Tanto - Much, so much.
Tempo - The rate of speed in a musical work.
Tempo primo - Return to the original tempo.
Teneramente - Tenderly.
Tenor clef - The C clef falling on the fourth line of the staff.
Tenuto, ten - Hold or sustain a note longer than the indicated value, usually not as long a duration as the fermata.
Ternary form - Three-part form in which the middle section is different from the other sections. Indicated by ABA.
Terraced dynamics - The Baroque style of using sudden changes in dynamic levels, as opposed to gradual increase and
decrease in volume.
Tertian harmony - A term used to describe music based on chords arranged in intervals of thirds.
Tessitura - The general pitch range of a vocal part.
Texture - The term used to describe the way in which melodic lines are combined, either with or without accompaniment.
Types include monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic, or contrapuntal.
Theme - The musical subject of a piece (usually a melody), as in sonata form or a fugue. An extramusical concept behind
Theme and variations - A statement of musical subject followed by restatements in different guises.
Theory - The study of how music is put together.
Third - The third degree of the diatonic scale. Also, the interval formed by a given tone and the third tone above or below
it, e.g. c up to e, or c down to a. Intervals of the third may be major, minor, diminished, or augmented.
Through-composed - A term used to describe a song in which the music for each stanza is different. The opposite of
Ti - In solmization, the seventh degree of the major scale. Also called the leading tone.
Tie - A curved line over or below two or more notes of the same pitch. The first pitch is sung or played and held for the
duration of the notes affected by the tie.
Time signature - Synonymous with meter signature.
Tonality - The term used to describe the organization of the melodic and harmonic elements to give a feeling of a key
center or a tonic pitch.
Tone - A note; the basis of music.
Tone clusters - The simultaneous sounding of two or more adjacent tones.
Tonguing - On wind instruements, articulation with the tongue.
Tonic - The first note of a key. Also, the name of the chord built on the first degree of the scale, indicated by I in a major
key or i in a minor key.
Tono - Tone, key, pitch.
Tosto - Quick.
Tranquillo - Tranquilly; quietly; calm.
Transposition - The process of changing the key of a composition.
Tre - Three. Used with other terms, e.g. a tre voci, in three parts.
Treble clef - The G clef falling on the second line of the staff.
Triad - A chord of three tones arranged in thirds, e.g. the C-major triad c-e-g, root-third-fifth.
Trill, tr - A musical ornament performed by the rapid alternation of a given note with a major or minor second above.
Triple meter - Meter based on three beats, or a multiple of three, in a measure.
Triplet - A group of three notes performed in the time of two of the same kind.
Troppo - Too much. Used with other terms, e.g. allegro non troppo, not too fast.
Turn - A musical ornament characterized by the rapid performance of a given note, the major or minor second above
and below, and a return to the given note.
Tutti - All. A direction for the entire ensemble to sing or play simultaneously.
Twelve-tone technique - A system of composition which uses the twelve tones of the chromatic scale in an arbitrary
arrangement called a tone row or series. The row may be used in its original form, its inversion, in retrograde, and in the
inversion of the retrograde. The system was devised by Arnold Schoenberg in the early 20th century.
Una corda - Soft pedal.
Unison - Singing or playing the same notes by all singers or players, either at exactly the same pitch or in a different
Un peu - A little. Used with other words, e.g. un peu piano.
Un poco - A little.
Upbeat - One or more notes occurring before the first bar line, as necessitated by the text for the purpose of desirable
accent. The unaccented beat of a measure.
Variation - The manipulation of a theme by the use of melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic changes.
Vibrato - Repeated fluctuation of pitch.
Virtuoso - A brillant, skillful performer.
Vivace - Lively, brisk, quick, and bright.
Vivo - Lively, bright.
Volti subito - Turn [the page] quickly.
Whole note/rest - A note/rest equal to two half notes and four quarter notes.
Wind instrument family - Instruments in which sound is produced by the vibration of air, including brass and woodwind
Woodwind family - Instruments, originally made of wood, in which sound is produced by the vibration of air, including
recorders, flutes, clarinets, saxophones, oboes, and bassoons.
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