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Classical musical terms



h in the German musical system, b natural, or the key of b natural
  "hoboken", the cataloguer of Haydn's works; h numbers are used instead of opus numbers for the works of Haydn
habanera is a Cuban dance from Havana, later introduced to Spain. One of the most famous examples is found in Bizet's Spanish opera Carmen, where Carmen herself sings a seductive habanera. Ravel includes a habanera in his rhapsody Espanola and also wrote a vocalize en forme de habanera, while Debussy makes use of the characteristic rhythm of the dance.
hairpins a colloquial name for the sings indicating crescendo (<) and diminuendo (>)
hakenneumen hook neumes
halb half
half cadence a cadence that ends on the dominant instead of the tonic. also called an imperfect cadence
half note a musical note that is half the time of a whole note
half step the difference in pitch between any two adjacent keys on a piano keyboard. also called a halftone or semitone
hallelujah Hebrew word expressing joyful praise of God
halling a Norwegian folk dance in 2/4 or 4/4
hammerklavier piano
hand horn a horn which has no valves and is therefore able to produce only a limited range of tones. see also horn
hand organ portable barrel organ
hand vibrato a technique used with a bell set where the player waves his hand back and forth above the bell that was played to produce a vibrato. Harmonica -the western harmonica or mouth- organ is an invention of the early 19th century, inspired by the ancient Chinese bamboo mouth-organ, the Sheng. The 20th century chromatic harmonica, of which Larry Adler has been a leading exponent, has inspired a number of composers
handstuck instructive piano piece
handtrommel tambourine
hardanger fiddle a folk violin, from Norway, with 4 strings above the fingerboard and 4 or 5 sympathetic strings below. accompanies the halling
harfe harp
harmonia in harmony
harmonic a multiple of the fundamental frequency that is associated with complex periodic waveforms, such as those produced by musical instruments
harmonic analysis study of the harmonic progressions used in a piece of music
harmonic chromatic scale chromatic scale written to include notes of major and tonic minor scales, plus the augmented fourth and minor second; the harmonic chromatic scale built on c
harmonic mark a small circle placed over notes that are produced by finding a harmonic point on a string and touching it, rather than pressing it down to the fingerboard
harmonic progression the movement from one chord to another, usually in terms of their function
harmonic rhythm a perceived rhythm resulting from harmonic changes
harmonic series a series of harmonic overtones, the multiples
harmonica a wind-blown instrument consisting of a casing containing a series of metal reeds. it is played principally in popular and folk music, including the blues
harmonics the harmonic tones produced by a vibration that go to make up the aural spectrum of any particular note, or grouping of notes
harmoniemusik music for wind band. in its more limited sense the term is used to signify music for wind bands or wind ensembles in the service of the nobility from the middle of the 18th century to the end of the third decade of the 19th century, and their popular counterparts. the harmony, the band itself, which varied in number from a duo to the often found sextet or octet or to a much larger number of players, had its counterpart in France and in England, as well as its successors among emigrants to the united states of America
harmonium developed in the early 19th century from experiments in the last quarter of the century before, is a keyboard instrument that produces its sounds by means of air from bellows passing through free reeds, metal tongues that are made to vibrate. the instrument has a relatively small classical repertoire, its use either domestic or as a cheap substitute for the church organ. Dvorak wrote bagatelles for two violins, cello and harmonium, and Schoenberg made some use of the harmonium in chamber arrangements of works of his own and in versions of two waltzes by Johann Strauss
harmony the study of progression, structure and relationships of chords
  when pitches are in agreement, or consonance
harp stringed instrument consisting of a large number of strings tuned to the major scale. strings are sharpened or flatted by means of seven foot-activated pedals
harp lute an obsolete instrument combining some of the properties of both harp and lute
harp stop a devise on the harpsichord that dampens the strings, resulting in a much thinner tone, rather like that of a harp
harpa harp
harpsichord keyboard instrument in which each key activates a plectrum that plucks, rather than hammers the strings
hasosra biblical trumpet
hastig with haste
haupt principal
hausmusic music for home use, as opposed to music for public consumption
haut high
haut bois the words from which "oboe" is derived
haye a dance figure where the dancers align as hedges
head membrane stretched over a frame, as in a drum or banjo
head voice the upper register of the singing voice
heftig violent
heidentenor operatic tenor
heiter glad
heldentenor a heroic tenor with a strong, robust singing voice
helicon sousaphone, a type of tuba, which has a helical, or spiral, shape and passes around the player's body
hemidemisemiquaver a  note with the time value of 1/16 of a crochet, 1/2 of a demisemiquaver, or 1/64 of a semibreve.
hemiola when the rhythmic structure in a piece gives the impression that the meter is different from the actual time signature, this is a hemiola. for example, a piece in 4/4 time could have an eighth note run where every third eighth note is accented, giving the run a triplet feel, this is a hemiola
hemitonium a half-step
heptachord a term used to distinguish the modern octave (7 tones) from the earlier hexachord which has only six tones
hermaneutics interpretation; the scientific assignation of musical motifs to emotions
hervorgehoben emphasized
heterophony the simultaneous performance of two slightly different melodies
hexachord a grouping of consecutive notes, by sixes rather than octaves (intervals of 8 notes). it was introduced in the 11th century and used up to the 17th
hichiriki Japanese oboe
hidden fifths parallel fifths
hilfsline leger line
hinsterbend fading
hirtenflote shepherd's pipe
hocket a device consisting of rapid alternation of two voices with single notes or groups, and rests
hoedown similar to a jig or reel, this dance was developed by African Americans in the 19th-century. Today it is generally used to refer to a square dance or folk dance
hoftanz  16th century German dance based on traditional melodies
hold fermata
holz wood, wooden
homage a work written by a composer in honor of, or dedicated to another composer. it often owes much to that composer in style or content
homo the same
homophonic a piece or part of a piece with one melody with accompaniment
homophony music with a leading voice and chordal accompaniment
homorhythmic  moving with the same rhythm
homorhythmic chordal a piece or part of a piece where all parts have the same rhythm but different notes
horn a brass wind instrument, through which sound is produced by the vibrations of the player's lips on the funnel-shaped mouthpiece. In the mid 19th-century, the range of the coiled horn was extended, mainly in France, with crooks and valves, hence the name French horn
hornpipe a lively dance resembling the jig but in 3/2, 2/4, or 4/4 time. The best-known example is the "sailor's hornpipe". The hornpipe is also an instrument consisting of a wooden pipe with a reed mouthpiece
hornwerk organ pipes set on their own chest in a tower. used instead of bells
hosanna Hebrew word expressing triumph
huaino dance of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. The name originates from Quechan word for funeral.
huapango  tunes played and danced along the gulf of Mexico
huehuetl upright drums made from hollowed logs and played with fingers. from Aztec
hum to sing with closed lips
hummel fretted zither
humoreske humorous piece
humoresque the term for an instrumental piece of a humorous nature. Schumann was the first composer to use the term to describe a type of music
hunting horn fashioned from animal horn and used to give signals while hunting, this was the forerunner of the orchestral horn
hurdy-gurdy a boxed, lute-like instrument used by street musicians which is played by turning a crank attached to resigned wheel which scrapes the strings producing sound.
hurtig quick
hydraulis this direct ancestor of the modern pipe organ was invented in ancient Greece, it used water to maintain a constant pressure on air that was fed to panpipes
hydraulos water powered organ
hymn a song, often a chorale, written in praise of God, or for a religious congregation
hyper over
hypo under
hyporchema ancient Cretan dancing song



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