Literature | Painting | Music | Architecture

History of Music and Dance

anthem.  Choral church music.

aria.  Solo or separate piece in an opera.

Baroque.  Great operatic works, full orchestras performing concertos, sonatas and symphonies.  Monteverdi, Purcell, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel.

bebop.  Complex improvised jazz.

bhangra.  Punjabi music played using synthesizers and traditional percussion.

blues.  Melancholy music characterised by the slight flattening of some notes.

boogie-woogie.  Piano piece where the left hand plays a repeating rhythm.

broadway.  Musicals from the New York street of the same name.

cajun.  Lively style from French speaking Louisiana.  Usually played on the fiddle or accordion.

canon.  Repeated, overlapping tune.

chamber music.  Court music, usually played by string quartets.

Classical.  Symphonies.  Usually 3 movements (fast-slow-fast) or 4 movements (fast-slow-fast-fast).  Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven.

concerto.  Music that favours a single instrument.

country and western.  A style originally from the south-west of America that evolved from the blues and folk music.  Acoustic instruments are predominant especially steel guitars.  The songs have a strong narrative and moral theme.

folk.  Traditional music, usually associated with an area or people.

gospel.  Primarily black church music.

jazz.  A polyphonic and syncopated style marked by improvisation and solo virtuosos.  There have been and still are many styles of jazz such as: trad, swing, the big band sound and bebop.

madrigal.  Secular vocal composition.

minuet.  Originally a court dance, it evolved into a division of a symphony.

movement.  A division of a musical work.

musical.  Play or film interspersed with song and dance.

opera.  A musical drama.  The stories are enacted by costumed singers often with lavish costumes and scenery.

opera seria.  The mid 18th century revival of classical opera.

operetta.  Light opera often spoken lines as well as music.

oratorio.  Religious opera.

orchestra.  A group of instruments.

plainsong.  6th century single line vocal melody, still used in Roman Catholic ceremonies.

polyphony.  8th century music involving with two or more melodies.

punk.  Raucous, aggressive music, designed to shock.  At its height in the 70s.

rap.  Any music where the words are spoken rather than sung.

reggae.  Traditionally West Indian, played on the offbeat with a heavy bass line and Rastafarian themes.

requiem.  A mass for the dead.

rock and roll.  The forerunner of most modern popular music.  A development of rhythm and blues and country and western.  Traditionally a four or five piece band of drums, bass and lead guitar and lead singer.

Romantic (1800-1900).  Symphonies and concertos, height of the piano virtuoso.  Early Romantic: Beethoven, Paganini, Schubert, Mendelssohn. High Romantic: Liszt, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Grieg.

sonata.  Solo composition for piano or other instrument with piano accompaniment.

soul.  Emotive rhythm and blues with the emphasis on harmonies, often more than one singer and an orchestral backing band.

suite.  A number of movements.

swing.  Brass and reed virtuosos over a strong back beat.

symphony.  Major instrumental work usually with four movements.  A development of the sonata.

print Print this page