Music Dictionary


Crescendo (cresc):  Gradually increase the volume

Decrescendo (decresc.):  Gradually softer

Forte (f):  Strong or loud

Fortepiano (fp):  Loud then immediately soft

Fortissimo (ff):  Very strong or loud

Mezzo:  medium or moderately (as in mezzo piano or mezzo soprano)

Pianissimo:   very soft

Piano:  Soft

Sforzando (sfz):  Loud sudden attack


Grave:  Very very slow and solemn  (30-50)

Largo:  Broad and slow  (40 – 50)

Adagio:  Slowly, leisurely  (60 – 80)

Andante:  In a walking tempo, moderately slow  (80 – 96)

Maestoso:  Majestically (80 -104)

Moderato:  In a moderate tempo     (112-130)

Allegro:  Quick and lively  (120-160)

Presto:  Very fast (160-200)


Accelerando (Accel.):   Gradually increase the tempo

A tempo:  In the original speed

Ritardando:  Gradually slower

Rubato:  Not in a strict tempo

Tenuto:  Hold full value or stretch the notes


Cadenza:  extended section for soloist alone

Coda:  A finishing section (tail)

Da Capo (D.C.) :  From the beginning

Dal Segno (D.S.):  From the sign

Fine:  The end


Divisi (div.):  Divide the between players

Soli:  Like instruments playing same part

Solo:  one player

Tacet:  Silent

Tutti:   Everyone

Unison:  All play same part


Animato:  In an animated style

Brio, con:  With brilliance, with spirit

Cantabile:  In a singing style

Dolce:  Sweetly

Espressivo:   With Expression

Grazioso:  gracefully

Legato:  Smooth and connected

Maestoso:  Majestically

Marcato:  Marked with distinctness, every note accented

Sostenuto:  Sustained

Staccato:   Separated

Sordino:  Mute (con sordino: with mute;  senza sordino: without mute)


Con:  with

Senza: without

Simile:  Continue in a like manner

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