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Translation Dictionary - Lyrics glossary
Category: Music and Sound
Date & country: 24/10/2013, UK
Words: 470


a 2
see a due in this list

a bene placito
up to the performer

a cappella
in the manner of singing in a chapel; i.e., without instrumental accompaniment

a due
intended as a duet; for two voices or instruments; together; two instruments are to play in unison after a solo passage for one of the instruments

a nessuna cosa
to nothing; an indication to hold a fermata until it dies away (this only works with instruments which cannot sustain a note)

a niente
to nothing; an indication to make a diminuendo which fades to pppp

a piacere
at pleasure; i.e., the performer need not follow the rhythm strictly, for example in a cadenza

a tempo
in time; i.e., the performer should return to the main tempo of the piece (after an accelerando or ritardando, etc.); also may be found in combination with other terms such as a tempo giusto (in strict time) or a tempo di menuetto (at the speed of a minuet)

aber (Ger)
but

accarezz
expressive and caressing

accelerando, accel.
accelerating; gradually increasing the tempo

accent
Attack hard.

accentato
accented; with emphasis

acceso
ignited, on fire

accompagnato
accompanied; i.e., with the accompaniment following the soloist, who may speed up or slow down at will

ad libitum (commonly ad lib; Latin)
at liberty; i.e., the speed and manner of execution are left to the performer

adagietto
rather slow

adagio
at ease; i.e., play slowly

adagissimo
very, very slow

affannato, affannoso
anguished

affrettando
hurrying, pressing onwards

agile
swiftly

agitato
agitated

al, alla
to the, in the manner of (al before masculine nouns, alla before feminine)

all' ottava
at the octave, see ottava

alla breve
in cut-time; two beats per measure or the equivalent thereof

alla marcia
in the style of a march

allargando
broadening, becoming a little slower each time

allegretto
a little lively, moderately fast

allegretto vivace
a moderately quick tempo

allegrissimo
very fast, though slower than presto

allegro
cheerful or brisk; but commonly interpreted as lively, fast

als (Ger)
than

altissimo
very high

alto
high; often refers to a particular range of voice, higher than a tenor but lower than a soprano

alzate sordini
lift or raise the mutes; i.e., remove mutes

am Steg (Ger)
at the bridge; i.e., playing a bowed string instrument near its bridge, which produces a heavier, stronger tone (see sul ponticello in this list)

amabile
amiable, pleasant

amoroso
loving

anacrusis
a note or notes that precede the first full bar; a pickup

andante
at a walking pace; i.e., at a moderate tempo

andantino
slightly faster than andante (but earlier it is sometimes used to mean slightly slower than andante)

anima
feeling

animandosi
animated, lively

animato
animated, lively

antiphon
a liturgical or other composition consisting of choral responses, sometimes between two choirs; a passage of this nature forming part of another composition; a repeated passage in a psalm or other liturgical piece, similar to a refrain.

apais
calmed

appassionato
passionately

arco
the bow used for playing some string instrument; i.e., played with the bow, as opposed to pizzicato (plucked), in music for bowed instruments; normally used to cancel a pizzicato direction

arietta
a short aria

arioso
airy, or like an air (a melody); i.e., in the manner of an aria; melodious

armonioso
harmoniously

arpeggiato
a way of playing a chord

arpeggio
like a harp; i.e., the notes of the chords are to be played quickly one after another (usually ascending) instead of simultaneously. In music for piano, this is sometimes a solution in playing a wide-ranging chord whose notes cannot be played otherwise. Arpeggios are frequently used as an accompaniment. See also broken chord in this list.

assai
very

assez (Fr)
enough, sufficiently

attacca
attack or attach; go straight on; i.e., at the end of a movement, a direction to attach the next movement to the previous one, without a gap or pause

Ausdruck (Ger)
expression

ausdrucksvoll (Ger)
expressively

avec (Fr)
with or with another

B
German for B flat (also in Finnish, Icelandic and Danish); H in German is B natural

barbaro
barbarous (notably used in Allegro barbaro by B

Bart
a term which instructs string performers to play a pizzicato note to pull the string away from the fingerboard so that it snaps back percussively on the fingerboard.

bass
the lowest of the standard four voice ranges (bass, tenor, alto, soprano); the lowest melodic line in a musical composition, often thought of as defining and supporting the harmony; in an orchestral context, the term usually refers to the double bass.

basso continuo
continuous bass; i.e., a bass part played continuously throughout a piece to give harmonic structure, used especially in the Baroque period

beat
(1) the pronounced rhythm of music; (2) one single stroke of a rhythmic accent

bellicoso
warlike, aggressive

bend
jazz term referring either to establishing a pitch, sliding down half a step and returning to the original pitch or sliding up half a step from the original note.

beschleunigte (Ger)
accelerated, as in mit beschleunigter Geschwindigkeit, at an accelerated tempo

bewegt (Ger)
moved, with speed

binary
a musical form in two sections

bird's eye
a slang term for fermata, which instructs the performer to hold a note or chord as long as they wish

bis (Lat)
twice; i.e., repeat the relevant action or passage

bisbigliando
whispering; i.e., a special tremolo effect on the harp where a chord or note is rapidly repeated at a low volume

bocca chiusa
with closed mouth

bravura
boldness; as in con bravura, boldly

breit (Ger)
broad

bridge
Transitional passage connecting two sections of a composition, also transition. Also the part of a stringed instrument that holds the strings in place and transmits their vibrations to the resonant body of the instrument.

brillante
brilliantly, with sparkle

brio
vigour; usually in con brio

brioso
vigorously (same as con brio)

broken chord
A chord in which the notes are not all played at once, but in some more or less consistent sequence. They may follow singly one after the other, or two notes may be immediately followed by another two, for example. See also arpeggio in this list, which as an accompaniment pattern may be seen as a kind of broken chord; see Alberti bass.

bruscamente
brusquely

c
yield, give way

cadenza
a solo section, usually in a concerto or similar work, that is used to display the performer's technique, sometimes at considerable length

calando
falling away, or lowering; i.e., getting slower and quieter; ritardando along with diminuendo

calore
warmth; so con calore, warmly

cambiare
to change; i.e., any change, such as to a new instrument

canon or kanon (Ger)
a theme that is repeated and imitated and built upon by other instruments with a time delay, creating a layered effect; see Pachelbel's Canon.

cantabile or cantando
in a singing style

capriccioso
capriciously, unpredictable, volatile

chiuso
closed; i.e., muted by hand (for a horn, or similar instrument; but see also bocca chiusa, which uses the feminine form, in this list)

coda
a tail; i.e., a closing section appended to a movement

codetta
a small coda, but usually applied to a passage appended to a section of a movement, not to a whole movement

col legno
with the wood; i.e., the strings (for example, of a violin) are to be struck with the wood of the bow, making a percussive sound; also battuta col legno

col pugno
with the fist; i.e., bang the piano with the fist

col, colla
with the (col before a masculine noun, colla before a feminine noun); (see next for example)

colla parte
with the soloist; as an instruction in an orchestral score or part, it instructs the conductor or orchestral musician to follow the rhythm and tempo of a solo performer (usually for a short passage)

colla voce
with the voice; as an instruction in an choral music/opera score or orchestral part, it instructs the conductor or orchestral musician to follow the rhythm and tempo of a solo singer (usually for a short passage)

coloratura
coloration; i.e., elaborate ornamentation of a vocal line, or (especially) a soprano voice that is well-suited to such elaboration