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Classical musical terms



g the fifth degree of the c major scale
g clef a clef that indicates which line represents g on a staff, as opposed to a c clef, or an f clef
gabelgriff  cross fingering
gagaku Japanese instrument
gaitilla Spanish nasal sounding organ stop
galant term used to describe the formal, courtly style of music prevalent in the 18th century
galeron ballad in isosyllabic quatrains, popular on the Colombian llanos
gallant light elegant, rococo style
galliard dance typical of the 16th century
galop a fast 19th-century ballroom dance in 2/4 time, used frequently by the Strauss family
gamba is in English used colloquially to designate the viola da gamba or leg-viol, the bowed string instrument popular from the 16th until the middle of the 18th century and held downwards, in a way similar to that used for the modern cello, as opposed to the viola da braccio or arm-viol, the instrument of the violin family, held on the arm or shoulder.
gambang Indonesian instrument made of sound bars resting on a resonating trough
gamelan an Indonesian instrumental ensemble, featuring gongs, drums, wind, and string instruments
gamme musical scale
gamut scale or range
ganz entire
ganze note whole note, whole rest
ganzschluss complete cadence
ganztenleiter whole tone scale
ganzton whole tone
gapped scale scale with intervals greater than a whole step. the pentatonic scale is a gapped subset of the diatonic. many oriental scales also have gaps
garbato graceful
gassenhauer popular or street song
gathering note the tone sounded before singing to give the singers their pitch
gato Argentine rural dance, characterized by lively movements and hemiola
gauche left
gaudioso praiseful, joyful
gavotte an old dance of French origin in 4/4 time, beginning on the third beat of the bar. It began as a folk dance but was soon performed at court functions.
gebrauchsmusik utility music, for amateurs
gebrochener akkord broken chord
gebundener stil strict contrapuntal style
gebunen legato
gedackt stopped
gedampft  damped
gedehnt  prolonged in time
gefahrte the answer of a fugue subject
gefuhl expression
gefuhlvoll with feeling
gegenbewegung contrary motion; also, inversion of a theme
gegenfuge counter fugue
gegensatz  contrast
gegenthema counter theme
gehalten held, sustained
gehend andante
geige violin
geisslerlieder processional songs of 14th century
geistlich spiritual
gekkin Japanese guitar
gekoppelt  coupled
gelassen placid
gelaufigkeit technical ease, competence.
gemachlich comfortable, leisurely
gemassigt moderate
gemeindeleid  congregational hymn
gemendo moaning, lamenting
gemessen restrained
gemischte stimmen mixed voices
generalbass  thoroughbass
generalpause a rest for the entire orchestra, usually a surprise after a dramatic part
generalprobe dress rehearsal
German dance describes generally the triple meter dances of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, found in the landler and the waltz. there are examples of this dance in the work of Beethoven and of Schubert
German flute transverse flute, as distinct from recorder
German sixth chord an augmented sixth chord, which contains a flat third from the tonic
gesamtausgabe complete edition
gesang song
gesangbuch song book
gesangvoll  cantabile
geschick skill, technical mastery
geschleift legato
geschwind nimble
gesellschaftslied song belonging to the middle classes, as distinct from court song or folksong
gesteigert increased
gestopfgt stopped
gestossen detached
geteilt divided
getragen slow
ghironda hurdy gurdy
giacoso instruction to a musician to play in a merry, lighthearted manner
giga jig
gigelira xylophone
gigue a rapid dance normally in compound duple metre gigue became the accepted final dance in the baroque instrumental suite.
giocosamente cheerfully
giocoso is sometimes found as part of a tempo instruction to a performer, as in allegro giocoso, fast and cheerful. the same Italian adjective is used in the descriptive title of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, a drama giocoso.
gioioso joyous
giro turn
gitana gypsy
gittern a type of early guitar with 4 pairs of gut strings, which was played in the middle ages
giusto right, firm, just
glass harmonica a set of wine glasses that resonate when a wetted finger is rubbed around the rim of the glass. the glasses are tuned by changing the amount of liquid that is inside the glass
glee club community chorus. choral society
glee entertainment music
gleichmassig even
glissando a way of playing the piano or harp, involving rapidly sliding up or down the scale, in which every tone or semitone can be clearly heard. often confused with portamento
glocke bell
glockenspiel a percussion instrument made up of tuned metal bars arranged in the same way as piano keys. the keys produce a chime like sound when they are played with small hammers that are held in hand
gloria "glory". in the mass, the second part of the ordinary
glosa diminutions
golden section a mathematical proportion where the ratio between a small section and a larger section is equal to the ratio between the larger section and both sections put together. used by many 20th century composers to determine the point of climax for a given work.
gondollied gondola song
gong percussion instrument originating in the orient. it consists of a vertically suspended concave piece of metal, struck with a padded stick
gopak lively dance of Byelorussia in duple time
gothic music music contemporary with the style of gothic architecture
grace note a note that is played as an ornament to the main melody. in a musical score, it is often printed in smaller type
graciozo instruction to a musician that a piece is to be played gracefully
gradatamente gradually
gradevole pleasing
gran grand, big
gran cassa bass drum
grand jeu full organ
grand opera a general, imprecise term used to describe either opera that is all sung with no spoken dialogue, or the spectacular, large-scale type of opera popular in the 19th-century, or "serious" opera as opposed to operetta
grand pause annotated by two slashes, //, it indicates a stop in the music in which the players wait until they are directed to continue. if one is playing a solo then he would decide when to continue
grand piano a piano in horizontal, wing-shaped case, as opposed to an upright piano
grand staff the combination of a staff line notated in treble clef with one notated in bass clef. used primarily in scoring for piano, and other keyboard instruments, this staff is also sometimes used to score vocal works, such as hymns.
grandezza  grandeur
grandioso gracefully
grave is used as an indication of tempo and mood, meaning slow and serious
gravicembalo harpsichord
grazia grace, gracefully
grazioso forms the Italian adjective grazioso, used as an indication of expression and of tempo, particularly in the 18th century
great organ the principal manual of an organ, located below the swell and above the choir organ (if any). it contributes big sound
gregorian chant plainchant, the modal chant of early Christian and continuing catholic worship and its derivatives, is often known as Gregorian chant, after pope Gregory the Great , St. Gregory, to whom the attempt at standardization of the chant in the late 6th century is attributed.
gross great
grosse fuge as part of one of his later string quartets. technically the writing of fugue remains an important element in the training of composers
grosso grand, full
ground bass repeated bass pattern
guajira people from the rural interior of Cuba, applied to a rural style of song
guarania guarani ballad in slow 3
guida theme (of fugue)
guidon direct
guimbard Jew's harp
guitar the modern concert guitar is a plucked string instrument generally with six strings. The instrument has a long history, in one form or another. in more recent times it became popular in Vienna in the early 19th century with the work of the Italian composer and guitarist Mauro Giuliani and in Paris with the Catalan Fernando Sor. In Spain it was the national instrument. The player Andres Segovia had a strong influence on the form of the modern guitar, the repertoire of which now includes fine concertos by the composers Joaquin Rodrigo, Manuel Ponce, Villa-Lobos, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and others.
guitar family instruments with the flat face of a guitar, including. cittern, chitarra, battente, balalaika, ulelele, banjo, bandurria, yuehchyn
gusle (aka gusla) a type of fiddle with only one string. played in the Balkans
gusli a Russian string instrument similar to the zither
gusto taste, style
gymel two part polyphony based on thirds, sixths and tenths



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