Music History

Absolute music
instrumental music having no intended association with a story, poem, idea, or scene; non-program music.

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Ballet
a dance form featuring a staged presentation of group or solo dancing with music, costumes, and scenery.

Coda
an ending section stays in the tonic key, not really part of the basic sonata form.

Chromatic harmony
Use of chords containing tones not found in the prevailing major or minor scale but included in the chromatic scale (which has twelve tones); often found in romantic music.

Exoticism
Use of melodies, rhythms, or instruments that suggest foreign lands; common in romantic music.

Idee fixe
Single melody used in several movements of a long work to represent a recurring idea.

Leitmotif
Short musical idea associated with a person, object, or thought, characteristic of the operas of Wagner.

Modified strophic form
Form in which two or more stanzas of poetry are set to the same music while other stanzas have new music; found in art songs of the romantic period.

Music Dramas
Wagner’s Operas- not sectional, but is continuous, they are unified by leitmorifs.

Nationalism
Inclusion of folk songs, dances, legends, and other national material in a composition to associate it with the composer’s homeland; characteristic of romantic music.

Postlude
Concluding section; the section at the end of an art song that sums up its mood, played by the piano or orchestra without the voice.

Program
Explanatory comments specifying the story, scene, or idea associated with program music.

Program Music
Music that tells some kind of story.

Rubato
Slight holding back or pressing forward of tempo to intensify the expression of the music, often used in romantic music.

Song Cycle
a series of songs that are woven together to make a narrative.

Sonata allegro form
prominent form of Classical Music featuring Exposition, Development, and Recapitulation.

String Quartet
chamber music featuring two violins, a viola, and a cello.

Strophic form
vocal form in which the same music is repeated for each stanza of a poem.

Symphonic poem
Relatively short orchestral work in one continuous movement, though it may fall into contrasting sections.

Thematic transformation
Alteration of the character of a theme by means of changes in dynamics, orchestration, or rhythm, when it returns in a later movement or section; often found in romantic music.

Through
composed form – Vocal form in which there is new music for each stanza of a poem.

Character pieces
Small programmatic movements for solo piano.

German Opera
Opera in the style of Wagner.

Lyric Opera
Melodious, its primary subject matter was tragic love.

Modulation
Movement among keys.

Mazurkas and polonaises
Polish dances; Chopin invested them with the spirit of Polish nationalism.

Mazurkas
in triple meter with a stress on the second or third beat of the bar.

Opera
dramatic work in one or more acts, set to music for singers and instrumentalists.

French Opera
two very different genres:

Grand Opera
incorporated lofty subject matter and spectacular staging, including ballet, choruses, and crowd scenes; dialogue was set in accompanied musical recitative.

Comic Opera, a much smaller cast and orchestra, simpler musical style, and more down
to-earth plots with humorous or romantic interest; dialogue was spoken.

Orchestral Song Cycle
Uses an Orchestra instead of a piano.

Polonaises
Stately and proud.

Preludes
“study piece”.

Nocturnes
Moody, introspective pieces.

Impromptus
“off the cuff”, capture the essence of improvisation.

Italian Opera
Opera in the style of Verdi.