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tabla  Pair of single-headed, tuned drums used in north Indian classical music.

tabor  Cylindrical medieval drum.

tag  Jazz term for a coda, or a short concluding section.

tala  Fixed time cycle or meter in Indian music, built from uneven groupings of beats.

tambourine  Percussion instrument consisting of a small round drum with metal plates inserted in its rim; played by striking or shaking.

tam-tam  See gong.

Te deum  Song of praise to God; a text from the Roman Catholic rite, often set polyphonically.

tempo  Rate of speed or pace of music. Tempo markings are traditionally given in Italian; common markings include grave (solemn; very, very slow); largo (broad; very slow); adagio (quite slow); andante (a walking pace); moderato (moderate); allegro (fast; cheerful); vivace (lively); presto (very fast); accelerando (getting faster); ritardando (getting slower); and a tempo (in time; returning to the original pace).

tempo rubato  See rubato.

tenor  Male voice of high range. Also a part, often structural, in polyphony.

tenor drum  Percussion instrument, larger than the snare drum, with a wooden shell.

ternary form  Three-part (A-B-A) form based on a statement (A), contrast or departure (B), and repetition (A). Also three-part form.

terraced dynamics  Expressive style typical of Baroque music in which volume levels shift based on the playing forces used.

tertian harmony  Harmony based on the interval of the third, particularly predominant from the Baroque through the nineteenth century.

texture  The interweaving of melodic (horizontal) and harmonic (vertical) elements in the musical fabric. Texture is generally described as monophonic (single line), heterophonic (elaboration on a single line), homophonic (single line with accompaniment), or polyphonic (many voiced).

thematic development  Musical expansion of a theme by varying its melodic outline, harmony or rhythm. Also thematic transformation.

thematic transformation  See thematic development.

theme  Melodic idea used as a basic building block in the construction of a composition. Also subject.

theme and variations   Compositional procedure in which a theme is stated and then altered in successive statements; occurs as an independent piece or as a movement of a sonata cycle.

theme group  Several themes in the same key that function as a unit within a section of a form, particularly in sonata-allegro form.

third  Interval between two notes that are two diatonic scale steps apart.

third stream  Jazz style that synthesizes characteristics and techniques of classical music and jazz; term coined by Gunther Schuller.

thorough-bass  See figured bass.

three-part form  See ternary form.

through-composed  Song structure that is composed from beginning to end, without repetitions of large sections.

timbales  Shallow, single-headed drums of Cuban origin, played in pairs; used in much Latin-American popular music.

timbre  The quality of a sound that distinguishes one voice or instrument from another. Also tone color.

timbrel  Ancient percussion instrument related to the tambourine.

timpani  Percussion instrument consisting of a hemispheric copper shell with a head of plastic or calfskin, held in place by a metal ring and played with soft or hard padded sticks. A pedal mechanism changes the tension of the head, and with it the pitch. Also kettledrums.

tin whistle  Small metal end-blown flute commonly used in Irish traditional music.

toccata  Virtuoso composition, generally for organ or harpsichord, in a free and rhapsodic style; in the Baroque, it often served as the introduction to a fugue.

tom-tom  Cylindrical drum without snares.

tone  A sound of definite pitch.

tonal  Based on principles of major-minor tonality, as distinct from modal.

tonality  Principle of organization around a tonic, or home, pitch, based on a major or minor scale.

tone cluster  Highly dissonant combination of pitches sounded simultaneously.

tone color  See timbre.

tone poem  See symphonic poem.

tone row  An arrangement of the twelve chromatic tones that serves as the basis of a twelve-tone composition.

tonic  The first note of a scale (the tonic or keynote do), which serves as the home base around which the other pitches revolve and to which they ultimately gravitate.

tonic chord  Triad built on the first scale tone, the I chord.

total serialism  Extremely complex, totally controlled music in which the twelve-tone principle is extended to elements of music other than pitch.

traditional music  Music that is learned by oral transmission and is easily sung or played by most people; may exist in variant forms. Also folk music.

tragédie lyrique  French serious opera of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with spectacular dance scenes and brilliant choruses on tales of courtly love or heroic adventures; associated with J.B. Lully.

transition  See bridge.

transposition  Shifting a piece of music to a different pitch level.

tremolo  Rapid repetition of a tone; can be achieved instrumentally or vocally.

triad  A common chord type consisting of three pitches built on alternate scale tones of a major or minor scale (e.g., 1 - 3 - 5 or 2 - 4 - 6).

triangle  The triangle is a slender rod of steel bent into a three-cornered shape and struck with a steel beater; its sound is bright and tinkling in this march.

trill  Ornament consisting of the rapid alternation between one tone and the next above it.

trio sonata  Baroque chamber sonata type written in three parts: two melody lines and the basso continuo; requires a total of four players to perform.

triple meter  Basic metrical pattern of three beats to a measure.

triple-stop  Playing three notes simultaneously on a string instrument.

triplet  Group of three equal-valued notes played in the time of two; indicated by a bracket and the number 3.

triplum  Third voice in early polyphony.

tritonic  Three-note scale pattern, used in the music of some sub-Saharan African cultures.

trobairitz  Female troubadours, composer-poets of southern France.

trombone  The trombone (Italian for "large trumpet") features a moveable U-shaped slide that alters the length of the vibrating tube. Its timbre, illustrated here, is rich and full.

troubadours  Medieval poet-musicians of southern France.

trouvères  Medieval poet-musicians of northern France.

trumpet  The trumpet is the highest pitched member of the brass family; this example illustrates its clear and brilliant sound.

tuba  Bass-range brass instrument that changes pitch by means of valves.

tubular bells  See chimes.

tutti  "All", the opposite of solo. See also ripieno.

twelve-bar blues  Musical structure based on a repeated harmonic-rhythmic pattern that is twelve measures in length (I-I-I-I-IV-IV-I-I-V-V-I-I).

twelve-tone music  Compositional procedure of the twentieth century based on the use of all twelve chromatic tones (in a tone row) without a central tone, or tonic, according to prescribed rules.

two-part form  See binary form.