Category Archives: Definitions

Rubato

Rubato is Italian for stolen or robbed and refers to timing the notes, specifically not hitting the beats in strict time. Rubato is playing around the beat: sometimes coming a little before it, or a bit late, or slightly speeding … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions, Music Rudiments | Leave a comment

Melody

Melodies are a succession of notes moving through time, one at a time. Melody is the proper term for what some some call the “tune”. Melodic shape and melodic rhythm are two factors every melody uses in some way. Melodic … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions, Music Rudiments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Rhythm

Rhythm is the ordering of sounds and silences on and between a continuous and evenly spaced unit of time, called the . Sounds may or may not have pitch. Many percussion instruments do not have pitch yet function in the … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Scalar

Your browser does not support the audio element.When a melody or segment of music moves mostly in step-wise fashion using notes of the underlying scale. (Read Scales, Keys, and Key Signatures for a tutorial on what a scale is and … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Arpeggio

Your browser does not support the audio element.An arpeggio is a chord (a harmony) that is broken up into individual notes, that is, the notes are heard one at a time in succession, not simultaneously. (Read Harmony for a tutorial … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions, Music Rudiments | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sequence

Your browser does not support the audio element.A sequence occurs when a melodic pattern is repeated, starting on different notes each time. Each repetition has the same melodic shape and melodic rhythm as the original statement. The starting notes may … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions, Music Rudiments | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dynamics

Dynamics is the volume factor in music. There are two broad categories: a relative volume level which does not change until some marking specifies it does; and a volume that changes gradually or suddenly. There are dozens of symbols and … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions, Music Rudiments | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Texture

Your browser does not support the audio element.Texture is the overall “size” or “weight” of the musical sound, using descriptive terms such as “large”, “thick”, “full”, or “thin”, “sparse” or “light”. Many musical elements contribute to texture, including: the way … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tessitura

Your browser does not support the audio element.Tessitura is a term used to describe two things, both concerning pitches in a melody or portion of music. One aspect specifically describes the pitch range, for example from the lowest to highest … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Note

A note is a sound or tone having two aspects: 1) The primary, auditory one, is pitch. Each note has a unique pitch, with a sound wave frequency measurable in hertz. In many parts of the world instruments are tuned … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Habanera

A syncopated rhythmic pattern used in the Cuban Habanera dance which became the underlying pulse of milonga and early tango. There are a few versions used in tango: The 1st variation is the most commonly heard syncopated rhythm in tango … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Beat

Beat is the underlying and regularly spaced pulse of the music, measured in beats per minute. There are a fixed number of beats in a , indicated by the . Tango (2/4, 4/8, 4/4) has 2 or 4 beats per … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Motif

A short figure or component of the larger melody, having its own character and qualities.Your browser does not support the audio element. An example will clarify. Carlos Di Sarli’s Bahia Blanca: The first 2 bars Notice how the last few … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Articulation

The way s are played and connected to one another: anywhere from gently sounded to heavily attacked; held for the full duration of the note value or clipped short; smoothly connected to the notes before and after, or continuously separated. … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Orchestration

Orchestration or instrumentation is how the instruments are used; the instruments playing at any given time and their function, such as melodic, accompaniment, creating the pulse, linking phrases (fills). The core instruments used in tango – bandoneons, strings, piano, sometimes … Continue reading

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment