Musical representation of specific poetic images — for example, a falling melodic line to accompany the word descending — often found in Renaissance and baroque music.
Choral music without instrumental accompaniment.
Polyphonic choral work set to a sacred Latin text other than that of the mass; one of the two main forms of sacred Renaissance music.
Sacred choral composition made up of five sections: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.
Dancelike song for several voices, mostly homophonic in texture, with the melody in the highest voice and the syllables fa-la occurring as a refrain after each stanza; common in English Renaissance music.
Composition for several voices set to a short secular poem, usually about love, combining homophonic and polyphonic textures and often using word painting; common in Renaissance music.
Plucked string instrument shaped like half a pear; used in Renaissance and baroque music.
Composers of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Venice who, inspired by the two widely separated choir lofts of St. Mark's Cathedral, often wrote music for several choruses and groups of instruments.
Motet for two or more choirs, often including groups of instruments.
Abrupt alternation between loud and soft dynamic levels; characteristic of baroque music.
(figured bass) Baroque accompaniment made up of a bass part together with numbers (figures) indicating the chords to be played above it. Usually the basso continuo is played by two instruments, a keyboard plus a low melodic instrument.
Baroque keyboard instrument in which sound is produced by means of brass blades striking strings, capable of making gradual dynamic changes, but within a narrow volume range.
Piece that sounds fairly complete and independent but is part of a larger composition.
Baroque accompaniment made up of a bass part together with numbers (figures) indicating the chords to be played above it. Usually the basso continuo is played by two instruments, a keyboard plus a low melodic instrument.
Composition for several instrumental soloists and small orchestra; common in late baroque music.
In Italian, all; the full orchestra, or a large group of musicians contrasted with a smaller group; often heard in baroque music.
Compositional form usually used in the baroque concerto grosso, in which the tutti plays a ritornello, or refrain, alternating with one or more soloists playing new material.
In Italian, refrain; a repeated section of music usually played by the full orchestra, or tutti, in baroque compositions.
Polyphonic composition based on one main theme, or subject.
Theme of a fugue.
Second presentation of the subject in a fugue, usually in the dominant scale.
In a fugue, a melodic idea that accompanies the subject fairly constantly.
Transitional section in a fugue between presentations of the subject, which offers either new material or fragments of the subject or countersubject.
Compositional procedure used in fugues, in which a subject is imitated before it is completed; one voice tries to catch the other.
(organ point) Single tone, usually in the bass, which is held while the other voices produce a series of changing harmonies against it; often found in fugues.
Variation of a fugue subject in which each interval of the subject is reversed in direction.
Variation of a fugue subject in which the subject is presented by beginning with its last note and proceeding backward to the first
Variation of a fugue subject in which the original time values of the subject are lengthened.
Variation of a fugue subject in which the original time values of the subject are shortened.
(1) Short piece usually serving to introduce a fugue or other composition; a short piece for piano. (2) See overture.
Text of an opera.
Vocal line in an opera, oratorio, or cantata that imitates the rhythms and pitch fluctuations of speech, often serving to lead into an aria.
In opera, a piece performed by three or more solo singers
Song for solo voice with orchestral accompaniment, usually expressing an emotional state through its outpouring of melody; found in operas, oratorios, and cantatas.
Person who gives cues and reminds singers of their words or pitches during an opera performance. The prompter is located in a box just over the edge of center stage, which conceals him or her from the audience.
In jazz, a statement of the basic harmonic pattern or melody.
(prelude) Short musical composition, purely orchestral, which opens an opera and sets the overall dramatic mood. Orchestral introductions to later acts of an opera are called preludes.
categories of opera Voice ranges which include coloratura soprano, lyric soprano, dramatic soprano, lyric tenor, dramatic tenor, basso buffo, and basso profundo, among others.
Male singer castrated before puberty to retain a high voice range; the most important category of vocal soloists in opera during the baroque period.
Speechlike melody that is sung by a solo voice accompanied only by a basso continuo.
Speechlike melody that is sung by a solo voice accompanied by the orchestra.
In Italian, fellowship or society; a group of nobles, poets, and composers who began to meet regularly in Florence around 1575 and whose musical discussions prepared the way for the beginning of opera.
From the beginning; an indication usually meaning that the opening section of a piece is to be repeated after the middle section.
(basso ostinato) Variation form in which a musical idea in the bass is repeated over and over while the melodies above it constantly change; common in baroque music.
Baroque composition which has three melodic lines: two high ones, each played by one instrument; and a basso continuo, played by two instruments.
Form of a single movement, consisting of three main sections: the exposition, where the themes are presented; the development, where themes are treated in new ways; and the recapitulation, where the themes return. A concluding section, the coda, often follows the recapitulation.
Musical ornament consisting of the rapid alternation of two tones that are a whole or half step apart.
Common opening piece in baroque suites, oratorios, and operas; usually in two parts: the first slow, with characteristic dotted rhythms, full of dignity and grandeur; the second quick and lighter in mood, often starting like a fugue.
In baroque music, a set of dance-inspired movements all written in the same key but differing in tempo, meter, and character.
tune sung to a German religious text.
Short composition for organ, based on a hymn tune and often used to remind the congregation of the melody before the hymn is sung.
Large-scale composition for chorus, vocal soloists, and orchestra, usually set to a narrative text, but without acting, scenery, or costumes; often based on biblical stories.
Vocal solo more lyrical than a recitative and less elaborate than an aria.
In baroque music, an instrumental composition in several movements for one to eight players. In music after the baroque period, an instrumental composition usually in several movements for one or two players.