Cardiff School District

Inspiring a love of learning

Instrumental Music Glossary

Accompaniment

The music that supports the melody.

Articulation

 

The way the sound is produced.

 

Staccato: short and detached

Accent: strongly tonguing the note

Legato: smoothly and connected

Slur: only tongue the first of more than one note

Tie: two or more of the same notes connected

Brass

Trumpet, trombone, tuba, French horn,

Sousaphone, baritone, and euphonium.

This category of instruments is usually made of brass, silver, gold, nickel, or a combination of metals.

These instruments also have valves, keys, or a slide. Players buzz the lips into a conical- shaped, metal mouthpiece to make the sound.

Duet

Two players playing together.

Dynamics

The intensity of the sound made by any instrument.

p = piano = soft

mp = mezzo piano = medium soft

mf = mezzo forte = medium loud

f = forte = loud

ff = fortissimo = very loud

sfz = sfzortsondo = suddenly loud

Embouchure

 

The way the lips are shaped against the mouthpiece to make the sound on any wind instrument.

Ensemble

Several players playing together.

Ligature

 

The mechanism used to hold a reed to a mouthpiece on woodwind instruments.

Melody

The main, most important part of the music.

 

Percussion

Snare drum, bass drum, bells, xylophone, piano, triangle, cymbals, tympani, tambourine, and many others.

This category includes any instrument that a player hits, strikes, or shakes to make sound.

These are the oldest of all instruments used today.

Position

 

The correct posture and placement of the hands, fingers, and body to play any given instrument.

Practice Strategies

The frequency of practice increases the development of the musicianship on any instrument. First and second year players need to practice almost every day.

Practice should include a short review of familiar music. 80% of  practice time should be spent on newer, challenging music.

Quartet

Four players playing together.

Rhythm

The organization of the beats and/or the notes and length of the sound or silence.

Tempo

 

The speed of the music.

Presto: very fast

Andante: medium fast

Adagio: slowly

Largo: very slowly

Trio

Three players playing together.

Woodwinds

 

Flute, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, saxophone, and recorder.

This category includes any instrument that has a mouthpiece that one blows across

and/or a reed is used to make the sound.

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