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waltz  Ballroom dance type in triple meter; in the Romantic era, a short, stylized piano piece.

West Coast jazz  Jazz style developed in the 1950s, featuring small groups of mixed timbres playing contrapuntal improvisations; similar to cool jazz.

whole step  Interval consisting of two half steps, or semitones.

whole-tone scale  Scale pattern built entirely of whole step intervals, common in the music of the French Impressionists.

wind ensemble  See concert band.

woodwind  The woodwind family is less homogeneous in construction and sound production than the strings; it includes the piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet and bassoon. The saxophone is a more recent woodwind instrument that is frequently heard in jazz.

woodwind quintet  Standard chamber ensemble consisting of one each of the following: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn (not a woodwind instrument).

word painting  Musical pictorialization of words from the text as an expressive device; a prominent feature of the Renaissance madrigal.

work song  Communal song that synchronized group tasks.

world beat  Collective term for popular third-world musics, ethnic and traditional musics, and eclectic combinations of Western and non-Western musics. Also ethno-pop.

aleatory  Indeterminate music in which certain elements of performance (such as pitch, rhythm or form) are left to choice or chance.

alla breve  See cut time.

allegro  It. cheerful. Quick tempo. Also used as a title for pieces in a quick tempo, especially the first and last movements of a : sonata.

allemande  German dance in moderate duple time, popular during the Renaissance and Baroque periods; often the first movement of a Baroque suite.

alteration : The raising or lowering of a note by means of a sharp or flat.

alto  A female voice of low range (contralto). Originally the alto was a high male voice (hence the name) which by the use of falsetto reached the height of the female voice. This type of voice is also known as counter tenor.

alto clef : The C clef falling on the third line of the staff. Used almost exclusively by the viola.

ambit : The term ambit (from latin: ambitus, plural: ambitus) denotes a range of pitches for a given voice in a part of music. It may also denote the pitch range that a musical instrument is capable of playing.

ancient minor scale : --> diatonic scale (ancient minor).

andante  Moderately slow or walking pace.

answer  Second entry of the subject in a fugue, usually pitched a fourth below or a fifth above the subject.

anthem  A religious choral composition in English; performed liturgically, the Protestant equivalent of the motet.

antiphonal  Performance style in which an ensemble is divided into two or more groups, performing in alternation and then together.

antique cymbals  Small disks of brass, held by the player one in each hand, that are struck together gently and allowed to vibrate.

appoggiatura : Ornamental note, usually a second, that is melodically connected with the main note following it. In music before the 19th century a. were usually performed on the beat, after that mostly before the beat. While the short a. is performed as a short note regardless of the duration of the main note the duration of the long a. is proportional to that of the main note.

arabesque  Decorative musical material or a composition based on florid embellishment.

aria  Lyric song for solo voice with orchestral accompaniment, generally expressing intense emotion; found in opera, cantata, and oratorio.

arioso  Short, aria-like passage.

arpeggio  Broken chord in which the individual tones are sounded one after another instead of simultaneously.

Ars Antiqua  French sacred polyphonic musical style from the period c.1160-1320.

Ars Nova  Fourteenth century French polyphonic musical style whose themes moved increasingly from religious to secular.

art rock  Genre of rock that uses larger forms and more complex harmonies than other popular styles; occasionally quotes examples from classical music. Also progressive rock.

ascending interval : A distance between a starting lower note and a higher ending note.

a tempo  Return to the previous tempo.

atonality  Total abandonment of tonality (centering in a key). Atonal music moves from one level of dissonance to another, without areas of relaxation.

attaca  "Attack", proceed without a pause between movements.

augmentation  Lengthening the duration of notes in a theme.

augmented : Raised, enlarged.

aulot  Double-reed pipe; played for public and religious functions in ancient Greece.

autograph : 1. A manuscript in the composer’s own hand. 2. Music prepared for photoreproduction by freehand drawing, with the aid of a straightedge ruler and T-square only, which attempts to emulate engraving. This required more skill than did engraving.