Piano Students Dictionary of Terms          GO to HOME PAGE Other Dictionaries on-line
a     to, at, in
accelerando (accel.)  growing faster
accent   emphasis placed on a note or chord
adagio   slowly
a deux (a 2)   to be played by both instruments
ad libitum (ad lib.)   freely; not in strict time
affettuoso   with feeling and emotion
agitato      agitated, restless, hurried
al fine       to the end
alla           in the style of
alIa breve C  cut time; 2 beats to the measure; 1 beat to each half note
allargando (allarg.)     growing slower and louder
allegretto  a bright tempo; faster than moderato but slower than allegro
allegro         fast
amoroso      affectionately
andante       a moderately slow but flowing tempo
andantino     a little faster than andante
animato       animated; with spirit
a piacere      at pleasure; equivalent of ad libitum
appassionato  with passion and emotion
appoggiatura  a grace note which takes the accent and part of the time value of the following principal note; often called long grace note.
arpeggio  notes of a chord played consecutively; a broken chord
assai       very, rather
a tempo   in the original tempo
attacca    begin the next portion of the music without pausing
bassa low.  8va bassa means play the notes an octave lower than written
ben       well
bis        twice, repeat the passage
bravura  boldness
brillante  brilliant
brio       vigor, spirit
cadenza     an elaborate solo passage, frequently unaccompanied, used as an embellishment
calando      gradually softer and slower
cantabile     in a singing style
capriccioso   in a fanciful and capricious style
chromatic     proceeding by semi tones (half steps)
coda           a closing passage
con, col       with
con anima    with animation and boldness
con brio       with vigor and brilliancy
con espressione   with expression
con fuoco    with fire and passion
con moto     with motion
con spirito    with spirit and energy
crescendo (cresc.)  Increasing the volume or loudness of the tone
da, dal               from
da capo (D.C.)  from the beginning
D.C. al fine        from the beginning to the word Fine (the finish or end)
dal segno (D.S.)   from the sign %
D.S. al fine       from the sign to the word Fine
decrescendo (decresc.)   decreasing the volume of the tone
diminuendo (dim.)    gradually softer
divisi (div.)     divided; each part to be played by a separate instrument
dolce           sweetly
dolcissimo   very sweetly
dolore         sorrow, sadness
doloroso       sadly
doppio movimento     twice as fast
dynamics       expression produced by the different degrees of volume of the tone
e                and
elegante      elegant, graceful
energico      energetic, vigorous
enharmonic   alike in pitch but different in notation
espressivo     expressively
fermata U     a pause or hold "hold & listen"
finale       the concluding movement
fine         the end
forte (f)    loud
forte-piano (fp) accent strongly, diminishing immediately to piano
fortissimo (ff)     very loud
forza         force, power, strength
forzando (fz)    the note or chord strongly accented
fuoco        fire, energy
furioso      furious
 giocoso      humorous
giojoso        joyous
giusto          exact; in strict time
glissando     glide over the keys with the back of hand or fingers
grace notes   small notes added for an ornamental or embellishing effect
grandioso      in a grand manner
grave            solemnly and very slowly
grazioso        gracefully
gruppetto      a group of grace notes; a turn
 il        the
impetuoso        impetuous
 key note       the tonic or first note in a scale

Other dictionaries / glossaries on-line: http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musical_terminology
http://www.essentialsofmusic.com/glossary/glossary.html  http://www.naxos.com/education/glossary.asp

lamentoso       lamenting, sad
largamente       in a full, broad style
larghetto        slowly, but not as slowly as largo
largo       a slow, broad tempo
ledger lines   short lines added above or below the staff for notes too high or too low to appear on or within the staff
legato        in a smooth, connected manner, indicated by the slur
leggiero     lightly
lento     slow
l'istesso tempo at the same tempo as previous passage or movement
loco      as written; generally used after a passage marked 8va
ma      but
ma non troppo      but not too much so
maestoso      majestic, dignified
maggiore      the major key
marcato        in a marked and emphatic style
marcia        march
marziale      in a martial style
meno         less
meno mosso     less motion; slower
mezzo      half, medium
mezzo forte (mf)      moderately loud
mezzo piano (mp )   moderately soft
minore       the minor key
misterioso    mysteriously
moderato     moderately
molto          much, very
mordent M  "bite" ornament of mother note and lower auxiliaryof two or more notes that make up a very short trill
morendo     dying away; softer and softer
mosso        movement
moto         motion
non           not
non tanto    not too much
notation      the art of representing music by written or printed characters
(notes, rests, etc.)
obbligato     a counter-melody which complements the main theme and which constitutes an indispensable part of the composition
octave      an interval of eight diatonic sounds; notes an octave apart have the same letter name, but one of them is higher than the other
opus      a work or composition,
ossia      otherwise; or else: also;  indicating another way of playing a passage
ottava (8va.)     to be played an octave higher
 passionato      passionate
patetico        pathetic
pause U       a pause, also called hold or fermata (hold & listen)
perdendosi      gradually softer and slower; dying away.
pianissimo (pp)   very softly
piano (p)           softly
piu more,           as piu forte, piu lento, etc.
piu mosso        more movement; faster
poco               a little
poco a poco    little by little
pomposo         pompous, grand
prestissimo       as fast as possible
presto              very fast; faster than allegro
primo (1mo )    the first, as Tempo Primo
quasi         like; in the style of
rallentando (rall.)     gradually slower
recitativo (recit.)     a style of performance intended to sound like a dramatic recitation in natural speech
replica          repetition
rinforzando (rfz.)   reinforced; played with added strength and emphasis
risoluto      in a resolute and bold manner
ritardando (rit.)      retarding, gradually slowing the tempo
ritenuto (riten.)       in a slower tempo; held back
rubato       robbing or taking from the notes their strict time value by alternately hurrying and retarding for the purpose of expression
scherzando        playfully
segue       follows on; continue
semplice    in a simple, unaffected manner s
sempre      always, continually
senza        without
sforzando (sfz.)   with sudden force or emphasis
simile       similarly; in like manner
smorzando (smorz.)    extinguished; suddenly dying away
solo a composition or passage for a single voice or instrument
sordino       a mute, such as used for a violin, a trumpet
sostenuto    sustained
sotto voce    in a quiet, subdued tone
spirito      spirit, energy
staccato   detached; cut short
stringendo (string.)     pressing; accelerating the tempo
subito     immediately, suddenly .
syncopation     a type of time structure in which an accented note occurs on an ordinarily weak beat and is prolonged through an ordinarily stronger beat
tacet       be silent; do not play
tempo     rate of speed
tenuto (ten.)   held for the full time value
tranquillo     quietly, calmly .tremolo repetition of a note or chord with great rapidity producing a tremulous sound
trill    a rapid alternation between the printed note and the next note above it (Baroque: printed note and the next note below it )
triplet     a group of three notes played in the time usually given to two notes of the same value
troppo     too much
turn T     an embellishment consisting of four rapidly played notes that wind around the printed note
tutti     all together
 una,   one, an
velutatta      velvet
vivace        lively, briskly
vivo         animated, quick
volti subito (v.s.)     turn the page immediately