Glossary

D

The key of D.

deceptive cadence

A cadence with a progression where the dominant chord (V) resolves into a chord other than the tonic (I). Especially the progression V-vi.

degree

A note of a scale, identified by number.

descant

  1. Soprano or tenor voice.
  2. A melodic line or counterpoint accompanying an existing melody.
  3. The upper part of a polyphonic composition.

descriptive music

Program music.

development

The elaboration of melodic, thematic, harmonic or rhythmic material.

diatonic

The notes indigenous to a key in a major or minor scale.

Dies Irae

“Day of Wrath.” The sequence for the Requiem Mass.

diminished

Lowered, or reduced.

diminished seventh chord

A chord made up of a root, a minor third, a diminished fifth, and a diminished seventh.

diminished triad

A triad which contains a root, a minor third, and a diminished fifth.

diminution

Shortening the duration of note values in a theme.

dirge

A piece that is performed at a funeral or memorial service.

dissonance

Notes that conflict, or sound outside of a chord in which they occur. Such notes usually fall outside of the overtones which are being generated by the note or chord that is sounding.

divertimento

An entertaining instrumental piece of short movements.

dodecaphonic

Twelve-tone music.

dominant

The fifth degree of the diatonic major or minor scale.

Dorian

A medieval mode whose half- and whole-step pattern is that of playing D to D on the white keys of a piano.

double concerto

A concerto for two solo instruments and ensemble.

double counterpoint

Invertible Counterpoint.

double flat

An accidental that lowers the note it precedes by one whole step.

double fugue

A fugue with two themes that occur at the same time.

double sharp

An accidental that raises the note it precedes by one whole step.

dramatic soprano

A female singer with a slightly lower range than a lyric soprano.

dramatic tenor

A male singer with a slightly lower range than a lyric tenor.

dynamics

The degrees of loudness or softness in a musical work, and their symbols.