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A B C D E F G H I J K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

** A **

A:
See Concert A.
Absolute Pitch:
see perfect pitch.
accent:  
The emphasis on a beat, making it louder or longer than others..
Accidentals:
Signs (sharp, flat or natural) that raise or lower a given diatonic pitch to deviate from its key signature.
Action:
The height of the strings above the fret board
Acoustic:
Any instrument that can produce sound by natural means and without the need for artificial (electronic) amplification.
Adagio:
Slow, leisurely; a slow movement.
Acoustics:
1. The science relating to the creation and dissipation of sound waves.
2. The way in which sound is affected by the physical properties of a room or chamber.
Aeolian Mode:
A mode starting at the sixth degree (VI) of a scale. This scale is also called the natural minor scale.
alla breve:  
See cut time.
Alteration:
To raise (sharpen) or lower (flatten) a pitch from its natural state.
Anacrusis:
That part of music occuring before the downbeat of the first complete measure. When the anacrusis occurs on the last beat it is often called the "upbeat" or "pickup"
Arpeggio:
The notes of a chord played individually.
Augmented:
Generally refers to the raising of a pitch chromatically by one half step.
Augmented Chord:
A chord which contains a root, a major third, and an augmented fifth.

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** B **

Bar:
A sub division of time in music.
Bar Line:
A vertical line which shows the end of a bar of music.
Barre:
The use of your index finger to hold down more than one string at one fret in a single chord.
Barre Chord:
A guitar chord using the index finger as a "bar" across the fingerboard to depress some or all of the strings. Acts like a movable nut (the slotted piece at the top of the neck). By using your first finger as a "bar," many open chords become movable up the fretboard.
Bass Clef:
The F clef indicating the fourth line of the staff. Used in combination with the treble clef to make the grand staff.
Bass note:
The lowest note played in a chord, shown either by the chord name, e.g. E in E or the note listed after a forward stroke (slash) in an inverted chord, e.g. F# in G/F#.
Bass Strumming:
A right hand technique which involves picking a bass note then strumming the rest of the chord.
Beat:  
- Regular pulsation.
- A basic unit of length in musical time.
Blue note  
A slight drop of pitch on the third, fifth or seventh tone of the scale, common in blues and jazz.
Body:
The main part of a guitar, excluding the neck.
Bottle-neck:
- A style of playing in which the fretting of the notes is achieved, entirely or in part, by the use of a tube over one finger. Originally made from the neck of a bottle (hence the name), the glass is often replaced by tubes of ceramic, steel or other metals. The guitar is played in conventional style. See Steel Guitar
- The tube used in bottle-neck style.
Bout:
In the violin and guitar families, the curves in the sides of the instrument, especially the C-shaped inward curves that form the waist.
Bridge  
- Transitional passage connecting two sections of a composition, also transition.
- Situated on the body of a stringed instrument, it is the part over which the strings run. It determines the distance of the strings from each other and the height of the strings from the body and fretboard. In acoustics and many electrics, it also anchors the strings at the body end.

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** C **
C Clef:
A clef that indicates which line represents C on a staff, as opposed to a G clef, or an F clef.
Cancel:
A natural sign, used to remove a previously applied accidental.
Capodaster:
A capodaster is a mechanical device that acts as a movable nut and raises the pitch of the barred strings. There are capodasters (or capos, for short) that barre all strings and others that barre selected strings. It allows open chords to be moved further up the neck in order to play in a different key without changing chords.
Chord:
A minimum of three notes, which are played simutaneously. The notes in the chord are based on the root and other notes which are to be found in the same scale as the root.
Chord chart:
A diagram which shows a chord progression.
Chord, Common:
A chord composed of a root, third, and fifth
chord, open:
A chord played with open, i.e. unfretted, but sounded strings.
Chord progression:
A sequence of chords, often represented by the scale degree (e.g. I-IV-V).
Chordal:
A form of music in which a single melody is accompanied by sets of chords, rather than a competing counter melody.
Chromatic:
Melody or harmony built from the twelve semitones of an octave.
Chromatic scale:
consists of an ascending or descending sequence of semitones.
Clef:
The symbol used at the beginning of a staff to indicate which lines and spaces represent which notes.
Modern music makes use of only three clefs, the G or treble clef, the F or bass clef, and the C clef, when used as an alto clef.
Coda:  
The last part of a piece, usually added to a standard form to bring it to a close.
Common time:
4/4 metre. See metre, quadruple.
Compound Interval:
An interval greater than an octave, such as a ninth, or eleventh.
Concert A:
A note resonating at 440Hz
Counterpoint:
Two or more lines of melody played at the same time
Cut time: 
A duple metre with a key signature of 2/2, but similar to Common time is generally indicated as ; see alla breve.

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** D **

Da capo:
"From the start". Generally abbreviated to D.C., there are two forms in use:
D.C. al Fine - Go back to the beginning and continue until you reach the "Fine"
D.C. al Coda - Go back to the beginning and play to the coda sign (the coda sign looks like a capital "O" overlaid with a cross "+")
Decrescendo:
The dynamic effect of gradually growing softer, indicated in the musical score by the marking ">". Also referred to as diminuendo.
Degree:
A note of a scale, usually as identified by number. See second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and octave also by Roman Notation.
Del segno:
"From the sign", which looks like a backward slanted "S" with an oblique stroke ("slash") through it and a dot front and back at mid height. Generally abbreviated to D.S., it has two forms:
D.S. al Fine - Go back to the sign and end at Fine
D.S. al Coda - Go back to the last opening coda sign ||: (if none, then the beginning of the piece) and play to the closing coda sign :||.
Diatonic:
The notes that occur naturally in a major or minor scale, excluding all accidentals other than those defined by the key signature.
Diminished:
Lowered, or reduced. Generally refers to the lowering of a pitch chromatically by one half step.
Term applied to a minor chord with a lowered 5th and a chord comprising of minor 3rd intervals.
Diminished Seventh Chord:
A chord which contains a root, a minor third, a diminished fifth, and a diminished seventh.
Diminished Triad:
A chord which contains a root, a minor third, and a diminished fifth.
Diminuendo:
See Decrescendo.
Dissonance:
Combination of tones that sounds discordant and unstable, in need of resolution.
Dominant:
A chord based on the fifth degree (V) of the diatonic scale being used. A dominant usually resolves to the tonic.
Dorian Mode:
A mode starting on the second degree of the major scale.
Double bar line:
Two vertical lines which show the end of a section or piece of music.
Double Flat:
An accidental that lowers the note it preceeds by one whole step.
Double Sharp:
An accidental that raises the note it preceeds by one whole step.
Double-stop:
Playing two notes simultaneously on a string instrument.
Doubly Augmented Sixth Chord:
An augmented chord, which contains a sharp second from the tonic.
Down beat:
First beat of the measure, the strongest in any metre.
Duple meter:
Basic metrical pattern of two beats to a measure.
Dynamics:
The degrees of loudness or softness in a musical work, and the symbols that represent them.

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**E **

Echo:
A delayed repetition of a sound or signal, usually at least 50 milliseconds after the original sound.
Eighth:
An octave.
Electric guitar:
A guitar which can be electrically amplified (usually with a solid body).
Eleventh:
The interval of eleven diatonic degrees.
Embellishment:
ornaments added to music to make it more interesting.
Equal Temperament:
Tuning system based on the division of the octave into twelve equal half steps; the normal system used today.
Even Tuning:
See equal temperament.
 

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**F **

F Clef:
A clef that indicates which line represents F on a staff, as opposed to a C clef, or an G clef.
Fifth:
The interval of five diatonic degrees.
Fingerboard:
On string instruments, the top surface of the neck, where the fingers press down on the strings.
Flat:
An accidental that lowers a given pitch by a semi-tone. See also key signature.
Flat sign:
Musical symbol (b) that indicates a flatted note.
Flatpicking:
A hybrid form of picking which incorporates the use of both a plectrum and fingerpicking
Fourth
The interval of four diatonic degrees.
Frequency  
Rate of vibration of a string or column of air, which determines pitch.
Fret:
On certain string instruments, a thin, raised bar placed across the fingerboard to indicate a specific position of a note, and aid in tuning that note.
Fretboard:
See Fingerboard
Fretting
Placing a finger next to a fret to change pitch .
Fundamental:
Any note that sounds, producing overtones in the harmonic series.
Fingerstyle
A right hand technique which involves using some or all your right hand fingers to sound the notes, in place of a plectrum.
Four/four time
A time signature of four quarter beats in one bar of music. See Common Time

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**G **

G Clef:
A clef that indicates which line represents G on a staff. See C clef and F clef.
Glissando:  
Rapid slide through pitches of a scale.
Grace Note:
An ornamental note, often in small type and not performed rhythmically. See ornaments.
Grand Staff:
The combination of a staff line notated in treble clef with one notated in bass clef. Used primarily in scoring for piano, and other keyboard instruments, this staff is also sometimes used to score vocal works, such as hymns.
Guitar:
A string instrument originating in Spain, with a hollow resonating body and a fretted fingerboard.
Guitar tablature:
A system of reading and writing guitar music (abbreviated to TAB).
 

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**H**

Half beat:
A beat twice as long as a quarter beat.
Half-Step:
The smallest interval that is commonly used in Western music. There are 12 half-steps in an octave. Also semitone.
Harmonics:  
Constituent parts of a compound musical tone, each resonating at a single frequency. The combination of harmonics is what give a tone it's "character".
Harmonic Progression:
The movement from one chord to another, usually in terms of their function.
Harmonic Series:
A series of notes produced above the fundamental (the series includes the fundamental) which fall in the overtones of that pitch.
Harmonise:
To bring two or more notes together in harmony.
Harmony:
1. The study of progression, structure and relationships of chords.
2. When pitches are in agreement, or consonance.
Headstock:
The part of a guitar situated on the end of the neck which houses the machine heads.
Hertz:
Cycles per second. Usually abbreviated to Hz.

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** I**

Improvisation:
Spontanious Composition. The performance of music that is composed on the spur-of-the moment by the performer, usually as a solo, or cadenza. Also used extensively in jazz.
Inflection:  
Small alteration of the pitch by a microtonal interval. See also blue note.
Interval:
The distance between two notes, measured by the number of whole and half steps between the two notes.
Inversion:
The use of notes in the chord other than the root as the bass note (e.g. F# bass in a D chord).
Ionian Mode:
A medieval mode whose scale pattern is that of playing C to C on the white keys of a piano. This scale is identical to a major scale.

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**J**

Jack: A type of connector, originating in the telephone industry. Consists of a "female" socket into which the "male" plug is inserted.

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**K**

Key: - The basis of the musical sound of a piece. Each key uses a tonal center based on the tonic note of the scale - the tonic in the key of A is A.
- It is also the name of
a lever on a keyboard or woodwind instrument.

keynote:  See tonic.

key signature: Sharps or flats placed at the beginning of a piece to show the key in which it has been written. This may change during the course of the work and will be denoted by two bar lines followed by the new key signature. The sharps and flats indicate which notes are to be raised or lowered from their natural state and and refer to all notes of the same name, no matter which octave they are in, for the entire duration of the key.

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**L**

Leading Tone: The seventh degree of the diatonic scale, when it is only a half-step below the tonic. It is called "leading" because it gives the feeling of wanting to move up a half-step toward the tonic.

Ledger Lines: Lines written above or below the staff to help indicate the correct pitches for notes written outside of it.

Live recording - A recording made at a club, concert hall, stadium, or other venue with an audience. Also refers to a recording made with a band or group playing all together, without the use of overdubbing.

Locrian Mode: A mode whose scale pattern is based upon the seventh degree of a major scale. While this mode theoretically existed in medieval times, it was never used.

Lydian Mode: A medieval mode whose scale pattern is based upon the fourth degree of a major scale.

Lyric: The words to a song.

Lyrical: In a singing and melodious manner.

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**M**

Machine Heads : Mechanism for tuning each string and generally mounted on the headstock (sometimes referred to as tuning heads or tuning keys).

Major: "Greater". A term used to describe certain intervals (seconds, thirds,sixths and sevenths), chords and the Ionian Mode.

Major Chord: a triad composed of a root note, a third and a fifth degree.

Major Scale: A diatonic scale seven different pitches ordered in a specific pattern of whole and half steps, where the half-steps fall between the third and fourth degrees and the seventh and the root. This scale is also the Ionian Mode.

Mixolydian Mode: A medieval mode whose scale pattern is based on the fifth degree of a major scale.

Metre: Organization of rhythm in time; the grouping of beats into larger, regular patterns, notated as measures. In simple metres, such as duple, triple, and quadruple, each beat subdivides into two; in compound metres, such as sextuple, each beat divides into three.

Metre, compound Metre in which each beat is subdivided into three rather than two.

Metre Signature: See time signature.

Minor scale, Relative:  A diatonic scale seven different pitches ordered in a specific pattern of whole and half steps, where the half-steps fall between the third and fourth degrees and the seventh and the root. This scale is also the Ionian ModeA collection of seven different pitches ordered in a specific pattern of whole and half steps, as shown below:

1  -  2  -  3  -  4  -  5  -  6  -  7  -  8 -----Not finished yet


 whole  half  whole  whole  whole  half  whole

Mode: A scale pattern consisting of set intervals of whole and half steps. The primary modes are Aeolian, Dorian, Ionian, Locrian, Lydian, Mixolydian, and Phrygian.

Modal: Pertaining to modes.

 

Melody
A succession of musical notes played one after another (usually the most recognizable tune of a song).

 

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**N**

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**O**

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**P**

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**Q**

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**R**

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**S**

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**T**

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**U**

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**V**

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**W**

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**X**

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**Y**

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**Z**

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