Musical Definitions

My daughter, a band director, passed these along to me. Hope you enjoy them!


A PATELLA — Accompanied by knee-slapping

ACCIDENTALS — Wrong notes

AUGMENTED FIFTH — A 36-ounce bottle

COUNTERPOINT — Type of Baroque punishment

CUT TIME — When you’re going twice as fast as everybody else

DETACH? — An indication that the trombones are to play with their slides removed

ENGLISH HORN — Woodwind that got its name because it’s neither English nor a horn (not to be confused with French Horn, which is German)

FLUTE FLIES — Tiny insects that bother transverse flute players at outdoor gigs

GREGORIAN CHANT — Singing in unison, invented by monks to hide snoring

INTONATION — Singing through one’s nose; considered highly desirable in singing medieval music

METRONOME — Short person who lives in the city

PIZZICATO — A small Italian pie garnished with cheese, anchovies, etc.

SPRITZICATO — Indication to krummhorn players to produce a bright and bubbly sound

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