Posts Tagged terms to know

March Musical Madness Challenge

I am excited to announce that it is time for the March Musical Madness Challenge! This month we will focus on reviewing (or learning!) musical terminology: words like forte, staccato, and allegro.

Students will be given a list of ten terms to know (kind of like a spelling test). They can study them throughout the week, and then at their lesson they can complete an oral test.  Students will earn one bead for every ten terms correctly identified. Links to the term lists for each level are included below.

Participation in the Musical Madness Challenge is optional (so don’t stress out about it too much!). However, learning these terms will increase the musicianship of each student and improve performance skills, so I highly recommend spending some time this month studying these words.

Terms to Know

Primer Level

Primer and Level 1

Level 1 and 2A

Level 2A and 2B

Level 2B and 3A

Level 3A and 3B



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Terms to Know #6 (Level 3A and 3B)

Tenuto                                   stress mark. Hold the note its full value by pressing deeply into the key.

Triplet                                    when 3 eight notes equal a quarter note

Sonatina                                 an instrumental piece, often with several movements

Swing rhythm                        eighth notes played in a long-short pattern

Poco                                       a little

Fortissimo                              very loud

D.S. al Coda                           from the sign to the coda

Grace note                            an ornamental note that is played quickly into the note that follows

Motive                                   a short musical pattern

Sequence              a musical pattern that is repeated on another pitch

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Terms to Know #5 (Level 2B and 3A)

Articulation                           the slurs, staccatos, and accents

Dynamics                               the louds and soft sounds in the music

Leading tone                         the 7th note of the scale

D.C. al Fine                            return to the beginning and play to Fine.

Eighth rest                             silence for one half beat

Dotted quarter note            one and half beats

Ostinato                                 a musical pattern that is repeated over and over

Coda                                       ending section

Common time                       4/4 time

Cut time short for 2/2 time. The half note gets the beat

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Terms to Know #4 (Level 2A and 2B)

Phrase                                    a musical sentence

Half step                                one key to the very next key

Whole step                           made up of two half steps

Fermata                                 Hold the note longer than its value

Allegro                                   Fast and lively

Moderato                              Moderately

Andante                                 Walking speed

Ledger line                            A short line added above or below the staff for notes that are too high or too low to be written on the staff.

Arpeggio                                the tones of a chord played up or down the keyboard.

Pianissimo                             very soft

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Terms to Know #3 (Level 1 and 2A)

Sharp                                      play the key that is a half-step higher

Flat                                          play the key that is a half-step lower

Tonic                                      Step 1 of the scale

Dominant                               Step 5 of the scale

Accent mark                         play this note louder

Eighth note                            one half beat

Natural                                  Cancels a sharp or flat.

Transposition                        Playing a piece in a different position. Note names change, but the intervals stay the same.

Crescendo                             gradually louder

Diminuendo                          gradually softer

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Terms to Know #2 (Primer and Level 1)

Tie                                           curved line connecting 2 notes on the same line or space

Quarter rest                          silence for 1 count/beat

Staff                                        5 lines and 4 spaces

Legato                                    smoothly, connected

Staccato                                 detached, disconnected

Mezzo piano (mp)                moderately soft

Interval                                  the distance between two musical tones or keys on the keyboard

Half rest                                 2 counts or beats of silence

Whole rest                            4 counts or beats of silence

Ritardando (rit.)                    gradually slow down

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Terms to Know #1 (Primer level)

Forte                                      loud

Piano                                      soft

Quarter note                        1 count/beat

Half note                                2 counts/beats

Whole note                           4 counts/beats

Dotted half note                   3 counts/beats

Bass clef                                 low sounds

Treble clef                             high sounds

Double bar line                    the end of the piece

Bar line                                  divides the music into measures

Time signature                     tells the number of counts/beats in each measure

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