MUS 007/MCS 009 Vocab List 1 – Music Terms and Instruments.
Tempo: The speed of a piece of music.
Meter: The cyclical repetition of important beats in a piece of music (the “time
Rhythm: The relative length of notes and silences.
Note: The nomenclature typically assigned to a note (eg. A, Bb, C, etc…).
Pitch: The “highness” or “lowness” of a note.
Melody: The linear arrangement of notes in order to form a recognizable entity.
Harmony: The vertical arrangement of notes (chords).
Dynamics: The loudness of a sound.
Tone Color: Also called “timbre”; the unique texture attributed to a single instrument’s
Consonance: A stable harmony (at rest).
Dissonance: An unstable harmony (unrest).
Orchestration: The selection of instruments, based on their tone color.
Texture: The thickness of orchestration.
Counterpoint: The simultaneous presentation of two or more musical ideas.
Style: The specific usage of musical elements in order to suggest a particular composer,
genre, or time period.
Pizzicato: A string instrument technique in which the strings are plucked, not bowed.
Drone: A note or chord sustained for a long period of time.
Leitmotif: A recurring theme associated with a character, place, or idea that can be altered
in subsequent appearances.
Ostinato: A motif or phrase frequently repeated (rhythmic or melodic)
Melodic Contour: The shape or direction of a linear musical entity.
Mickey-mousing: A technique that synchronizes the music and on screen action.
Temp-track: A temporary, pre-existent piece of music used during the editing process.
Diegetic: A sound that is part of the narrative sphere.
Non-diegetic: Dramatic sound that is not part of the narrative sphere.
Oboe (English horn)
Clarinet (bass clarinet)
Trombone (bass trombone)
Analog, digital, MIDI, etc…