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Humanities LibreTexts

5.7: Glossary

  • Page ID
  • Cadenza – section of a concerto in which the soloist plays alone without the orchestra in an improvisatory style

    Chamber music – music—such as art songs, piano character pieces, and string quartets— primarily performed in small performing spaces, often for personal entertainment

    Coda – optional final section of a movement that reasserts the home key of the movement and provides a sense of conclusion

    Da capo – instruction—commonly found at the end of the B section or Trio of a Minuet and Trio, to return to the “head” or first section, generally resulting in an A - B - A form

    Development – the middle section of a sonata-form movement in which the themes and key areas introduced in the exposition are developed;

    Double-exposition form – form of the first movement of a Classical period concerto that combines the exposition, development, and recapitulation of sonata form with the ritornello form used for the first movements of Baroque concertos; also called first-movement concerto form

    Exposition – first section of a sonata form movement, in which the themes and key areas of the movement are introduced; the section normally modulates from the home key to a different key

    Hemiola – the momentary shifting from a duple to a triple feel or vice versa

    Minuet and trio form – form based on the minuet dance that consists of a Minuet (A), then a contrasting Trio (B), followed by a return to the Minuet (A)

    Opera Buffa – comic style of opera made famous by Mozart

    Opera Seria – serious style of eighteenth-century opera made famous by Handel generally features mythology or high-born characters and plots

    Pizzicato – the plucking of a bowed string instrument such as the violin, producing a percussive effect

    Recapitulation – third and final second of a sonata-form movement, in which the themes of the exposition return, now in the home key of the movement

    Rondo – instrumental form consisting of the alternation of a refrain “A” with contrasting sections (“B,” “C,” “D,” etc.). Rondos are often the final movements of string quartets, classical symphonies, concerti, and sonata (instrumental solos).

    Scherzo – form that prominently replaced the minuet in symphonies and strings quartets of the nineteenth century; like the minuet, scherzos are ternary forms and have a triple feel, although they tend to be somewhat faster in tempo than the minuet.

    Sonata form – a form often found in the first and last movements of sonatas, symphonies, and string quartets, consisting of three parts—exposition, development, and recapitulation

    String quartet – performing ensemble consisting of two violinists, one violinist, and one Page | 158

    Understanding MUsic MUsic of the classical Period

    cellist that plays compositions called string quartets, compositions generally in four movements

    Symphony – multi-movement composition for orchestra, often in four movements

    Ternary form – describes a musical composition in three parts, most often featurings two similar sections, separated by a contrasting section and represented by the letters A – B – A.

    Theme and Variation form – the presentation of a theme and then variations upon it. The theme may be illustrated as A, with any number of variations following it – A’, A’’, A’’’, A’’’’, etc.

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