Glossary

madrigal

A Renaissance choral piece, usually unaccompanied.

maggiore

The major mode.

major

“Greater.” A term used in music theory to describe intervals, chords and scales.

major chord

A triad composed of a root, a major third, and a fifth.

major Scale

A diatonic scale in which the half steps fall between the third and fourth, and the seventh and eighth degrees.

Mannheim school

A Preclassical group of German symphonic composers whose style including extended crescendo (called steamrollers) and melodies that arpeggiated upward, (called rockets).

march

Music for marching, such as in a parade or procession, in duple or quadruple time.

Mass

The musical setting of the Roman Catholic Church service, usually the Ordinary, but sometimes also the Proper.

meter signature

See time signature.

Mixolydian

A medieval mode starting on the fifth degree of the diatonic scale with half steps between the third and fourth and sixth and seventh degrees.

mode

A type of scale with a specific arrangement of intervals.

Pertaining to modes.

modern

Music written in the 20th century or contemporary music.

Moderato

Perform at a moderate speed

modulation

To change keys; the transition from one tonic center to another within a piece.

monody

A solo or unison song with accompaniment.

monothematic

Music based upon a single theme.

monophony

Music written in a single melodic line, as opposed to polyphony.

morceau

“Morsel.” A musical work or composition.

mordent

An ornament consisting of an alternation (once or twice) of the written note by playing the one immediately below it (lower mordent), or above it (upper, or inverted, mordent) and then playing the note again.

motet

A choral composition, generally on a sacred text.

motif

A short melodic pattern or musical idea that runs throughout a piece.

movement

A self-contained section of a composition, such as a sonata, symphony, concerto, etc.

musicology

The study of musical composition and history.

music drama

Opera, especially that of Richard Wagner.

musique concrete

Music composed by manipulating recorded sounds—specifically “concrete,” real-world sounds (noises, nature sounds, etc.) rather than sounds that are generated electronically.