Wednesday, December 8, 2010

funny musical terminology (hat tip: Susan Parr)

ALLREGRETTO: When you're 16 measures into the piece and realize you took too fast a tempo

ANGUS DEI: To play with a divinely beefy tone

A PATELLA: Accompanied by knee-slapping

APPOLOGGIATURA: A composition that you regret playing

APPROXIMATURA: A series of notes not intended by the composer, yet played with an "I meant to do that" attitude

APPROXIMENTO: A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct pitch

CACOPHANY: A composition incorporating many people with chest colds

CORAL SYMPHONY: A large, multi-movement work from Beethoven's Caribbean Period

DILL PICCOLINI: An exceedingly small wind instrument that plays only sour notes

FERMANTRA: A note held over and over and over and over and . . .

FERMOOTA: A note of dubious value held for indefinite length

FIDDLER CRABS: Grumpy string players

FLUTE FLIES: Those tiny mosquitoes that bother musicians on outdoor gigs

FRUGALHORN: A sensible and inexpensive brass instrument

GAUL BLATTER: A French horn player

GREGORIAN CHAMP: The title bestowed upon the monk who can hold a note the longest

GROUND HOG: Someone who takes control of the repeated bass line and won't let anyone else play it


SCHMALZANDO: A sudden burst of music from the Guy Lombardo band

THE RIGHT OF STRINGS: Manifesto of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Violists

SPRITZICATO: An indication to string instruments to produce a bright and bubbly sound

TEMPO TANTRUM: What an elementary school orchestra is having when it's not following the conductor

TROUBLE CLEF: Any clef one can't read: e.g., alto clef for pianists

VESUVIOSO: An indication to build up to a fiery conclusion

VIBRATTO: Child prodigy son of the concertmaster


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