• 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.