Classical Music Terms

Classical music dictionary

allemande [aluh-mand, -mahnd] noun
1. the first movement of the classical suite, composed in a moderate tempo in a time signature of four-four

atonality [ey-toh-nal-i-tee] noun
1. absence of or disregard for an established musical key in a composition
2. the principles of composition embodying this and providing a radical alternative to the diatonic system
Youtube on Atonality

cantata [(kuhn- tah -tuh)]
musical composition for voice and instruments and including choruses, solos, and recitatives.

chamber music noun
music suited for performance in a room or a small concert hall, especially for two or more, but usually fewer than ten, solo instruments.

concerto  [kuh n-cher-toh] noun, plural concertos, concerti
a composition for one or more principal instruments, with orchestral accompaniment, now usually in symphonic form.

madrigal [mad-ri-guh l] noun
1. a secular part song without instrumental accompaniment, usually for four to six voices, making abundant use of contrapuntal imitation, popular especially in the 16th and 17th centuries.
2.a lyric poem suitable for being set to music, usually short and often of amatory character, especially fashionable in the 16th century and later, in Italy, France, England, etc.

motet [moh-tet] noun, Music.
a vocal composition in polyphonic style, on a Biblical or similar prose text, intended for use in a church service.

opera [op-er-uh, op-ruh] noun
an extended dramatic composition, in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniment, that usually includes arias, choruses, and recitatives, and that sometimes includes ballet.
Compare comic opera, grand opera.

overture [oh-ver-cher, -choo r] noun
1. an orchestral composition forming the prelude or introduction to an opera, oratorio, etc.
2. an independent piece of similar character.

partita [pahr-tee-tuh; Italian pahrtee-tah]noun, plural partitas, partite
1. an instrumental suite common chiefly in the 18th century.
2.a set of variations.

serenade [ser-uhneyd] noun
1. a complimentary performance of vocal or instrumental music in the open air at night, as by a lover under the window of his lady.
2. a piece of music suitable for such performance.

sinfonia [sin-foh-neeuh; Italian seen-faw-nee-ah] noun, plural sinfonias, sinfonie
1.a symphony.

sonata [suhnah-tuh] noun
1. a composition for one or two instruments, typically in three or four movements in contrasted forms and keys.

strophic [strof-ik, stroh-fik] adj.
music where every stanza is sung to the same music

symphony [sim-fuh-nee] noun
1. an elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements.
2. an instrumental passage occurring in a vocal composition, or between vocal movements in a composition.
3. an instrumental piece, often in several movements, forming the overture to an opera or the like.-tone

Twelve-tone [twelvtohn] adj.
of, relating to, or denoting the type of serial music invented and developed by Arnold Schoenberg, which uses as musical material a tone row formed by the 12 semitones of the chromatic scale, together with its inverted and retrograde versions. The technique has been applied in various ways by different composers and usually results in music in which there are few, if any, tonal centres
A explanation

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