MUS 007/MCS 009 Vocab List 1 – Music Terms and Instruments.
Tempo: The speed of a piece of music.
Meter: The cyclical repetition of important beats in a piece of music (the “time
signature”)
Rhythm: The relative length of notes and silences.
Note: The nomenclature typically assigned to a note (eg. A, Bb, C, etc…).
Pitch: The “highness” or “lowness” of a note.
Melody: The linear arrangement of notes in order to form a recognizable entity.
Harmony: The vertical arrangement of notes (chords).
Dynamics: The loudness of a sound.
Tone Color: Also called “timbre”; the unique texture attributed to a single instrument’s
sound.
Consonance: A stable harmony (at rest).
Dissonance: An unstable harmony (unrest).
Orchestration: The selection of instruments, based on their tone color.
Texture: The thickness of orchestration.
Counterpoint: The simultaneous presentation of two or more musical ideas.
Style: The specific usage of musical elements in order to suggest a particular composer,
genre, or time period.
Pizzicato: A string instrument technique in which the strings are plucked, not bowed.
Drone: A note or chord sustained for a long period of time.
Leitmotif: A recurring theme associated with a character, place, or idea that can be altered
in subsequent appearances.
Ostinato: A motif or phrase frequently repeated (rhythmic or melodic)
Melodic Contour: The shape or direction of a linear musical entity.
Mickey-mousing: A technique that synchronizes the music and on screen action.
Temp-track: A temporary, pre-existent piece of music used during the editing process.
Diegetic: A sound that is part of the narrative sphere.
Non-diegetic: Dramatic sound that is not part of the narrative sphere.
Orchestral Instruments
Woodwind instruments
Flute (piccolo)
Oboe (English horn)
Clarinet (bass clarinet)
Bassoon (contrabassoon)
Brass instruments
French horn
Trumpet
Trombone (bass trombone)
Tuba
Keyboard instruments
Piano
Organ
Harpsichord
Synthesizer
String instruments
Violin
Viola
Cello
Double Bass
Percussion Instruments
Pitched:
Xylophone
Marimba
Glockenspiel
Vibraphone
Chimes
Harp
Timpani
Non-Pitched
Bass Drum
Snare Drum
Cymbal
Clave
Brake Drum
Triangle
Shaker
Tambourine
Wind chimes
Synthesizers/Electronic Instruments
Analog, digital, MIDI, etc…
Theremin

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MUS 007/MCS 009 Vocab List 1 – Music Terms and Instruments.
Tempo: The speed of a piece of music.
Meter: The cyclical repetition of important beats in a piece of music (the “time
signature”)
Rhythm: The relative length of notes and silences.
Note: The nomenclature typically assigned to a note (eg. A, Bb, C, etc…).
Pitch: The “highness” or “lowness” of a note.
Melody: The linear arrangement of notes in order to form a recognizable entity.
Harmony: The vertical arrangement of notes (chords).
Dynamics: The loudness of a sound.
Tone Color: Also called “timbre”; the unique texture attributed to a single instrument’s
sound.
Consonance: A stable harmony (at rest).
Dissonance: An unstable harmony (unrest).
Orchestration: The selection of instruments, based on their tone color.
Texture: The thickness of orchestration.
Counterpoint: The simultaneous presentation of two or more musical ideas.
Style: The specific usage of musical elements in order to suggest a particular composer,
genre, or time period.
Pizzicato: A string instrument technique in which the strings are plucked, not bowed.
Drone: A note or chord sustained for a long period of time.
Leitmotif: A recurring theme associated with a character, place, or idea that can be altered
in subsequent appearances.
Ostinato: A motif or phrase frequently repeated (rhythmic or melodic)
Melodic Contour: The shape or direction of a linear musical entity.
Mickey-mousing: A technique that synchronizes the music and on screen action.
Temp-track: A temporary, pre-existent piece of music used during the editing process.
Diegetic: A sound that is part of the narrative sphere.
Non-diegetic: Dramatic sound that is not part of the narrative sphere.
Orchestral Instruments
Woodwind instruments
Flute (piccolo)
Oboe (English horn)
Clarinet (bass clarinet)
Bassoon (contrabassoon)
Brass instruments
French horn
Trumpet
Trombone (bass trombone)
Tuba
Keyboard instruments
Piano
Organ
Harpsichord
Synthesizer
String instruments
Violin
Viola
Cello
Double Bass
Percussion Instruments
Pitched:
Xylophone
Marimba
Glockenspiel
Vibraphone
Chimes
Harp
Timpani
Non-Pitched
Bass Drum
Snare Drum
Cymbal
Clave
Brake Drum
Triangle
Shaker
Tambourine
Wind chimes
Synthesizers/Electronic Instruments
Analog, digital, MIDI, etc…
Theremin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *