Glossary of Terms

Terms Used in Writing Skills

• beam: In music notation, the horizontal or near-horizontal line (or lines) that connects the stems of two or more notes, each less than a quarter note in value, occuring consecutively within a beat. In some cases, primarily with eighth notes, beams may encompass more than one beat and up to two beats. There are two basic types of beams: primary beams and secondary beams.

• Primary beams link entire note groups together.

Secondary beams define further subdivisions of a note-group beamed together by a primary beam.

• Binary Form - Music which is divided into two parts.

• Imaginary (invisible) Barline - Showing the beginning of a beat through the beaming of groups of eighth notes, sixteenth notes, or triplets in certain time signatures, the most common of which are 4/4, 6/8, 12/8, cut-time. In 4/4 and cut-time, the grouping of eighth notes should show the start of beat three and the grouping of 16th notes and triplets must show the start of all four beats. In 6/8, the fourth eighth note must be visible. In 12/8, the seventh eighth note must be visible. Beams on eighth notes, sixteenth notes, or triplets should not cross over the imaginary barline.

Terms Used in Arranging 1

Also see Terms Used in Writing Skills

• Anticipation - A technique of melodic or rhythmic alteration which changes a note that occurs on-the-beat to be played early resulting in syncopation. The most common anticipations occur one-half beat early (an 8th note anticipation), a quarter-of-a-beat early (a 16th note anticipation), or one-third of a beat early (a triplet anticipation). When the anticipation occurs in the melody, it is a melodic anticipation. Anticipations are sometimes also called "pushed notes" or "pushes."

• Chord Tone - the pitches in a chord that determine its basic sound quality. Chord tones are the following:
a. root, 3rd and 5th of a triad (major, minor, augmented or diminished).

b. root, 4th and 5th of a triad (sus 4 triad).
c. root, 3rd, 5th and 7th of seventh chords.
d. root, 4th, 5th and flat 7th of a dominant 7th sus 4 chord.
e. root, 3rd, 5th and 6th of a sixth chord (major, minor).

    • Delayed Attack - A technique of melodic or rhythmic alteration which changes a note that occurs on-the-beat to be played one-half beat late (an 8th note delayed attack or hesitation), a quarter-of-a-beat late (a 16th note delayed attack), one-third of a beat late (a triplet delayed attack), or one full beat late. The opposite of an anticipation. Delayed attacks are also commonly called "hesitations." As with anticipations, the result is syncopation.

    Tension - a note (or notes) added to a major triad, minor triad, or sixth chord which represent the logical upper extensions of the triad (using intervals of a 3rd). The following notes in a chord are considered tensions: 7, b7, 9, b9, #9, 11, #11, 13, b13.

    These upper extension notes create "tense" musical and intervallic relationships with the pitches of the major or minor triad in the chord. The chords that contain tension notes sound somewhat more unstable than a 7th chord does. This is because the tensions "rub" against the other notes in the chord. Tensions create intervals of a richer or denser quality within the chord structure than those resulting from only the basic chord functions (root, 3rd and 5th). The 7th of a chord is often considered a chord tone, rather than a tension.

    Tensions are considered non-chord tones (also called nonharmonic tones), rather than chord tones, even when they are part of a chord. Tensions enhance or enrich the sound of the chord, and modifies the basic quality of the chord sound. While a major chord with tensions still has a major quality as part of its sound, tension notes can mask the quality of the overall sound. Adding a sharp nine tension to a dominant 7th chord is an example of such a mixture.

    See also Available Tensions in Terms Used in Harmony 1

    Terms Used in Arranging 2

    Also see Terms Used in Writing Skills and Terms Used in Arranging 1

    • Guide Tone Line - a unison background line which leads stepwise or through common tones of the harmonic progression, providing an effective counterline accompaniment to the melody.

    • Low Interval Limit - The lowest point of an interval (from minor second to major 10th) below which the interval begins to sound muddy or indistinct. The limits are not absolutes, but represent areas below which there is a real risk that the resultant sound will not work well within a normal harmonic context.

    • Spread Voicing - Open voicings of chords with the root of the chord on the bottom; sometimes referred to as "pads".

    Terms Used in Chord Scale Voicings
    Also see Terms Used in Writing Skills, Terms Used in Arranging 1, and Terms Used in Arranging 2

    • Chord Scale - A specific set of scalewise pitches that include the chord tones and available tensions of a given chord, along with any passing tones that help definre the tonal or modal context of the chord.

    • Modal Interchange - Using chord structures and their chord scales from a parallel (having the same pitch axis) mode or scale.

    Terms Used in Ear Training

    Ear Training: Music training that improves the skill of music translation. That skill is utilized in almost all aspects of music: music recognition, music reading, performing and composing. The training consists of rhythmic, melodic (Solfege), and harmonic (chords and progressions) study, as well as performance and dictation.

    • Solfege: A system of melodic organization that uses syllables (DO RE MI FA SOL LA TI DO) to designate pitches. Two common systems are Moveable-DO Solfege and Fixed-DO Solfege.

    Moveable-Do Solfege: A method of solfege in which the root or tonic of the key is always "DO." This method focuses on understanding the melodic functions common to each key. This is the method used in the Berklee Ear Training courses.

    Fixed-DO Solfege: A method of solfege in which the note "C" is always DO, regardless of the key. This system focuses on intervallic hearing.

    Dictation: The process of translating music that is heard. Dictation is done either by performing (sing-back or play-back), and/or by notating the music.

    Terms Used in Harmony 1

    Modes: Refers to the scales that are displacements of the major scale.

    Triad: A chord containing three notes, usually consisting of a root, a third above the root and a fifth above the root.

    Seventh Chord: A chord containing four notes, usually consisting of a triad with a seventh above the root.

    Available Tensions: Tensions are notes added to a seventh chord by extending the chord upwards in thirds. Tensions are measured intervallically above the root of the chord, and can consist of a minor, major or augmented ninth, a perfect or augmented eleventh and/or a minor or major thirteenth. Not every tension will work with every chord type. The ones that do work with a specific chord type are said to be "available".

    See also Tension in Terms Used in Arranging 1

    Diatonic Progression: Harmony made up exclusively of notes from the scale of the key.

    Terms Used in Harmony 2

    Also see Terms Used in Harmony 1

    Secondary Dominants: Dominant chords that are expected to resolve down a perfect fifth to a diatonic chord other than I. For example: V7/II (V7 of II), V7/III (V7 of III)

    Extended Dominants: A series of dominants without a direct key relationship, each one resolving down a fifth to the next.

    Modal Interchange: Borrowing chords from a parallel mode. In Harmony 2, borrowing chords from natural minor to use in the parallel major.

    Harmonic Continuity: Moving the notes of one chord as smoothly as possible to the notes of the next chord (root motion is independent).

    Terms Used in Harmony 3

    Also see Terms Used in Harmony 1 and Terms Used in Harmony 2

    Substitute Dominants: Also known as tritone substitutes, dominant seventh chords that contain the same tritone as the dominant chord for which they are substituting. (ex. G7 and Db7, Eb7 and A7, B7 and F7, etc.) Their expected resolution is down a minor second.

    Diminished Chord: Diminished triad: a chord consisting of a root, minor third and diminished fifth. Diminished seventh chord: a chord consisting of a root, minor third, diminished fifth and diminished seventh.

    Modulation: Within a piece of music, a change of tonal center (key) as perceived by the listener.

    Terms Used in Harmony 4

    Also see Terms Used in Harmony 1, Terms Used in Harmony 2, and Terms Used in Harmony 3

    Compound Chord: A chord whose chord symbol consists of more than one element. Also known as a slash chord. For example: G/B (inversion) , Fmaj7/G (hybrid), D (polychord), C7

    Hybrid: A compound chord consisting of upper chord tones (except the third) and tensions above the indicated root. Also known as incomplete chords or chords without thirds.

    Inversion: A chord that is voiced with a chord tone other than the root in the bass.
    For example: F/A, Gmaj7/D, Eb7/G

    Polychord: A compound chord consisting of an upper chord over a lower chord.

    Constant Structure Progression: A chord progression consisting of three or more chords of the same quality.

    Terms Used in Introduction to Music Technology

    Students who wish to test out of MT010: Introduction to Music Technology should know the meaning of the following terms and understand their application to music technology in cases where everyday usage is common:

    1/4" tape
    A/D
    ADB
    ADC
    Additive synthesis
    ADSR
    AES/EBU
    Aftertouch
    Aliasing
    ALU
    AM
    Amplitude
    Analog
    Analog/Digital Hybrid
    Aperiodic
    Apple printer ports
    Applications
    ASCII
    Attenuation
    Attenuator
    Auxiliary input
    Average level
    Balanced and Unbalanced Connections
    Band Pass Filter
    Bandwidth
    Baud Rate
    Bi-amplification
    Binary
    Bit
    Bit depth
    Bits and Bytes
    Bits of resolution
    BPM
    Buffers
    Buss
    Byte
    Cardioid
    CD-ROM
    CD-ROM drives
    Cents
    Channel
    Chorus
    Circuit
    Clangorous
    Clipping
    Clock
    Close box
    CMOS
    Coincident pair
    Compression
    Compression/rarefaction
    Compressor
    Condenser Microphone
    Controller
    Controller Number
    CPU
    Crossover
    CRT
    D/A,
    DAC
    Daisy Chain
    DASH
    Databases
    dB
    Decay
    Decibel
    Decimal
    Desktop
    Diaphragm
    Digital
    Digitizing pad
    Disk
    Disk Drive
    Disk storage
    Distortion
    Documents
    DOS
    Doubling
    DVD
    Dynamic Microphone
    Dynamic Range
    Early Reflection
    Email
    Envelope
    EPROM
    Eq
    Equalizers
    Expansion
    Fader
    Far field
    File
    Filters
    Finder
    First Reflection
    Flags
    Flanging
    Floppies
    Floppy Disk
    FM Synthesis
    Folder
    Formant
    Format
    Frequency
    Frequency Response
    Fundamental
    Gain
    Gain-staging
    Gate
    Giga
    Graphic EQ
    Graphic Equalizer
    Half Step
    Hard Disk
    Hard disks
    Harmonic
    Harmonic Spectrum
    Headroom
    Hertz
    Hexadecimal
    High-pass Filter
    Hz
    Impedence
    Inches Per Second
    Input
    Insert
    Internet
    IPS
    Joystick
    Keyboard Controller
    Kilo
    LAN
    Layering
    LED
    Level to tape
    LFO
    Librarian
    Limiter
    Limiting
    Loudness
    Low-pass Filter
    MacOS
    Macros
    Magnetic Flux
    Magneto-optical
    Male/female
    Master Faders
    MDM
    Mega
    Memory
    Menu
    MIDI
    MIDI controllers
    MIDI Interface
    Millivolt
    Mini plug
    Mixing board (console, desk)
    Mode
    Modem
    Monitor Loudspeaker
    Monitor/cue mix
    Mono
    Mouse
    Moving
    Multi-effects
    Multi-sampling
    Multi-tasking
    Multi-timbral
    Mute
    Near field
    Networks
    Noise Reduction
    Non-harmonic
    Non-normalled
    Normalled
    Nyquist
    Nyquist Frequency
    Octave
    Omni-directional
    Operating systems
    Optical
    Oscillator
    Output
    Overtones
    Oxide
    Pan
    Parallel
    Parallel communications
    Parallel interface
    Parametric EQ
    Partial
    PC printer ports
    Peak level
    Periodic
    Peripherals,
    Permanent magnet
    Phantom power
    Pickup Patterns
    Pitch
    Pitch Bend
    Pitch Shifting
    Plotter
    Polar Pattern
    Polyphonic
    Polyphony
    Port
    Post-fader
    Power Bandwidth
    Pre-delay
    Pre-Fader
    Pre-fader
    Preamp
    Preamplifiers
    Precedence effect
    Preset
    Printer
    Printhrough
    Program
    Program change
    Protocols
    Proximity effect
    Pull-Down Menus
    PZM
    Q
    Quantization
    RAM
    Ratio
    RCA jack
    Real-time
    Release
    Removable hard disks
    Resolution
    Resonance
    Return
    Reverb
    Reverberation and Delay
    Ribbon Microphone
    ROM
    Rotating head
    S/PDIF
    Sample playback
    Sample Rate
    Sample rate
    Samplers
    Save
    SCSI
    Send
    Sequencer
    Sequencing
    Serial
    Serial communications
    Serial Interface
    Shelving EQ
    Signal Processing
    Signal-to-Noise Ratio
    Sine
    Sizing
    Slapback
    Snake
    Solo
    Song position pointer
    Sound design
    Sound engine
    Sound Module
    Sound System
    Soundfile
    Spaced pair
    Spectrum
    SPL
    Splitter Transformer
    Spreadsheets
    Stack
    Stage Box
    Star network?Ring network?Nodes
    Step input
    Stereo
    Storage
    Subtractive Synthesis
    Summing
    Sustain Pedal
    Synchronization
    Synthesizer
    Synthesizer Voice
    System Exclusive
    System Folder
    System real-time
    Tape Hiss
    Tape storage
    Tape Width
    Threshold
    Timbre
    Touch screens
    Touch sensitive
    Track
    Track Width
    Transducer
    Transient response
    Transients
    Trash can
    Tri-amplification
    Trim
    TRS (Tip-Ring-Sleeve)
    Tweeter
    Unbalanced
    Unix
    VCA/DCA
    VCO/DCO
    Velocity
    Voice
    Voice coil
    Volt
    Von Neumann architecture
    VU
    Waveform
    Wavetable Synthesis
    Web
    Wheel
    Windows
    Windows 3.1, 95, and 98
    Woofer
    Word processing
    Wow & Flutter
    XLR