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GCSE Music - Keywords

Updated on April 14, 2012

A list of GCSE Music Keywords split into the following 6 categories:
- Rhythm, Metre and Tempo.
- Tonality.
- Structure.
- Harmony.
- Melody.
- Dynamics.

Keywords
Definition
Category
Syncopation
A rhythm created by putting accents in parts of the bar that are not normally emphasized.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Chromatic
Music in which the notes that are used are not in the key of the piece.
Tonality
Mixolydian Mode
A scale that uses the following pattern of tones (T being tones and S being semitones): TTSTTST
Structure
Trill
Rapidly alternating between 2 notes.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Pizzicato
A technique in which a stringed instrument is plucked creating a light staccato sound.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Pedal
A single sustained note (usually in bass)
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Imitation
The repetition of a phrase or melody that often varies in key, rhythm, and voice.
Melody
Triplet
A group of three notes that have the same time value.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Largo
A very slow tempo.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Allegro
A quick/brisk tempo.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Rit/Ritenuto
Music suddenly slowing or being held back momentarily.
Dynamics
Crescendo
A gradual increase of volume in a passage.
Dynamics
Diminuendo
A gradual decrease of volume in a passage.
Dynamics
Staccato
Short detached notes.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Cadence
The conclusion of a phrase, section or piece of music.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Perfect Cadence
A cadence in which the chord of the dominant comes immediately before the chord of the tonic.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Plagal Cadence
A cadence in which the chord of the subdominant comes immediately before the chord of the tonic.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
Dominant
The fifth tone of a diatonic scale.
Tonality
Subdominant
The fourth tone of a diatonic scale
Tonality
Tonic
The first note of a diatonic scale
Tonality
Monophonic
A piece of music with a single melodic line.
Texture
Homophonic
Similar to Monophonic but is a piece of music with a single melodic line and an accompaniment.
Texture
Polyphonic/Contrapuntal
A piece that has two or more independent, but harmonic, melodic parts playing together.
Texture
Ternary Form
The structure of a piece of music that consists of 2 contrasting sections followed by a repetition of the first (ABA).
Structure
Binary Form
The structure of a piece of music consisting of two sections, each being played twice
Structure
Atonal
A piece of music with no key.
Tonality
Virtuosic
Music with a high degree of technical difficulty .
Dynamics
Blue Note
A scale in which the 7th note is flattened. Usually used in jazz or blues music.
Tonality
Dissonance
A combination of tones that sound harsh and create tension and and unresolved feeling.
Tonality
Disjunct
2 notes in a piece of music in which the interval between is longer than a second.
Melody
Modulation
Where the key or tonality changes to another.
Tonality
Mellisma
Where several notes are sung in 1 syllable.
Melody
Acciaccatura
A note that is performed as quickly as possible before an essential note of a melody, it falls before the beat.
Melody

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    • profile image

      henry 

      16 months ago

      exam next week, thank you for this!!

    • profile image

      yuthika 

      18 months ago

      your an absolute gem for doing this! thank you so much!

    • profile image

      someone who dosent know u 

      3 years ago

      thanks XD

    • Anthropophobia profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthropophobia 

      5 years ago

      No problem :D

    • profile image

      james 

      5 years ago

      you legend! thanks so much for this! really helps me with my exams

    • Anthropophobia profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthropophobia 

      6 years ago

      Hahah, thank you? :L

    • profile image

      Anonymous (well more or less) 

      6 years ago

      Oh yes she certainly is :)

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 

      6 years ago from London

      Isn't she just the best? :D

    • Anthropophobia profile imageAUTHOR

      Anthropophobia 

      6 years ago

      You're welcome, glad they were useful! :)

      Congrats on the exam!

    • profile image

      Anonymous (well more or less) 

      6 years ago

      Well...you deserve thanks! thanks to your helpful pages, I have a hope of passing the exam we did today, so thankyou very much :)

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 

      6 years ago from London

      Whoo ;D this hub is the first search result for "GCSE music keywords" - Keep it up! :)

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