A Musical Dictionary, containing
An Explanation of the most useful Terms that are used in Music; in Alphabetical order.
Accents. The emphatical notes in music.
adagio. Very slow, the slowest movement of time.
accentor. The leader, or chorister, who is expected to pronounce distinctly.
allegro. Very quick, being as quick again as Adagio, i.e. two bars in Allegro, are performed in the same time, as one in Adagio.
affectuoso. Tender and affectionate.
alleluia. Praise ye the Lord, the same as Hallelujah, and is esteemed as much the best word in music.
altus. The Counter.
acute. When the notes are high and sharp.
anonymous. The Authors name not known.
assaying. Trying if voices are in true tone.
anthem. A divine song, generally in prose.
Breve. An ancient note twice the length of a Semibreve. N.B. The moderns have droped this note entirely.
bass. The lowest, or foundational part; the most majestic part in music, generally set in the F cliff[.]
binary-time. Up and down, both equal.
bar double. An insignificant character in church music; therefore but little esteemed among us.
bar-single. Which divides the time of the tune into equal parts, and also directs where to place the accents. N.B. A most dignified character of very great utility.
bar full. When there is a sufficient quantity of notes included in each Bar, to answer the time of the tune, viz. if the time be Adagio, Largo, or Allegro, one Semibreve, or the same quantity of less notes are required, to fill a bar; if the time is 3/2, three Minims fill a bar; if 3/4 then three Crotchets, &c.
bar-empty. When the bar contains no notes of Sound, but notes of Silence.
beat. One motion of the hand, or foot in keeping time.
beat-note. The note which goes for a beat, viz. a Minim is the Beat-Note in Allegro, and 3/2, a crotchet is a Beat-Note in 3/4, and 2/4, &c.
Carol. A song, or hymn of joy, on a feast, or birth day.
canon. A perpetual fuge. N.B. Canons are not esteemed with us so much as formerly, and I think not without good reason; for we can express all the beauty and variety of Canons, in fuging music, and with this apparent advantage, viz. that all the performers may sing the part most suitable to their voices, which cannot be done in canons; for they partake of the height of the counter, and the depth of the bass, and unless the performers have suitable voices for every part, they cannot sing a canon with ease, or elegance; therefore I think the contrivance of canons is more curious than useful[.]
consonance. Sounds which are agreeable, much the same as Consonant.
cliff. The key to unlock, or open a peace [piece] of music, consisting of three, viz. F, C and G.
chant. To sing.
chorus. All parts moving together.
choro-grando. The grandest chorus.
clavis. Or cliff, or key. See cliff.
concord. An agreeable or musical sound.
crotchet. A note, half the length of a Minim, and twice the length of a Quaver.
choir. A company of musicians.
counter. A part between tenor and treble.
Da-capo. End with the first strain. It is often set in minuets, jigs, marches and songs, at the end of a tune, and refers the performer back to the first strain. N.B. Sometimes the word is wrote at length, and sometimes only D.C.
discant. The art of composition.
discant-double. Or double-discant, is when the bass and tenor pass by each other, so that the bass becomes highest and the tenor lowest. In such compositions the bass and tenor exchange characters for the time being. N.B. Particular care should be taken on such notes to sound the bass soft, and tenor full; otherwise the upper part will overpower the lower.
discord. A disagreeable sound.
disonance. A disagreeing noise.
disonant. The same as discord.
dictionary. A magazine of words, together with the explanation.
diapente. A fifth, a sweet concord.
dominant tones. Such as the key note, the greater third, greater sixth, &c.
division. A running, or singing a chain of quick Notes.
doxology. Glory to God, or a song to the trinity.
duodecimo. A twelveth, an Octave above Diapente, consequently a Concord.
decimo. A tenth, a grand Concord, an Octave above the third, or Trio.
demi. 〈 In music 〉 is the half of a half. i.e. a Demisemiquaver is the fourth of a Quaver, and the half of a Semiquaver.
diapason. An eighth, the next perfect Concord to the Unison.
disdiapason. A fifteenth, a Concord, an Octave above Diapason, and two Octaves above Unison.
divoto. In a devout manner.
doubles. All Notes that descend below Gamut, viz. the lower line in the Bass, are called doubles, as double F, double E, double D, double C, double B, double A, double G; and all below double G, are called double double; as double double F, &c. N.B. But few voices reach below double C, except it is done by blowing.
emphatical-notes. Are where the accent is placed.
emphasis[.] The same as accent.
elegy. A funeral hymn, or song.
encore. Sing it again, the same as repeat.
errata. Errors in the publication, or printing.
etymology. The first derivation from whence a word, or sound is taken.
explore. To find out by study.
F cliff. In the Bass, fixed on the upper line but one. N.B. It is one whole tone below the G Cliff in the Tenor.
fourth. A Discord.
forte. Loud, and full.
fortissimo. Very loud.
fuge. Or Fuging, Notes flying after each other, altho’ not always the same sound. N.B. Music is said to be Fuging, when one part comes in after another; its beauties cannot be numbered, it is sufficient to say, that it is universally pleasing.
flat. A character used to sink a Note half a tone lower, and to regulate the Mi, in transposition.
fifth. See Diapente.
Gamut. The Aretinian Scale of Music; also the name of the lower line in the Bass.
gravasonus. Very grave and solid.
guido aretinus. The inventor, or at least the improver of the present Scale of Music.
glossary. Much the same as Dictionary.
grave. Slow in Time, or in Vibration[.] N.B. Grave and Acute are opposite to each other.
G. Cliff. For the Treble and Tenor, fixed on the lower line but one. N.B. G. in the Treble, is an Octave above G in the Tenor.
Harmony. The agreement that results from practical Music.
harp. A stringed Instrument.
harpsicord. A wire Instrument, with Keys like an Organ.
hexachord. A sixth, an imperfect Concord.
harmonic. See Harmony.
hallelujah. See Alleluia.
hosanna. By some Authors, it is “save we beseech thee,” and according to others, the same as Hallelujah. N.B. I use it for Hallelujah.
Imitation. Is when one part imitates, or mimicks another. N.B. This is frequently done in Fuging pieces.
inharmonical. Sounds disagreeable.
intonation. The art of rightly pitching a Tune; see Pitch-pipe.
Jargon. The worst of sounds: see Discord.
Key. The Dominant, or principle [principal] Note, or tone on which the Tune is founded.
key. Natural, or natural Key, viz. A, and C.
key. Artificial, or artificial Key, is when B-Mi, is transposed by Flats, or Sharps.
Long. A note containing two Breves; now out of use.
large. A Note containing two Longs; now out of use.
ledger lines. Lines which run above, or below the five lines. N.B. All Notes that run more than an Octave above the G Cliff, in the Treble, are said to be in Alt.
largo. A middle mov[e]ment of Time, between Adagio, and Allegro. N.B. According to the Pendulums, you must perform five Bars in Largo, to four in Adagio.
languissiant. In a languishing manner.
lute. A stringed Instrument.
Measure note. A note containing a whole Bar of Time. In Adagio, Largo, and Allegro, a Semibreve is the Measure Note; because it fills a Bar of itself, and in 2/4, a Minim is the measure Note, for the same reason.
minim. A Note as long as two Crotchets, and half as long as a Semibreve.
mood. The mark or measure of Time.
major. The greater.
medius. The Treble sung an Octave below itself, with a Tenor Voice.
musico theorico. A Composer, Master, or teacher of Music.
maestuso. With Majesty & Grandeur.
Nona. A ninth, an Octave above Secundo, consequently a Discord.
nota-bene. Or N.B. mark well.
Octave. An eighth of 12 Semitones; see Diapason.
oscillation. A Vibrating, or swinging.
organ. The grandest of all Musical Instruments.
Pitch-pipe. An Instrument to give tunes a proper pitch, consisting of, 1st the Chest, or hollow Tube; 2d the Register, or Slider, on which the letters are marked; which being pushed in, or down out of the Chest, untill you get to the letter; then by blowing gently, you obtain the true sound. Observe not to blow too hard for that will cause a false sound; nor too weak, for that will emit no sound at all. N.B. Most of the Pitch-pipes in the country are set too high, they should be regulated by an Organ.
piano. Soft, like an Eccho.
philo-musico. A lover of Music.
Quarta. Four parts in Score.
quaver. A Note containing two Semiquavers, and half as long as a Crotchet.
Recte and retro. Forwards and backwards.
repeat. A certain part to be performed over again.
replica. See Repeat.
Semi. The half.
semiquaver. A Note containing two Demisemiquavers, and half as long as a Quaver.
score. All parts standing Bar against Bar, according to the nicest rules. N.B. Music out of Score, is said to [be] a tune without time.
semitonic. The Octave divided into twelve Semitones.
syncopee. Notes that are longer, being placed between two that are shorter, viz. when a Note, which is a whole Beat, is placed between two Notes, which are but half Beats, so the long note must be divided into two parts, in beating time. N.B. This cannot be so well expressed in Theory as in Practice.
syncopation. Is when the sound of the last Note in one Bar, is carried over into the next Bar, and tyed by a Slur.
sharp. A mark of extension, to raise a Note half a tone higher, it is also used to regulate the Mi in transposition.
solo, or Solus. Either part alone.
seranade. Night-music played, or sung at the door, or window. N.B. This sort of nocturnal Music is not so much in vogue with us Americans, as it is in Europe, where the young gallants frequently entertain their mistresses in amorous ditties.
septima. A seventh, a Discord.
secundo. A second, a Discord.
symphony. An air, which is played, or sang without words, before the song begins, and sometimes such airs are in the middle of a peice and at the end.
staff. The five lines on which the tune is set.
Tacet or Tacetness. Be silent, and beat your empty Bars.
tarantula. A spider in Italy, whose bite is cured only by Music.
trinary measure. Triple time.
te deum. A song of praise and thanks giving after a great deliverance, or victory.
transposition. A removing from one Key, or letter to another.
treble. The third Octave above the Bass, adapted to feminine voices, in either sex, confin’d to the G cliff. N.B. The G Cliff in the Treble, is an Octave above the G Cliff in the Tenor.
tenor. The second part above the Bass, the leading part in the church. N.B. The Moderns confine it chiefly to the G Cliff, and consider it an Octave below the Treble.
trio. A third, a Concord.
tripla time. Moving and measured by threes.
tutt. All voices together.
Unison. One and the same sound.
Voluntary. An Air which is played on an Organ, it is performed in Church before service begins, to soothe the minds and calm the passions of the Audience, for the fit worship of God.
vivace. Quick and lively.
vibration. A shaking, or trembling.
vigoroso. With life and vigour.