Music Jargon & Language

Topics: Music, Piano, Musician Pages: 2 (667 words) Published: May 14, 2012
Within people of an occupational group, it can often be difficult – sometimes even impossible – to accurately communicate ideas and utterances by only using everyday language. This creates the need for jargon – technical language that is primarily used to convey ideas efficiently and effectively. Jargon can also be used to include and exclude people from conversations and therefore be used to mark out people who understand the necessary language and those who do not. Taking the domain of music as an example shows just how important it can be to have knowledge of specific jargon within a group.

There is some lexical jargon that is generally known by most musicians, which are commonly used to help quickly describe how the music is changing. Many terms are known almost exclusively to musicians and though their meaning can be insinuated from what the sound like, they still manage to exclude. Terms such as “accelerando” and “ritardando” would mean nothing to someone who does not learn music, but for someone who has learnt sufficient music theory, these terms would mean “to gradually get faster” and “to gradually get slower” respectively. Interestingly, there are some synonyms that affect how these events may happen due to connotation, despite no literal differences. The lexemes “diminuendo” and “decrescendo” both mean, “to gradually get softer”, however the former implies that the music should reach a quiet state while the former does not. The terms “ritardando” and “rallentando” are also both synonyms, except the latter alludes to a more gradual decrease of speed. The lexical jargon that can be employed by most musicians helps musicians to play in a particular style according to the composer of the music and, in an orchestra, the conductor.

However due to the diversity of music, it is not likely that a musician would know every scrap of lexical jargon in the domain of music. Some of the lexical jargon used by one musician can be foreign to other...
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