kidding!); or literally means strong or loud.
fortissimo: Very loud and forceful.
G clef: See treble clef.
glissando: Literally means “gliding.” A musical effect produced by sliding the fingers rapidly across the keys between two notes.
grace note: A note with no rhythmic value played just slightly before another note, so that the effect is “sliding” into the note.
grand staff: Two staves joined together, using treble and bass clefs, allowing left-hand and right-hand notes to be shown simultaneously.
308 Piano For Dummies
half step: The smallest interval on a keyboard, from one key to the next closest key; also known as a minor second interval.
hammer: An essential tool to have around the house; or a felt-covered mechanism inside a piano used to strike the strings to produce sounds.
harmony: The sound created by two or more different tones played together.
harpsichord: Keyboard instrument with strings that are plucked, rather than hammered; precursor to the pianoforte.
heavy metal: Iron or steel; or a type of rock music with hard-edged sound, interval: The distance between any two tones.
inversion: Upside down; or a chord that does not have the root as its bass note.
jazz: American musical form with emphasis on harmonic complexity, rhythm, and improvisation.
key: Those things you press on a piano; or those things you use to get in your house; or the tonal center of a piece of music.
key signature: Small grouping of insecure sharps or flats at the beginning of each staff line, telling you which key the song is in.
largo: Very slow and broad.
ledger line: Little lines that extend the music staff in either direction, used for notes that exceed the pitches represented by the lines and spaces of the staff.
lento: What comes out of your pockets in the dryer; or slow tempo.
maestoso: Literally means “majestically.” To play with lots of emotion.
manual: Type of hard labor; or a set of keys on an organ or harpsichord.
march time: What follows “Hup, 2, 3, 4” in a parade; or 2/4 meter.
measure: To see how long something is; or the space between two barlines on a musical staff in which a specific number of beats are placed.
Appendix A: Glossary of Musical Terms 309
melody: A hummable line of music; or an organized sequence of single notes and rhythms.
meter: About 36 inches long; or the division of music and rhythm into measures by defining the number of beats and the length of one beat for each measure; also called time signature.
metronome: A device that clicks, beeps, or flashes the correct tempo in beats per minute (bpm).
mezzo: Literally means “medium.” Used with other dynamics such as piano and forte, so that mezzo-forte means “medium loud.”
MIDI: Acronym for “musical instrument digital interface.” A system used to connect an electric keyboard to another MIDI device such as a computer, sequencer, or other electric keyboards.
moderate: A tempo indication, which literally means “moderate.”
modulation: Changing keys, or the transition between two keys.
multitimbral: On electric keyboards, the ability to produce more than one sound simultaneously.
note: The representation of a musical tone and rhythmic value, such as a quarter note G or an eighth note A-flat.