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Classical musical terms




imperfect cadence semi-cadence, half-cadence
intermission interval
interrupted cadence deceptive cadence
interval intermission
inverted cadence cadence whose chords are not in root position (no simple American label for that concept)
iconography in music, the representation of instruments and musical customs in durable art. Used as a source of information
ictus stress (usually associated with plainsong)
ictus the accent marking the rhythm; the intensity of delivery that distinguishes one note from others
idee fixe a theme expressed repeatedly, with or without variation, throughout a composition. Berlioz first applied the phrase to denote the repetition in his symphony fantastique
idiomatic styled particularly well for a particular instrument
idiomelon hymn with its own melody
idyll pastoral composition
il canto ben marcato the melody played distinctly
illustrative music music that evokes a nonmusical source, such as a poem, scene, mood, idea, or experience
imbroglio operatic scene depicting confusion by having parts with different rhythms
imitation repetition by one instrument or voice of something already stated by another-often at a different pitch. imitation is much used in canons and fugues
imitative counterpoint encompasses the canon, fugue, and motet, wherein all parts state the theme in succession
imperfect cadence see half-cadence
impetuoso impetuous
impresario manager or agent
impressionism a stylistic period of composition that sought to put to music only the most immediate, direct impressions, upon the composer, of a given subject. Impressionism avoided traditional harmony of thirds, employing more often quartal or quintal tonality
impromptu a short instrumental work, often for piano which suggests spur-of-the-moment inspiration. Schubert and Chopin were famed for their impromptus
improvisation music played spontaneously, alone, or against a pre-arranged background of chords and melodies. Liszt and Chopin were renowned for the improvisations. today, they are common in organ recitals and in jazz music
in modo di 'in the manner of'
incalzando pressing forward
incantation spell, or operatic scene in which spirits are conjured
incidental music played intermittently to punctuate a play or film. Usually written specifically for the play or film it accompanies
incipit in Gregorian chant, the first words sung by the cantor before the chorus
indeterminacy a modern device where a composer leaves certain sections or elements of a composition to chance, or to the discretion of the performer
inegales modification of evenly written notes so that one is lengthened and one is cheated. Used frequently to add a triplet "swing" feel to popular music
inflection change of pitch or tone
inganno deceptive cadence
initium two or three opening notes of a psalm tone
innig heartfelt
inno hymn
instrument, musical any object or device that is used to produce musical sounds. The principal families to which most instruments belong include wind, string, percussion, and keyboard
instrumentation is generally used to mean orchestration, the art of writing music for instruments, or, alternatively, the actual scoring of a particular composition
instruments devices that produce musical sounds
inszenierung  staging, as of an opera
intabulation designation for a keyboard or lute arrangement of a vocal piece
intavolatura designation that music is notated on two staves as opposed to "di partitura," wherein each part has its own staff
interlude a short piece of music between two longer pieces, or between the acts of a play
intermezzo most often describes an instrumental piece played in the middle of an opera. Can also describe a short piano piece, or a comic interlude played between scenes of an opera
interpretation the personal and creative element of performance
interval the distance in frequency between two periodic tones
intonation accurate tuning in singing or playing
intrada introduction or prelude
intrepido intrepid
introduction a section of the music that precedes the first theme
introit the initial chant of the mass proper
invention short, free contrapuntal styled piece
inversion the rearrangement of the notes in a chord. also the turning upside down of a theme, as in serial music jam session. An informal performance of musicians, involving a degree of improvisation. Jam sessions also serve as training sessions for young musicians. common in jazz, also pop and folk music
inverted canon changed by inversion or retrograde motion
inverted fugue counter fugue
inverted mordent alternation of the written note with the one immediately above it
invertible counterpoint a passage arranged so that if one part is transposed, usually by an octave, the music still works
ionian mode a medieval mode whose scale pattern is that of playing c to c on the white keys of a piano. this scale is identical to a major scale
iso the same
isomelic device found in isorhythmic motets of the time of ciconia
isometric moving together rhythmically, blocked chords
isorhythmic 14th century motet principle wherein a reiterated system of time values is used for the cantus firmus
isosyllabic principle of versification based entirely on the syllable count
istesso (tempo) l'istesso tempo, the same speed, is found as an instruction to the player to return to the previous speed of the music
Italian sixth chord an augmented sixth chord, which contains only three tones, as opposed to a German sixth chord, or a French sixth chord

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