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D

da capo  An indication to return to the beginning of a piece.

da capo aria  Lyric song in ternary, or A - B - A, form, commonly found in operas, cantatas and oratorios.

decrescendo  The dynamic effect of gradually growing softer, indicated in the musical score by the marking ">". Also referred to as diminuendo.

development  Structural reshaping of thematic material. Second section of sonata-allegro form; it moves through a series of foreign keys while themes from the exposition are manipulated.

dialogue opera  See ballad opera.

diatonic  Melody or harmony built from the seven tones of a major or minor scale. A diatonic scale encompasses patterns of seven whole tones and semitones.

Dies irae  Chant from the Requiem Mass whose text concerns Judgment Day.

diminuendo  Growing softer.

disco  Commercial dance music popular in the 1970s, characterized by strong percussion in a quadruple meter.

disjunct  Disjointed or disconnected melody with many leaps.

dissonance  Combination of tones that sounds discordant and unstable, in need of resolution.

divertimento  Classical instrumental genre for chamber ensemble or soloist, often performed as light entertainment. Related to serenade and cassation.

Divine Offices  Cycle of daily services of the Roman Catholic Church, distinct from the Mass.

doctrine of the affections  Baroque doctrine of the union of text and music.

dodecaphonic  Greek for "twelve-tone"; see twelve-tone music.

dolce  Sweetly.

dolente  Sad, weeping.

dominant  The fifth scale step, sol.

dominant chord  Chord built on the fifth scale step, the V chord.

double bass  Largest and lowest-pitched member of the bowed string family. Also called contrabass or bass viol.

double bassoon  See contrabassoon.

double exposition  In the concerto, twofold statement of the themes, once by the orchestra and once by the soloist.

double-stop  Playing two notes simultaneously on a string instrument.

doubles  Variations of a dance in a French keyboard suite.

down beat  First beat of the measure, the strongest in any meter.

drone  Sustained sounding of one or several tones for harmonic support, a common feature of some folk musics.

dulcimer  Early folk instrument that resembles the psaltery; its strings are struck with hammers instead of being plucked.

duple meter  Basic metrical pattern of two beats to a measure.

duplum  Second voice of a polyphonic work, especially the medieval motet.

duration  Length of time something lasts; e.g., the vibration of a musical sound.

dynamics  Element of musical expression relating to the degree of loudness or softness, or volume, of a sound.