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C

cadence  Resting place in a musical phrase; music punctuation.

cadenza  Virtuosic solo passage in the manner of an improvisation, performed near the end of an aria or a movement of a concerto.

cakewalk  Syncopated, strutting dance of nineteenth century origin; developed among Southern slaves in a parody of white plantation owners.

call and response  Performance style with a singing leader who is imitated by a chorus of followers. Also responsorial singing.

canon  Type of polyphonic composition in which one musical line strictly imitates another at a fixed distance throughout.

cantabile  Songful, in a singing style.

cantata  Vocal genre for solo singers, chorus and instrumentalists based on a lyric or dramatic poetic narrative. It generally consists of several movements including recitatives, arias and ensemble numbers.

cantor  Solo singer or singing leader in Jewish and Christian liturgical music.

cantus firmus  "Fixed melody", usually of very long notes, often based on a fragment of Gregorian chant that served as the structural basis for a polyphonic composition, particularly in the Renaissance.

capriccio  Short lyric piece of a free nature, often for piano.

carol  English medieval strophic song with a refrain repeated after each stanza; now associated with Christmas.

cassation  Classical instrumental genre related to the serenade or divertimento and often performed outdoors.

castanets  Percussion instruments consisting of small wooden clappers that are struck together. They are widely used to accompany Spanish dancing.

castrato  Male singer who was castrated during boyhood to preserve the soprano or alto vocal register, prominent in seventeenth and early eighteenth century opera.

celesta  Percussion instrument resembling a miniature upright piano, with tuned metal plates struck by hammers that are operated by a keyboard.

cello  See violoncello

celtic harp  See Irish harp.

chaconne  Baroque form similar to the passacaglia, in which the variations are based on a repeated chord progression.

chamber choir  Small group of up to about twenty-four singers, who usually perform a cappella or with piano accompaniment.

chamber music  Ensemble music for up to about ten players, with one player to a part.

chamber sonata  See sonata da camera.

chanson  French polyphonic song, especially of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, set to either courtly or popular poetry. See also Burgundian chanson.

chart  Colloquial or jazz term for a score or arrangement.

chimes  Percussion instrument of definite pitch that consists of a set of tuned metal tubes of various lengths suspended from a frame and struck with a hammer. Also tubular bells.

Chinese block  Percussion instrument made from a hollowed rectangular block of wood that is struck with a beater.

choir  A group of singers who perform together, usually in parts, with several on each part; often associated with a church.

chorale  Baroque congregational hymn of the German Lutheran church.

chorale prelude  Short Baroque organ piece in which a traditional chorale melody is embellished.

chorale variations  Baroque organ piece in which a chorale is the basis for a set of variations.

chord  Simultaneous combination of three or more tones that constitute a single block of harmony.

chordal  Texture comprised of chords in which the pitches sound simultaneously; also homorhythmic.

chordophone  World music classification for instruments that produce sound from a vibrating string stretched between two points which is bowed, struck or plucked. The most common Western instruments of this category belong to the string family (violin, harp). The koto (Japan), erhu (China) and the sitar (India) are examples of non-Western chordophones.

chorus  Fairly large group of singers who perform together, usually with several on each part. Also a choral movement of a large-scale work. In jazz, a single statement of the melodic-harmonic pattern.

chorus (men's)  Choruses can be restricted to either men's or women's voices. In early times, church music, including Gregorian chant, was traditionally sung by a men's chorus, as heard here.

chromatic  Melody or harmony built from many if not all twelve semitones of the octave. A chromatic scale consists of an ascending or descending sequence of semitones.

church sonata  See sonata da chiesa.

clarinet  The wooden clarinet produces sound via a single reed; a small, thin piece of cane attached to its mouthpiece.

clavecin  French word for harpsichord.

claves  A Cuban clapper consisting of two solid hardwood sticks; widely used in Latin-American music.

clavichord  Stringed keyboard instrument popular in the Renaissance and Baroque that is capable of unique expressive devices not possible on the harpsichord.

clavier  Generic word for keyboard instruments, including harpsichord, clavichord, piano and organ.

closed ending  Second of two endings in a secular medieval work, usually cadencing on the final.

coda  The last part of a piece, usually added to a standard form to bring it to a close.

codetta  In sonata form, the concluding section of the exposition. Also a brief coda concluding an inner section of a work.

collage  A technique drawn from the visual arts whereby musical fragments from other compositions are juxtaposed or overlapped within a new work.

collegium musicum  An association of amateur musicians, popular in the Baroque era. Also a modern university ensemble dedicated to the performance of early music.

comic opera  See opéra comique.

commedia dell'arte  Type of improvised drama popular in sixteenth and seventeenth century Italy; makes use of stereotyped characters.

common time  See quadruple meter.

compound meter  Meter in which each beat is subdivided into three rather than two.

computer music  A type of electro-acoustic music in which computers assist in creating works through sound synthesis and manipulation.

con amore  With love, tenderly.

con fuoco  With fire.

con passione  With passion.

concert band  Instrumental ensemble ranging from forty to eighty members or more, consisting of wind and percussion instruments. Also wind ensemble.

concert overture  Single-movement concert piece for orchestra, typically from the Romantic period and often based on a literary program.

concertante  Style based on the principle of opposition between two dissimilar masses of sound; concerto-like.

concertina  Small, free-reed, bellows-operated instrument similar to an accordion; hexagonal in shape, with button keys.

concertino  Solo group of instruments in the Baroque concerto grosso.

concerto  Instrumental genre in several movements for solo instrument (or instrumental group) and orchestra.

concerto form  Structure commonly used in first movements of concertos that combines elements of Baroque ritornello procedure with sonata-allegro form. Also first-movement concerto form.

concerto grosso  Baroque concerto type based on the opposition between a small group of solo instruments (the concertino) and orchestra (the ripieno).

conductor  Person who, by means of gestures, leads performances of musical ensembles, especially orchestra, bands or choruses.

conga  Afro-Cuban dance performed at Latin-American Carnival celebrations. Also a single-headed drum of Afro-Cuban origin, played with bare hands.

conjunct  Smooth, connected melody that moves principally by small intervals.

consonance  Concordant or harmonious combination of tones that provides a sense of relaxation and stability in music.

continuous bass  See basso continuo.

continuous imitation  Renaissance polyphonic style in which the motives move from line to line within the texture, often overlapping one another.

contrabass  See double bass

contrabassoon  Double-reed woodwind instrument with the lowest range in the woodwind family. Also double bassoon.

contralto  See alto.

contrapuntal  Texture employing counterpoint, or two or more melodic lines.

contrast  Contrast of musical materials sustains our interest and feeds our love of change; it provides variety to a form.

cool jazz  A substyle of bebop, characterized by a restrained, unemotional performance with lush harmonies, moderate volume levels and tempos, and a new lyricism; often associated with Miles Davis.

cornet  Valved brass instrument similar to the trumpet but more mellow in sound.

cornetto  Early instrument of the brass family with woodwind-like finger holes. It developed from the cow horn, but was made of wood.

Council of Trent  A council of the Roman Catholic Church that convened in Trent, Italy from 1543 to 1565 and dealt with Counter-Reformation issues, including the reform of liturgical music.

counterpoint  The compositional art of combining two or more simultaneous melodic lines (polyphonic texture); term means "point against point" or "note against note."

countermelody  An accompanying melody sounded against the principal melody.

countersubject  In a figure, a secondary theme heard against the subject; a countertheme.

country-western  Genre of American popular music derived from traditional music of the rural South, usually vocal with an accompaniment of banjos, fiddles and guitar.

courante  French Baroque dance, a standard movement of the suite, in triple meter at a moderate tempo.

cover  Recording that remakes an earlier, often successful, recording with a goal of reaching a wider audience.

cowbell  Rectangular metal bell that is struck with a drumstick; used widely in Latin-American music.

Credo  A section of the Mass; the third musical movement of the Ordinary.

crescendo  The dynamic effect of gradually growing louder, indicated in the musical score by the marking "<".

crossover  Recording or artist that appeals primarily to one audience but becomes popular with another as well (e.g., a rock performer who makes jazz recordings).

crotales  A pair of small pitched cymbals mounted on a frame; also made in chromatic sets.

crumhorn  Early woodwind instrument, whose sound is produced by blowing into a capped double reed and whose lower body is curved.

cut time  A type of duple meter interpreted as 2/2 and indicated as ¢; also called alla breve.

cyclical form  Structure in which musical material, such as a theme, presented in one movement returns in a later movement.

cymbals  Cymbals are two circular brass plates of equal size, which when struck together produce a shattering sound, as heard in this example.