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STIRLING HIGH SCHOOL

MUSIC DEPARTMENT

NATIONAL 3/4/5 MUSIC


RECORD OF WORK

Name
Class
Teacher
SUMMARY OF COURSE REQUIREMENTS

National 4

PERFORMING SKILLS  Prepare a solo performance on two selected


instruments which lasts a total of eight minutes. The
performance time on either of the two instruments must
be a minimum of two minutes within the overall eight.
 Candidates must perform a minimum of two contrasting
pieces on each instrument.
 Pieces must be approved by SQA and be at least grade
2.
 Candidates must gather evidence of their ability to
evaluate their own performing skills.
 Performances will be marked on the following:
 Melodic accuracy
 Rhythmic accuracy
 Maintaining the tempo and flow
 Expressing mood and character
 Dynamics
COMPOSING SKILLS  Create a folio of original compositions which shows an
understanding of a range of compositional methods
and music concepts.
 Produce programme notes which reflect on music and
creative choices
 Produce a performance plan/ musical score of
compositions.
UNDERSTANDING  Through course work activities candidates will gather
MUSIC evidence of their knowledge of a range of music
concepts, literacy and styles.
National 5

PERFORMING SKILLS  Prepare a solo performance on two selected


instruments which lasts a total of eight minutes. The
performance time on either of the two instruments must
be a minimum of two minutes within the overall eight.
 Candidates must perform a minimum of two contrasting
pieces on each instrument.
 Pieces must be approved by SQA and be at least grade
3.
 Candidates must gather evidence of their ability to
evaluate their own performing skills.
 Performances will be marked on the following:
 Melodic accuracy
 Rhythmic accuracy
 Maintaining the tempo and flow
 Expressing mood and character
 Dynamics
COMPOSING SKILLS  Create a folio of original compositions which shows an
understanding of a range of compositional methods
and music concepts.
 Produce programme notes which reflect on their music
and creative choices
 Produce a performance plan/ musical score of their
compositions.
UNDERSTANDING  Through course work activities candidates will gather
MUSIC evidence of their knowledge of a range of music
concepts, literacy and styles.
 There will also be a formal listening paper which will
test the candidate’s knowledge of a range of music
concepts, literacy and styles.
AB 5 Two-part form. See Ternary and Binary. Listen to an example played on Accordion.

Example:

ABA 4 Three-part form. See Ternary and Binary.

Example:

A cappella 5 Unaccompanied choral singing.

Example:

Accidental A sign added to a note to change the pitch.

Example:

Accelerando 4 The music gradually becomes faster. Compare Rallentando.

Example:

Accented 3 Notes which sound louder than others.

Example:

Acciaccatura H An ornament which sounds like a crushed note played very quickly on the beat or

just before it.

Example:

Accompanied 3 Other instrument(s) or voice(s) supports the main melody.

Example:

Accordion 3 An instrument with a keyboard in which sounds are produced by squeezing bellows
with the arms. Popularly called a squeeze box. See Scottish dance band.

Example:

Acoustic 3 A guitar which does not require an electric amplifier to produce sound.
guitar
Example:

Adagio A slow tempo.

Example:

Added 6th H Root, 3rd and 5th of a chord with the 6th added. This chord is used frequently in

jazz and popular music.

Example:

African music 4 Much African music features voices and African drums.
Example:

Air H English for Aria. Song or simple melody, sometimes the title of a movement of a
suite.

Example:

Alberti bass 5
Broken chords played by the left hand outlining harmonies whilst the right hand
plays the melody. Classical composers such as Haydn and Mozart used this
technique extensively in their piano music.

Example:

Allegro 3 A fast tempo.

Example:

Alto (voice) 4 The lowest female voice.Compare Soprano, Mezzo soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass.

Example:

Anacrusis 4 The notes which appear before the first strong beat of a musical phrase particularly
at the start of a piece. It sounds as an upbeat.

Example:

Andante 4 A tempo at walking speed.

Example:

Answer 3 A reply to a musical question. See Question.

Example:

Arco 5 Instruction given to string players to use a bow. This term might be given to
players after a passage using pizzicato. See Pizzicato.

Example:

Aria 5 A song in an opera, oratorio or cantata with orchestral accompaniment.

Example:

Arpeggio 4 Notes of a chord played one after the other - spread out.

Example:

Ascending 3 Notes which rise in pitch. Compare Descending.


Example:

A Tempo 4 The music returns to the main tempo after there has been a change

Example:

Atonal 5 No feeling of key, major or minor. Very dissonant. A feature of some 20th-century
music.

Example:

Augmentation H An increase in the length of notes. The music will sound slower when imitated or
repeated.

Example:
Backing vocals 4 Singers who support the lead singer(s) usually by singing in harmony in the
background. See Lead vocals, Rock and Pop.

Example:

Baritone 5 A male voice whose range lies between that of Bass and Tenor. See Tenor, Bass,
(voice) Soprano, Mezzo soprano, Alto.

Example:

Baroque 4 1600-1750 approximately. Bach and Handel were two of the composers from this
period, with this excerpt by Handel.

Example:

Bass (voice) 4 The lowest male voice (singing a negro spiritual in the excerpt).

Example:

Basso continuo H Sometimes referred to as continuo. In the Baroque period, the continuo part
consisted of a bass line (basso continuo) played by cello, bass, viola da gamba or
bassoon. In addition the harpsichord, organ or lute player was expected to fill in
harmonies built on that bass line. Sometimes figures were written under the bass
line indicating the chords the composer would like played. This was called figured
bass.

Example:

Beat 3 The basic pulse you hear in music which is very clear in this blues excerpt. The
pulse may be in groups of 2, 3 or 4 with a stress on the first in each group.

Example:

Binary A B 5 A form in which the music is made up of two different sections labeled A and B.
Each section may be repeated. See Ternary.

Example:

Blowing 3 The sound produced by blowing into or across the mouthpiece of the instrument,
e.g. brass, woodwind and recorders.

Example:

Blues 3 Started as Black American folk music developing from spirituals and work-songs.
Blues music is often in 4/4 time and is mostly patterned on a 12-bar structure
(although 8 and 16 bars are also found) and on a scale where some notes are
flattened (see Blues scale below).

Example:
Bothy ballad 5 A folk song, usually with many verses, from north-east Scotland. It tells a story of
rural or farming life.

Example:

Bowing 3 The sound produced by drawing the bow across the strings of a stringed instrument,
e.g. violin or cello. Compare Plucking.

Example:

Brass 3 A family of instruments made from metal with a mouthpiece, e.g. trumpet and
euphonium. The sound is made by vibrating the lips. See Orchestra.

Example:

Brass band 4 A band of brass instruments and percussion. (Extended definition - A brass band
uses a separate family of instruments, e.g. cornet, flugel horn, tenor horn and
baritone.)

Example:

Broken chord 4 The notes of a chord are played separately.

Example:
Cadence 5 An ending.

Example:

Cadenza 4 A passage of music which allows soloists to display their technical ability in
singing or playing an instrument. Performers used to improvise cadenzas
themselves but eventually composers began to write them into the score.

Example:

Canon 4 Strict imitation. After one part starts to play or sing a melody, another part enters
shortly afterwards with exactly the same melody. See Round.

Example:

Celtic rock 5 A style of music that mixes Celtic folk music and rock.

Example:

Chamber music H Music written for a small instrumental ensemble with one player to a part.

Example:

Change of key 4 A move from one key to another.

Example:

Chant H A series of chords to which the words of psalms are sung in the Church of
England.

Example:

Chord 3 Two or more notes sounding together. See Harmony.

Example:

Chord 4 A series of related chords built on the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of a major or minor
progressions scale.

Example:

Chord 5 Different progressions using the chords built on the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th notes of
progressions a major or minor scale.
(Int2-H)
Example:

Chorus 5 1. A group of singers with several people to each part.


2. The music written for these singers.
3. The refrain between verses of a song.

Example:

Chromatic 5 Notes which move by semitone

Example:

Clarsach 5 A small Scottish harp.


Example:
Classical 5 1750 to 1810 approximately. The era of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. (Extended
definition - See Symphony, Concerto, Sonata form, Minuet and trio, Alberti bass.)

Example:

Cluster 5 A term used to describe a group of notes played on a keyboard instrument with
the palm of the hand or even with the forearm.

Example:

Coda 5 A passage at the end of a piece of music which rounds it off effectively, with this
excerpt the coda at the end of the first movement of a concerto by Mozart.

Example:

Col legno 5 Instruction given to string players to turn the bow over and bounce the wood on the
strings.

Example:

Coloratura H Term for high, florid vocal singing involving scales, runs and ornaments.
Sometimes these passages were written down, but often were extemporised by
the performer.

Example:

Compound time 4 The beat is divided into groups of three pulses. See Simple time.

Example:

Compound time 5
groupings The beat is a dotted note which divides into three, e.g. 6/8 = two dotted crotchet
beats in a bar and each beat can be divided into three quavers. See Simple time.

Example:

Concertino H In a Concerto grosso this is the name given to the small, solo group of
instrumentalists as opposed to the main group, the Ripieno.

Example:

Concerto 4 Work for solo instrument and orchestra, e.g. a flute concerto is written for flute
and orchestra. It is normally in three movements.

Example:

Concerto Grosso H A type of concerto in which a group of soloists (concertino) is combined and
contrasted with a larger group (ripieno). See Ripieno and Concertino.

Example:
Con Sordino - 5 Creating around half the sound normally expected on an instrument, with the
Muted example a muted trumpet.

Example:

Contrapuntal 5 Texture in which each of two or more parts has independent melodic interest;
similar in meaning to polyphonic.

Example:

Contrary motion 5 Two parts which move in opposite directions, e.g. as one part ascends the other
part descends.

Example:

Countermelody 5 A melody played against the main melody.

Example:

Crescendo 3 The music gradually becomes louder. Compare Diminuendo.

Example:

Cross rhythm 5 1. Term used to describe the effect of two notes being played against three (e.g.
in piano music it might be groups of two quavers in the right hand and groups of
triplets in the left).
2.The term is also used to describe the effect that occurs when the accents in a
piece of music are different from those suggested by the time signature (e.g. the
division of 4/4 time into 3+3+2 quavers).

Example:
Da capo aria H An aria in Ternary form (ABA) used in opera and oratorio in the 17th and 18th
centuries. The third section is not written out but the instruction Da capo (from
the beginning) is given instead. The repeat of the A section was performed with
the solo ornamented.

Example:

Descant 5 Another melody above the main tune, mainly in vocal music.

Example:

Descending 3 Notes which fall in pitch.

Example:

Diminished 7th H
A chord consisting of three intervals of a minor 3rd built one on top of the other,
the interval between the lower and top note being a diminished 7th. This can be a
very useful chord for modulation to distant keys.

A diminished 7th chord built on C.

Example:

Diminished H
chord A chord consisting to two intervals of a minor 3rd built on top of each other.

Example:

Diminuendo 3 The music gradually becomes quieter.

Example:

Diminution H A decrease in the length of notes. The music will sound faster when imitated or
repeated.

Example:

Discord 3 A chord in which certain notes clash. Discord was used sparingly in music up to
the end of the 19th century, in order to add tension, and it was almost
immediately followed by a concord. In the 20th century composers made greater
use of discords, merging them into further discords rather than resolving them
into concords, with the excerpt an example of discord.

Example:

Distortion 4 An electronic effect used in rock music to colour the sound of an electric guitar.

Example:
Dominant 7th H Chord built on the dominant (5th) note of a key which adds the 7th note above its
root. It is sometimes written as V7 or, in the key of C major, G7(GBDF).

A dominant 7th chord built onC.

Example:

Dotted rhythm 4 A long note followed by a shorter one or a short note followed by a longer one as
in a Scots snap often used in a Strathspey.

Example:

Drone 4
1. One note, held on or repeated in the bass. Often called a drone bass.
Sometimes there is more than one note.
2. The low-pitched pipes of a bagpipe which accompany a melody.

Example:

Drum fill 3 A rhythmic decoration played on a drum kit.

Example:

Drumkit 3 A set of drums and cymbals often used in rock music and pop music. See Rock
band, Pop group.

Example:

Electric guitar 3 A guitar which requires an electric amplifier to produce sound. See Pop and Rock.
Compare Acoustic guitar.

Example:

Exposition H The first section of a movement in Sonata form (Exposition - Development -


Recapitulation) or the first section of a Fugue where each voice has played or
sung at least one entry of subject or answer.

Example:
Faster 3 The speed increases. Compare with Slower.

Example:

Fiddle 3 Another name for the violin, used in Scottish folk music. For more details visit
Scottish Music.

Example:

Flutter 5 A method of tonguing in which the player rolls the letter r. It is used by wind
tonguing players and is particularly effective for flute and brass.

Example:

Folk Group 3 A group of two or more musicians who perform music in a traditional style, usually
accompanied by guitars.

Example:

Forte 3 Forte means loud.

Example:

Fortissimo 5 This means very loud.

Example:

Gaelic Psalms 5 Psalms which were sung unaccompanied, heard mostly in the Western Isles of
Scotland.

Example:

Glissando 5 Sliding from one note to another, taking in all the notes in between where
possible.

Example:

Gospel 5 Music written with religious lyrics, often in praise or thanksgiving to God.

Example:

Grace note 5 A type of ornament played as a quick note before the main note of a melody.
Sometimes there may be a group of grace notes at the start of a phrase and this
is particularly evident in bagpipe playing.

Example:

Ground bass 5 A theme in the bass which is repeated many times while the upper parts are
varied.

Example:
Harmonic H Scale which shares the same key signature as its relative major but raises the 7th
minor note by a semitone.
This is a scale of C harmonic minor.

Example:

Harmonics H The high eerie sounds produced on a bowed string instrument by lightly touching
the string at certain points. On a guitar these will sound bell-like.

Example:

Harmony 3 The sound of two or more notes made at the same time. See Chord.

Example:

Homophony 5 Texture where you hear melody with accompaniment or where all the parts move
together rhythmically. See Harmony (above) and Polyphony.

Example:

Imitation 4 Where the melody is immediately copied higher or lower in another part. It need
not be an exact copy.

Example:

Imperfect 5
cadence A cadence consists of two chords at the end of a phrase. In an imperfect cadence
the second chord is the dominant V creating an unfinished effect. In the key of C
the second chord of an imperfect cadence would be the chord of G. See Perfect
cadence.

Example:

Impressionist H A term borrowed from painting in which brief musical ideas merge and change to
create a rather blurred and vague outline. Debussy was an important composer of
this style. (Extended definition - Texture and timbral exploration were also
important features, including use of whole tone and pentatonic scales, parallel
chords and unresolved discords.)

Example:

Improvisation 3 The performer creates music during the actual performance. There may be
suggested chords as a guide. Improvisation is an important feature of jazz and
popular music. See Jazz in the second section on this page, Pop. (Extended
definition - It can also be an important part of the process of composing, where
musical material is tried out before being fixed in the final composition.)
Example:

Indian 5 Music from India which uses instruments such as the sitar and tabla.

Example:

Interrupted H A cadence is formed by two chords at the end of a phrase. An interrupted


cadence cadence is usually formed by the chords V–VI. (In the key of C major, chords G
to A minor.) This is known also as the surprise cadence as the listener may be
expecting V–I which has a more final sound.
See Plagal cadence, Perfect cadence and Imperfect
cadence.

Example:

Interval H The distance in pitch between two notes, e.g. C - F is a 4th.

Example:

Inverted pedal 5 A pedal point which sounds in an upper part instead of in the bass. See Pedal.

Example:

Irregular H Often in modern or rhythmically based ethnic music, groupings of notes change,
metres but the underlying pulse remains constant. Groupings of two and three produce
irregular accents and metres. (Extended definition – Sometimes composers in the
20th century try to destroy the feeling of a regular down beat by changing the
time signature frequently. Stravinsky often used this technique, particularly in
‘The Rite of Spring’.

Example:

Jazz 3 At first this was music created by black Americans in the early 20th century. See
Jazz group below. (Extended definition - See Blues , Ragtime, Swing, Scat
singing, Dixieland, Boogie woogie, Walking bass, Syncopation, Improvisation, [in
the section above], Rubato.)

Example:

Jazz funk H A combination of jazz improvisation and the amplified instruments and character
of Rock.

Example:

Jazz group 3 A group which performs jazz. Instruments could include drumkit, bass, piano,
saxophone and trumpet. See Jazz. (Extended definition – Improvisation is a very
important feature of a jazz group.)

Example:

Jig 4 A fast dance in compound time usually with two or four beats in a bar.

Example:

Keyboard 3 Instrument whose sounds are made by pressing down keys, e.g. piano,
electronic keyboard and synthesiser.

Example:
Latin American 3 Dance music from South America. Percussion instruments provide lively off-beat
dance rhythms. Latin percussion ensemble A set of percussion instruments
playing music from Latin America, especially Brazil and Cuba. Rhythm is the most
important element

Example:

Latin 3 A set of percussion instruments playing music from Latin America, especially
percussion Brazil and Cuba. Rhythm is the most important element.
ensemble
Example:

Lead vocals 3 The main singers in a group. See Backing vocals.

Example:

Leaping 3 Moving between notes which are not next to each other.

Example:

Legato 3 The notes are played or sung smoothly. Compare Staccato.

Example:

Lied H This term (the German word for song) refers specifically in the Romantic era to
works for solo voice and piano. The text is in German, the structure of the verses
is strophic and through composed. An important feature is that the voice and
piano are equally important. See Strophic, Through composed, Romantic.

Example:

Louder 3 The sound level is increased. Compare Softer.

Example:
Major scale 4
A row of notes built on an order of tones and semitones (e.g. C D E F G A B C).

Example:

Major 4 The music sounds in a major key. Compare with Minor below.

Example:

March 3 Music with a strong steady pulse with two or four beats in a bar.

Example:

Mass H In the Renaissance era the Mass was a sacred choral work using the five main
sections of the Roman Catholic church liturgy. Features of the Mass include Latin
text and polyphonic texture, and it is usually sung a cappella. Originally used in
church worship, but in later years became a large-scale work for chorus, soloists
and orchestra. See Anthem , Motet below, Polyphony, A cappella.

Example:

Melismatic 5
Several notes sung to one syllable. Compare Syllabic.

Example:

Melodic minor H Scale which shares the same key signature as its Relative major but raises the 6th
and 7th notes by a semitone ascending, and similarly lowers them descending.

Example:

Mezzo Forte 4 Fairly loud volume

Example:

Mezzo Piano 4 Fairly quiet volume

Example:

Mezzo soprano 5 A female singer whose voice range lies between that of a soprano and an alto.
See Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass.

Example:

Middle eight 4 In popular music, a section which provides a contrast to the opening section. It is
often eight bars long.
Example:

Minimalist 5 A development in the second half of the 20th century based on simple rhythmic
and melodic figures which are constantly repeated with very slight changes each
time.

Example:

4
Minor The music sounds in a minor key. See Major above.

Example:

Example: 4 A stepwise series of notes built on an order of tones and semitones (e.g. C D Eb F
G Ab B C). See Major scale and Chromatic scale.
Below is the harmonic minor scale. Compare it with the Melodic minor above.

Example:

Modal H Term used to describe music based on a mode, a type of early scale used before
major and minor keys were developed. Modes are used in jazz and pop music for
improvising.

Example:

Mode H Usually refers to any of the early scales called modes, e.g. Dorian mode. It can
also be used more generally as a reference to major mode (in a major key) or
minor mode (in a minor key). See Modal above.

Example:

Moderato 5 Medium speed.

Example:

Modulation 5 A change of key.

Example:

Modulation to H A change from minor to major key with the same key signature found three
relative major semitones higher, e.g. A minor to C major.

Example:

Modulation to H A change from major to minor key with the same key signature found three
relative minor semitones lower, e.g. C major to A minor.

Example:
Mordent H
An ornament which sounds the main note, the note above and then the main note
again. An inverted mordent sounds the main note, the note below and then the
main note again. The example is of a lower mordent.

Lower mordent............................................ Upper mordent

Example:

Mouth music 4 Gaelic nonsense words sung in imitation of the sound of bagpipes as an
accompaniment to dancing. This was necessary after the 1745 rebellion when
bagpipes were banned.

Example:

Musical 3 A musical play which has speaking, singing and dancing and is performed on a
stage. In recent years the musical has seen a revival and may now deal with very
dramatic stories and contain no dialogue.

Example:

Music Concrete H Recorded natural sounds which are transformed using simple editing techniques
such as cutting and re-assembling, playing backwards, slowing down and
speeding up.

Example:

Muted 4 Using a device which reduces the volume or alters the sound of an instrument.
Con sordino means with mute.

Example:
Obbligato H A prominent solo instrument part in a piece of vocal music.

Example:

Octave 4 The distance between a note and the nearest note with the same name, e.g. C to
C'. Listen to this excerpt and notice the octave intervals in the bass part of the
excerpt.

Example:

Off the beat 3 The main accents are against the beat. See 'On the beat' below.

Example:

On the beat 3 The main accents fall on the beat. Compare 'Off the beat'.

Example:

Opera 4 A drama set to music with soloists, chorus, acting, and orchestral accompaniment.
It is normally performed in a theatre.

Example:

Oratorio H Usually a story from the Bible set to music for soloists, chorus and orchestra. It
may include recitatives, arias, duets and chorus. It is performed without acting or
stage design.

Example:

Orchestra 3 There are four main sections to an orchestra: strings, woodwind, brass and
percussion. Strings include 1st and 2nd violins, violas, cellos and double basses.
Woodwind comprises flutes (including piccolo), oboes, cor anglais, clarinets,
bassoons, bass clarinets, double bassoons. Brass includes French horns, trumpets,
trombones and tubas. Percussion instruments include timpani (kettle drums) and
other instruments which are hit or struck, e.g. snare drum, bass drum and
xylophone. Other instruments, such as the harp, are sometimes included in the
orchestra.

Example:

Organ 3 A keyboard instrument usually found in churches. It usually has more than one
keyboard.

Example:

Ornament 4 An ornament decorates a melody by adding extra notes. Ornaments are often
short and add melodic and rhythmic interest.

Example:

Ostinato 3 A short musical pattern repeated many times. Visit: Repetition, Riff.

Example:
Pan pipes 4 Pipes which are graded in size and are bound together. The sound is made by
blowing across the top of the pipes. One of the oldest wind instruments from
South America.

Example:

Passing note 5
A note which moves between two notes of the same chord which are a 3rd apart.
Passing notes are in the melody part between harmony notes on the beat.

Example:

Pause 3 The musical flow is held up by a long note or silence.

Example:

Pedal 4 Short for pedal point. A note which is held on or is repeated continuously in the
bass beneath changing harmonies. Very often the note held on will be the tonic
(tonic pedal) or the dominant (dominant pedal). See Inverted pedal.

Example:

Pentatonic 4
scale Any five-note scale. In practice, the most common one is that on which much folk
music is based, particularly Scottish and Celtic. Auld Lang Syne is composed using
this pentatonic scale. The five notes could be C D E G A.

Example:

Percussion 3 Instruments which are hit, shaken or scraped. Pitched percussion can produce
different notes, e.g. glockenspiel and xylophone. Unpitched percussion has no
fixed pitch, e.g. cymbals and side drum.

Example:

Perfect 5 A cadence consists of two chords at the end of a phrase. A perfect cadence is the
cadence dominant to tonic chords (V-I). In the key of C major, chords G-C.

Example:

Pianissimo 5 Pianissimo is an indication that the music should be played very softly.

Example:
Piano 3 Quiet volume, abbreviated to 'p'.
(dynamic)
Example:

Piano 3 A keyboard instrument which produces sounds by hammers hitting strings.

Example:

Pibroch 5 The classical music of the highland bagpipe, always in theme and variation form.

Example:

Pipe band 3 A band made up of bagpipes and drums.

Example:

Pitch bend 5 Changing the pitch of a note, for example by pushing a guitar string upwards.

Example:

Pizzicato 5 Abbreviation pizz. An instruction given to string players to pluck the strings
instead of using the bow. See Col legno, Arco.

Example:

Plagal cadence H Plagal cadence – A cadence is formed by two chords at the end of a phrase. A
plagal cadence is the subdominant to tonic chords ( IV–I ). In the key of C major,
chords F to C.

See Interrupted cadence, Perfect cadence and Imperfect cadence.

Example:

Plainchant H Also known as Plainsong and Gregorian chant. Unaccompanied melody set to
words of the Roman Catholic liturgy, such as the Mass. Plainchants are modal and
have no regular metre. They follow the rhythm of the Latin words.

Example:

Plucking 3 Sound made when you pluck the strings of a stringed instrument with a finger or
fingers. Compare Bowing.

Example:

Polyphony 5 Texture which consists of two or more melodic lines, possibly of equal importance
and which weave independently of each other.

Example:

Pop 3 A style of popular music played by a group of musicians. See Pop group below,
Rock band.
Example:

Pop group 3 A group of musicians who play or sing in the popular style of the day. The group
usually consists of guitars, drum kit, keyboards and vocals. See Rock band

Example:

Pulse 3 The basic beat in music. The pulse may be in groups of two, three or four with a
stress on the first in each group.

Example:

Question 3 An opening phrase. It may be followed by an answer. The excerpt is a question


followed by an answer. See Answer.

Example:
Ragtime 4 A style of dance music which became popular at the end of the 19th century and
which helped to influence jazz. It features a strongly syncopated melody against a
steady vamped accompaniment often played on piano, e.g. Scott Joplin rags. See
Vamp.

Example:

Rallentando 4 The music gradually slows down. Compare Accelerando.

Example:

Rapping 4 Rhyming lyrics that are spoken and performed in time to a beat. Rapping is
popular in hip-hop music.

Example:

Recitative H A type of vocal writing where the music follows the rhythm of speech. It is used in
operas and oratorios to move the story or plot on.

Example:

Recorder 4 There are four main types of recorder: descant, treble, tenor and bass.

Example:

Reel 3 A Scottish dance in simple time with two or four beats in a bar, and which is
played quite fast. Each beat divides equally into groups of two.

Example:

Reggae 4 Reggae music was developed in the late 1960s in Jamaica. It has quite a
distinctive sound and has the characteristic of strong accents on the 2nd and 4th
beats of the bar.

Example:

Relative major H A change from minor to major key with the same key signature found three
semitones higher, e.g. D minor to F major. See Modulation.

Example:

Relative minor H A change from major to minor key with the same key signature found three
semitones lower, e.g. C major to A minor. See Modulation.

Example:

Repetition 3 A musical idea is heard more than once. See Ostinato, Riff.

Example:

Reverb 5 An electronic effect which can give the impression of different hall acoustics, e.g.
as if the performance is in a cathedral.

Example:

Riff 3 A repeated phrase usually found in jazz and popular music. See Repetition above,
Ostinato.
Example:
Ripieno H In Baroque music, especially Concerto grosso, the term means the main group of
instrumentalists as opposed to the small/solo group which was known as the
Concertino.

Example:

Ritardando 5 The music slows down.

Example:

Ritornello H Little return. A 17th-century term for a brief introduction or interlude in a vocal
composition, or for a brief instrumental passage between scenes in a 17th-century
opera. In a Concerto grosso, the ritornello is the main theme played by the
Ripieno group (the orchestra) and sometimes by Concertino (the soloists). The
ritornello may return frequently throughout the movement, similar to a Rondo.

Example:

Rock 3 A style of popular music with a heavy driving beat. See Pop group.

Example:

Rock band 3 A group playing a type of pop music with a heavy driving beat. See Pop group.

Example:

Rock n roll 3 1950s American music which grew from the combined styles of jazz, blues, gospel
and country.

Example:

Rolls 5 A very fast repetition of a note on a percussion instrument, eg on a snare drum or


timpani.

Example:

Romantic 4 In music, the period 1810-1900 approximately, which followed the Classical era.

Example:

Rondo 5 A B A C A. A form where the first section (A) comes back between contrasting
sections. Listen to A and part of B from a Mozart horn concerto. For more detailed
information visit Classical forms.

Example:

Round 3 Each part sings or plays the same melody, entering one after the other. When
they reach the end they start again, e.g. 'Three blind mice'.

Example:

Rubato 5 A direction to the performer which allows freedom to change speed, thus allowing
more expression.

Example:
Scat singing 4 Nonsense words, syllables and sounds are improvised (made up) by the singer.
Sometimes the singer is imitating the sounds of instruments. Used mainly in jazz
singing.

Example:

Scotch snap 4 A very short accented note before a longer note. See Strathspey.

Example:

Scots ballad 4 A slow Scottish song which tells a story.

Example:

Scottish 3 Music which represents the various elements of Scottish music. See Scotch snap,
Strathspey, Reel.

Example:

Scottish dance 3 A band which plays music for people to dance to. The instruments may include
band fiddle, accordion, piano and drums. See Folk instruments.

Example:

Scottish 3 See Folk Instruments.


instruments
Example:

Section 3 Part of the music, e.g. the music could be in two sections, section A and section B.
Listen to the sections of a piece of music in binary form.

Example:

Semitone 5
Half a tone, e.g. G to Ab on a keyboard. From one fret to another on a guitar. See
Tone. Below is the chromatic scale in which every interval is a semitone.

Example:

Sequence 3
A melodic phrase which is immediately repeated at a higher or lower pitch.

Example:

Sforzando 5 A note played with a forced sudden accent.

Example:
Simple time 4 Music has two, three or four beats in each bar. Each beat is usually one crotchet.
The first beat of each bar is accented. See Accented, Beat, Waltz, Reel,
Strathspey.

Example:

Simple time 4 The beat is not dotted and can be subdivided into multiples of two (e.g. 4/4 = four
groupings crotchet beats in a bar and each beat can be divided into two quavers). Compare
with Compound time.

Example:

Sitar 5 A plucked, stringed instrument from India. In addition to melody strings, it has a
drone and strings which vibrate in sympathy with each other.

Example:

Slower 3 The speed decreases. Compare Faster.

Example:

Softer 3 The sound level decreases. Compare Louder.

Example:

Solo 3 One instrument or voice. (Extended definition - A prominent instrument or voice


can be solo even when part of a larger ensemble.)

Example:

Sonata H A work for solo piano, or a solo instrument accompanied by piano, in three or four
movements.

Example:

Sonata form H Sometimes known as first movement form. This term is used to describe the
structure of the first movement of many sonatas, symphonies and often overtures.
It falls into three sections: exposition, development and recapitulation. The
exposition introduces two contrasting themes in related keys. These are
developed and heard again in the recapitulation, this time in the same key. For a
full explanation visit Classical forms.

Example:

Soprano 4 The highest range of female voice. See Mezzo soprano, Alto, Tenor,Bass.
(voice)
Example:

Soul H A style of Afro-American popular music including elements of blues and gospel and
conveying strong emotions. See Blues.

Example:

Spanish music 5 Folk music of Spain

Example:

Staccato 3 The notes are short and detached. Compare Legato.


Example:

Steel band 3 A West Indian band whose instruments are made out of oil drums called pans. The
top of each drum is hammered into panels to make different pitches.

Example:
Stepwise 3 Moving up or down between notes which are next to each other. Compare Leaping.

Example:

Strathspey 4 A Scottish dance with four beats in a bar and usually featuring the Scotch snap.

Example:

Striking 3 The sound is produced by hitting the instrument.

Example:

String 4 Types of instruments whose sounds are produced by making the strings vibrate.
instruments See Orchestra. Other string instruments include guitar, harp, banjo, mandolin and
lute.

Example:

Strings 3 The family of instruments which has strings. The sound is produced by dragging a
bow across the strings or by plucking them with the fingers.

Example:

Strophic 5 A vocal/choral composition in which each verse has the same music.

Example:

Strumming 3 A finger, fingers or plectrum are drawn across the strings of an instrument, usually
guitar.

Example:

Subject H The main theme in a composition, the main themes in sonata form, or the main
theme on which a fugue is based.

Example:

Swing 4 A jazz style which started in the 1930s. The numbers and types of instruments in
the big bands increased during this period, through the influence of swing.

Example:

Syllabic word 5 Vocal music where each syllable is given one note only. Compare melismatic.
setting

Example:

Symphony 5 A large work for orchestra usually in four movements. In the Classical period the
movements were normally fast, slow, minuet and trio, fast.

Example:

Syncopation 4 Strongly accented notes playing off or against the beat and occurs in all kinds of
music.
Example:
Tabla 5 Two Indian drums tuned to different pitches and often used to accompany the
sitar.

Example:

Tenor (voice) 4 A high adult male voice. See Soprano, Mezzo soprano, Alto, Baritone, Bass.

Example:

Ternary 4 A B A. - A form where the first section is always repeated at the end. It could
begin with a short introduction and end with a Coda.

Example:

Theme 4 A clear recognisable melody which is the main idea for a composition or
section of a composition. It can be the basis of a longer piece of music, e.g.
theme and variations.

Example:

Theme and 4 The theme is a melody, a tune which is the main idea for a composition. In
variations theme and variations, the theme may form a whole section of the composition.
The variations occur when the main theme or tune is altered perhaps by
adding extra notes, changing from major to minor or vice versa, changing
harmony, rhythm, time signature, or when the theme is played in the bass,
etc.

Example:

Three against two H


One line of music may be playing quavers in groups of two whilst at the same
time another line of music will be playing triplets. Other note values can be
similarly used. See Cross rhythms.

Example:

Through- H A vocal/choral composition in which there is little or no repetition of the music.


composed
Example:

Tierce de Picardie 5 The final chord of a piece of music in the minor key is changed to major.

Example:

Tonal 5 Based on a key. The tonality of a piece may be major or minor. Compare
Atonal.

Example:
Tone 5 An interval of two semitones making a major 2nd, e.g. G to A on a keyboard,
two frets on a guitar.

Example:

Trill 5 Trill - Rapid and repeated movement between two adjacent notes.

Example:

Triplets 5 Squeezing three notes into the space where there are normally two.

Example:

Unaccompanied 3 No other instrument(s) or voice(s) sound.

Example:

Unison 3 Two or more parts or voices sounding at the same pitch.

Example:

Vamp 4 A rhythmic accompaniment with a bass note played on the beat and a chord
off the beat. Usually played on piano or guitar.

Example:

Variation 4 When the main theme or tune is developed, perhaps by adding extra notes. It
may change from major to minor or vice versa, changing harmony, rhythm,
time signature, move the theme to the bass, etc. See Theme, Theme and
variations.

Example:

Verse and chorus 4 A structure/ form popular in many songs. The music of the verse will repeat,
often with different words, and between verses the chorus will normally repeat
and features different music to the verse.

Example:

Vocal 3 Sung.

Example:

Walking bass 5 A moving bass line with notes usually of the same value. It often moves by
step, but not always so.

Example:

Waltz 3 A dance with three beats in a bar in simple time.

Example:
Waulking song 5 A rhythmic song sung in Gaelic by the women in the Western Isles of Scotland
while they waulked woolen cloth to soften and shrink it. Sometimes the
singing is led by a soloist with a response from the rest of the women.

Example:

Whole-tone scale 5
A scale containing no semitones but built entirely on whole tones. Debussy
used the whole-tone scale in some of his pieces which were influenced by
Impressionism. See Impressionist

Example:

Wind band 4 A band with woodwind, brass and percussion instruments playing music
composed for the concert hall rather than for marching. See Military band.

Example:

Woodwind 3 Instruments which produce sounds by blowing across a hole, against an edge
or through a single or double reed, e.g. flute, clarinet and bassoon. They need
not be made of wood.

Example:
Literacy Content – National 3

Lines of the
treble clef

Spaces of
the treble
clef

Semibreve
Note worth 4 beats.
Dotted
Minim Note worth 3 beats.
Minim
Note worth 2 beats.
Crotchet

Note worth 1 beat.


Forte f Dynamic marking meaning loud
Piano p Dynamic marking meaning quiet
Crescendo
Gradually getting louder
Diminuendo
Gradually getting quieter.
Steps Moving from one note to notes beside each other.
Repetition Repeating a pattern of notes or rhythm.
Barlines Barlines are used to divide music into bars.
Double Double barlines are used at the end of a movement or piece.
barlines

L
Literacy Content – National 4

Treble Clef
C-A

Paired
Quavers Two half beat notes.
Quaver

This is a half beat note.


Semiquavers

A semiquaver is worth a quarter beat and so four are worth one beat.
Repeat Sign

Mezzo forte mf Dynamic marking meaning moderately loud


Mezzo piano mp Dynamic marking meaning moderately quiet
Sequences A pattern repeated higher or lower.
Literacy Content – National 5

C Major Key
Signature

This key signature has no sharps or flats.


G Major
Key
Signature This key signature has F#.
F Major
Key
Signature This key signature has Bb.
A Minor A minor has the same key signature as C Major but it would have G#
Key written in the piece.
Signature
C Major
Scale

G Major
Scale

F Major
Scale

A Minor
Scale

Chord of C
Major

Chord of G
Major

Chord of F
major
Chord of A
minor

Accidentals These are used to change the pitch of a note.


# This is the sharp sign and raises the pitch of the note by a semitone.
b This is a flat sign and lowers the pitch of a note by a semitone.
This is a natural sign and returns a note to its original pitch.
Semitone The smallest interval in Western music. Moving from one note to the note directly
beside it. I.e. F to F#
Tone Two semitones. i.e. F to G
Dotted
crotchet
This note is worth 11/2 beats.
Dotted
quaver, semi
This is a common dotted rhythm and is worth one beat.
quaver
Scotch snap

This is commonly used in Strathspeys.


First and
Second time
bars

on the first playing if the section the player would play the first time bar before
repeating the section. On the repeat, the player would miss out the first time bar
and jump to the second time bar.
Fortissimo f Dynamic marking meaning very loud
Pianissimo pp Dynamic marking meaning very quiet
Sforzando Sfz Sudden accent on a note
Leaps Moving from one note to a note which is not close by.
Literacy Content – Higher

Bass Clef
E-C

Transposing
down an
octave to
bass clef

Chord I, IV,
V,VI in
Major and
Minor Keys
This example would be the chords for C Major.
Naming
intervals

2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th Octave


6/8 Note
groupings
Notes are grouped in dotted crotchet values.
Triplet

3 Notes played in the time of 2.


Semibreve
rest
This rest is worth 4 beats.
Minim Rest

This rest is worth 2 beats


Crotchet
rest
This rest is worth 1 beat
Quaver rest

This rest is worth ½ beat.


Da Capo

This would tell the player to go back to the start of the piece and
take the coda.
Slurs

Accents

Staccato
marks

A dot above or below a note.


Phrase
marks