Musical Terms

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Terms| Definitions|
Sequence| Restatement of a pattern on successive or different pitch levels.| Duetting| Song performed by two.|
Imitation*| Repeating a melody, with one voice entering at different times slightly altered.| Canon*| Several voices sing the same melody entering at different times.| Cantus firmus*| Polyphonic mass when each work is based on the same polyphonic work.| Stile recitativo| Style used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas where the text is declaimed in the rhythm of natural speech with slight melodic variation, small orchestral accompaniment.| Basso continuo*| The bass line that is filled in by chords by various instruments even though written for one.| Ritornello*| In a fast movement of a concerto, recurring thematic material played at the beginning and repeating varied throughout.| Libretto| Literary text for an opera or other musical stage work.| Castrato*| Castrated male singers – to sing castrato.|

Monothematic| One theme.|
Sonata*| Genre in several movements for one or more instruments/baroque instrumental piece with contrasting movements often with imitative counterpoint.| Monody| An accompanied solo song/texture of solo singer and accompaniment.| Concerto*| Composition for a solo instrument or instruments accompanied by an orchestra mainly. Large scale.| Mass| Musical work setting the texts of the ordinary of the mass.| Fugue*| Imitative section that is based on a single subject beginning with successive statements of the subject.| Motet*| Polyphonic vocal composition. Sacred/secular text in Latin or French.| Canzona| Instrumental work adapted from a chanson/several contrasting sections often in imitative counterpoint.| Ricercar| Elaborate instrumental composition in fugal or canonic style.| In nomine| English polyphonic instrumental music, many composition were given this name.| Concertane| A mixture of the symphony and the concerto genres: a concerto in that one...
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