Bass Guitar Lessons Online

Looking for Free Bass Instructions?
We Can Help You Get Started on the Instrument.

Remember to Sign Up For Our Free Newsletter...

Music Terminology for Beginners

There is so much music terminology for piano players that even experienced players come across new terms on piano music. Some of the words used are more common, though. A few of these are listed for you.

Accelerando - getting faster as the section of the piece marked goes on.

Adagio - played very slowly

Allegro - played at a fast tempo and with a cheerful mood

Andante - played moderately slowly

A tempo - go back to the original tempo

Beat - the basic unit of time in music, it is a regular tap of the foot, for example

Chord - when you play three or more notes together all at once

Coda - an ending that is different that previous verses in the musical piece

Crescendo - getting louder and louder through a marked passage

Diminuendo - getting softer and softer through a marked passage

Dolce - sweetly

Ensemble - a musical group, it could be anything from a band to a classical group

Forte - means to play the piece loudly, forcefully

Fortissimo - play the piece very loudly

Genre - the category of music (or any other artwork), rock and blues are examples

Glissando - playing down the keyboard rapidly, usually by sliding thumb down the keys

Interval - the distance between two musical tones

Largo - very slow and broad

Mezzo forte - play the piece somewhat loudly

Mezzo piano - play the piece somewhat softly

Phrase - a unit of music, denoted by a curved line under or over notes phrased together

Pianissimo - play the piece very softly

Piano - play the piece softly

Presto - play extremely fast

Semitone - also known as a half step

Staccato - play notes quickly, crisply, and detached from each other

Tempo - the rate of speed of the musical piece; it can vary during songs when marked

Variations - when you play a basic tune and then play different versions of it that retain the same basic melody.

These are the most common music words used by pianists, along with the words that have already been used in these lessons. Keys, key signatures, time signatures, notes, whole notes, quarter notes, and so on; improvisation, etc. There are always more words to add to your musical vocabulary.

Some of the words above are written out above or between the staffs. Some are noted by using a mark of some sort. There are many markings to learn, but some of them are easy. This is because the word is often written out along with the marking. For example, a crescendo marking starts as a point on the left and opens up wider to the right. Sometimes, the word crescendo will also be written somewhere either in the marking or under it to help you. Some markings you will have just have to learn.

Staccato music is marked by dots under the notes you are to play short and crisp. When you learn all of this musical terminology, do not sit back and ignore the rest of the words and markings you find. Keep learning and you will never get bored. There is always more to know.

Besides looking at sheet music and songbooks that are already printed, there is another way to buy music in a music store now. Many stores have a special computer set aside for making copies of music. You choose the song you want from a list. If you only know a few words, you may still be able to find the song if the search tools are good enough.

After you have selected your song, you get the opportunity to look at the music. You can look at the music from beginning to end, but you cannot copy it until you agree to buy it. The artists are protected in this way because the store pays the royalties from your payment when you buy the copies. You should expect the copies to be high quality, and on good paper.

You can also get sheet music online. When you buy online, you usually do not get as good of a look at the music you are about to buy. You are more likely to get a small sample to give you an idea of what the music is like.

The online companies do not like to show too much because it is too easy for people to steal work that is printed on the internet. They will send you your choices by mail or by download as soon as you pay.

No matter how you get your music, be sure that you get the music you like and you will be able to play in the near future. There is no need to stockpile music for that someday when you will suddenly be playing like a pro. Instead, get songbooks and sheet music that you are ready to use right away.