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Definitions
the tendency to vary timbre for expressive purposes. In jazz, this may involve special technique, including the use of mutes and growls.
a rhythmic unit, lasting from one downbeat to the next. Also known as a measure.
the technique of playing a stringed instruent by pkycking the strings with the fingers; usualy the preferred method in jazz for paying the string bass.
also known as rhythmic contrast
a technique for a pianist's left hand. It involves a steady alternation of bass notes (low notes) with chords in a 'boom-chick, boom-chick' rhythm.
a shorthand musical score that serves as the point of reference for a jazz performance. Often, only the harmonic progression is specified. Also known as a lead sheet.
see scale. **** may refer to major or minor scales. They are also used to identify older scales, like Dorian or Phrygian.
one of the most common of the seven-note scales in Western musical culture. Its arrangement of whole steps and half steps is slightly different from the major scale, and is often a
a low-pitched brass instrument that uses a slide to adjust the column of air
complex extended chords formed by placing a triad over a different root: e.g., an A major chord over an F root.
A scale that falls halfway between the major scale and the minor scale. One example runs on the white keys of the piano from D to D.
the most common brass instrument. Its vibrating tube is completely cylindrical until it reaches the end, where it flares into the instrument's bell.
two or more melodic lines of equal importance (i.e., polyphonic texture), especially when composed.
an orchestral mute with an extension that more or less covers the bell of the trumpet;
a collection of pitches within the octave from which melodies may be drawn. Also known as mode
a short melodic phrase learned by jazz musicians and used in their improvisations. A ***** may be repeated precisely between two different solos.
a composed section, typically performed in unison, that frames a small-combo jazz performance by appearing at the beginning and again at the end.
ensemble riffs played in the first few bars of a chorus. The riff, played by the entire band, interrupts or precedes a solo by a single improviser, 'sending' them off on their way.
(also known as an obbligato). In a piece whose texture consists clearly of a melody with accompaniment (i.e., a homophonic texture): a **** is an accompanying part with distinct, t
in the rhythm section of a jazz band, an instrument--can be string, electric, or tuba--that supports the harmony and provides a basic rhythmic foundation.
the middle part of an AABA form — i.e., the 'B' part. (Musicians sometimes also call it the 'channel.') It usually serves as a contrast, and typically ends with a half cadence.
a musical texture characterized by one main melody with a clearly subordinate pitch accompaniment. **** is the usual texture in a jazz performance (e.g., an improvised solo accompa
any instrument that is blown into to create a pitch: includes brass instruments and reed instruments (e.g., saxophones), as well as flutes. also known in jazz as a horn.
a kind of meter in which the bar is divided into groups of two. In duple meter, the listener would count along either as '1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2....' or as '1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4.....'
a musical texture characterized by a single melody with no pitched accompaniment: for an example, listen to the opening of Louis Armstrong's 'West End Blues.' When a **** interrupt
the first note or “degree “of a scale: “do” in the scale “do re mi fa so la ti.” Represented by the roman numeral I. In tonal music, the **** is the note that melodies
a technique in which the bass line stays predominantly on one pitch for a limited passage. In a normal harmonic progression, the bass line is continually striking new pitches, sinc
a collection of lead sheets used by jazz musicians
armonies that are unstable within an overall harmonic context. **** harmonies build tension that is resolved through movement toward consonant harmonies.
a wind instrument pitched lower than a clarinet; it is used primarily in avant-garde jazz music. Listen to Jeff Decker
a subset of homophonic texture in which the pitches of the accompanying harmony move in exactly the same rhythm as the main melody. ********** is typically found in big-band jazz,
the expressive stretching of time — roughly halfway between playing in strict tempo and 'free' rhythm.
wind instruments played with a cup-shaped mouthpiece. This category includes the trumpet, cornet, trombone, and tuba.
a meter featuring beats of unequal size. A meter of five, for example, can be understood as a grouping of three notes followed by two notes, as if one were counting “1-2-3, 1-2.
an arrangement for big band that is collectively created by the band and not written down (musicians therefore carry it in their “heads”). A head arrangement typically consists
the standard three-note chord that serves as the basis for tonal music.
individual notes in a scale. If a major scale is defined by 'do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti,' do is the first ***, re the second ***, and so on.
(term from classical music): a virtuoso passage for a single instrument, usually monophonic.
a short melodic or rhythmic idea used self-consciously by a musician in the course of a solo. **** are usually varied in the course of a performance.
a single statement of the harmonic/rhythmic cycle defined by musical form (e.g., 12-bar blues, or 32-bar popular song form).
playing chords in a rhythmically unpredictable fashion as accompaniment for an improvising soloist. **** is an important way for the harmony instruments in the rhythm section (e.g.
a stringed keyboard instrument on which a pressed key triggers a hammer to strike strings. It is a standard part of the rhythm section.
classical music term for a countermelody.
any repeated melodic or rhythmic pattern.
the steady pulsation played on the ride cymbal of a drum kit. It forms the rhythmic foundation for jazz after about 1945.
a bass line featuring four even beats per bar, usually serving as the rhythmic foundation for the jazz ensemble.
by heavy overblowing, musicians playing the saxophone can create several pitches at once. These are often used in avant-garde jazz.
A faster, more complex series of chords that comes in the last two bars of a blues or the A section of an AABA form. Also known as a turnback.
a brief passage (usually 2 to 4 bars) in which the prevailing texture (whether homophonic or polyphonic) is interrupted by monophonic texture. One example of a famous **** comes fr
the distance between two different pitches in a scale. The size may range from a unison (two identical pitches) through numerically indicated intervals (third, fourth, fifth, or oc
the “quality” of a sound, as distinct from its pitch; also referred to as “tone color.”
using a single scale as the basis for improvisation, rather than harmonic improvisation, which uses the constantly shifting chord progression. The most famous example of modal impr
a popular song that has become part of the permanent repertory of jazz musicians.
Definitions
a plucked string instrument with waisted sides and a fretted fingerborard. The acoustic *** was part of early jazz rhythm sections, while the electric *** began to be used in the l
a time-line pattern used in Latin music. Its rhythm can be represented verbally as : dah-dit-dah | dah-dah|, or in reverse form, | dah-dah| dah-dit-dah|.
a cadence that ends on the tonic chord. A **** will sound closed and final.
The process by which an unstable dissonant tone moves to one that is stable and consonant.
a repeated, asynmmetric pattern that serves as a basic foundation layer in African music (and, to a lesser extent, African-American music). One version of a ****, known as clave, i
substituting one chord, or a series of chords, for harmonies in a harmonic progression.
a triad whose lowest note is not the root, but another note in the chord (i.e., the third or the fifth).
a large, low-pitched brass instrument with an intricate nest of tubing ending in an enormous bell. Often used in early jazz groups as a bass instrument because of its powerful volu
invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s, a family of single-reed wind instruments with the carrying power of a brass instrument.
a short, catchy, repeated melodic phrase. They are often used to articulate the structure of a twelve-bar blues, making it clearer to the listener to hear the form.
Chords built using the interval of the fourth, rather than the third (as with normal triads).
refers to volume, or loudness. Some jazz passages feature sharp contrasts in these
the most common of the seven-note scales commonly in use in Western musical culture. It is the scale that we sing to the syllables, “do re mi fa so la ti do.”
a series of chords used as the basis for improvisation; also known as chord changes. In a ****, both the order of chords and their place within a rhythmic cycle are specified. Usua
the basic rhythmic principle underlying African-derived musics, including jazz; also known as polyrhythm.
a scale constructed entirely out of whole-steps. Used occasionally in 1920s jazz, and noticeably by Thelonious Monk from the 1940s on. Because it avoids the intervals of a fourth o
the seven-note scales commonly used in Western music. The most common is the major mode, which is expressed by the syllables “do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do.” (Note that the scale be
wind instruments in which the sound is generated by a thin, flexible reed mounted in the mouthpiece.
a trombone that uses valves, instead of a moveable slide, to change pitches.
melodic intervals smaller than a half step, used expressively in jazz as part of blue notes.
the relationship between melody and harmony in a piece of music. Different types include homophonic, monophonic, and polyphonic
music that flows through time without regularly occurring pulses. also known as 'breath rhythm.'
a fixed unit of time, repeated in a potentially endless progression, used as a musical framework In jazz, a **** (also known as a chorus) usually involves a fixed unit of time and
stopping places that divide a harmonic progression into comprehensible phrases. Cadences that end with the tonic chord are known as full-*****, while those that end with the domina
A general name for the overall framework that makes rhythmic contrast possible. This includes the jazz-specific concept of swing.
a short, repeated chord progression, usually used as the introduction to a performance.
the bending of pitches for expressive purposes; pitches bent in this way are called 'blue notes'. As an example, listen to saxophonist Jeff Decker playing bend his pitches.
to play more than one instrument. E.g., tenor saxophonists often *** on the soprano saxophone.
the largest and deepest of the saxophones commonly used in jazz. Listen to Jeff Decker.
To shift an entire musical phrase to a higher or lower pitch. This usually involves raising or lowering each note by the same precise interval.
a musical texture characterized by two or more melodies of equal importance or interest playing simultaneously, such that no one melody sounds like the main melody. In classical co
a type of groove with a highly sycopagted bass line and various rhythmic layers, favored by jazz musicians after about 1970.
music that does not have a tonic, or tonal center. Such music will sound dissonant to the average listener, but in fact the concept of dissonance or consonance simply doesn’t app
chords to which additional pitches, or **** (sixths, ninths, sevenths, thirteenths) have been added beyond the basic triad. Such chords are frequently used by jazz musicians to add
the instruments in a jazz ensemble that provide a rhythmic and harmonic foundation.
a four-stringed guitar used in popular music, amplified through an electric speaker.
a slight wobble in pitch produced naturally by the singing voice. It is often imitated in instrumental playing by wind instruments.
the scale containing twelve equally spaced notes within the octave, corresponding to all the keys (black and white) on the piano.
a musical interval formed by two differing instruments sounding the same pitch. It is closely related to the octave. The sound of the **** (or octave) is used in the openings of be
improvising within the structure of the harmonic progression.
a slow, romantic popular song. One example is the Miles Davis Nonet version of 'Moon Dreams.' (This example also illustrates block-chord texture).
jazz slang for harmonic improvisation.
In Latin percussion, two tall drums of equal height but different diameters, with the smaller one assigned the lead role.
a common type of saxophone, larger and deeper than the alto saxophone.
a technique in which members of a jazz ensemble, especially the rhythm section, play twice as fast while maintaining the length of the overall cycle (or chorus).
an interval in which one pitch has a frequency exactly twice the other (in the ratio 2:1). Such pitches are clearly distinct--one is higher than the other--but they sound so simila
harmonies that are stable (i.e., that do not need to resolve to another harmony).
the first beat of a measure or bar. If you are counting along with the music, the **** is the point at which you count “one.”
a five-note scale, usually corresponding to the black keys on the piano. Frequently used by improvising jazz musicians.
a change of key—i.e., changing the note that serves as the tonic.
jazz slang for any wind instrument
the tendency to base the overall structure of a musical performance on repeated cycles.
range, for an instrument. Playing high on a trumpet is known as playing in its upper ****
Definitions
improvising by a vocalist, using nonsense syllables instead of words (e.g., 'doo-bee-doo-ba-doot-'m-do-ba').
the position of the lips, facial muscles, and jaw necessary to play a wind instrument.
harmony that draws upon the 12-note chromatic scale, as opposed to the more 'normal' 7-note diatonic scales (major or minor, e.g.)
a musical group with three members the third, or “C” section of a multi-section march or ragtime form.
 
jazz from the period 1935-1945, usually known as the Swing Era. a jazz-specific feeling created by rhythmic contrast within a particular rhythmic framework (usually involving a wal
improvising without reference to harmony, often in an atonal context. In ****, the focus usually shifts to areas that can be masked in harmonic improvisation: timbre, melodic inter
one of the most common saxophones used in jazz, smaller and higher-pitched than the tenor saxophone. Listen to Jeff Decker
a technique in which a band plays a pattern of short chords separated by silences. The intervening musical space is then filled in with monophonic improvisation. **** is usually us
the most common bass used in jazz, the same acoustic instrument found in symphony orchestras; also known as the double bass.
Creating sounds with an unusual timbre by squeezing the valves of the trumpet only halfway.
music characterized by an overall tonal center (the tonic) that serves as the center of gravity for the music. All harmonies are organized in relationship to this tonal center, and
An uneven division of the beat used by jazz musicians. Eighth notes are normally divided evenly, while ******* range widely, usually falling into the ration of 2:1.
the speed of the music.
another name for a bar
a wind instrument consisting of a slim, cylindrical ebony-colored wooden tube that produces a thin, piercing sound.
A twelve-bar cycle used as a framework for improvisation by jazz musicians. ******* share the same basic underlying structure: they begin with a tonic , or I chord, move to the IV
the particular way a musician chooses to play the notes in a particular chord. A triad only has three pitches, but these can be spread out or doubled in infinite variations.
In Latin percussion, a gourd filled with beans and shaken.
a technique by which a jazz musician may bypass certain chords in a harmonic progression in favor of other, “substitute” harmonies. This may be done spontaneously or as part o
a technique in which a drummer plays unpredictable rhythmic accents. In the bebop era, a strike on the snare drum was typically followed immediately by an explosion on the bass dr
jazz slang for harmonic progression.
an accent that (temporarily) contradicts the usual accentuation of a meter. If you have a meter of 4 beats to the bar, beats 1 and 3 normally receive the greatest emphasis.
The standard 32-bar form for many popular songs. refers to the melody and harmonic progression (not the text, which can have a completely different pattern. Each portion of the for
One of the intervals in the major or minor scale. In the major scale, the *** falls between the third and fourth degrees of the scale.
A technique in which musicians consistently alternate brief solos of pre-set length (for ********, four bars; musicians may also trade twos, eights, and so forth). ***** usually oc
the organization of regular pulsations into a pattern. Most jazz uses duple meter, or meter organized by 2’s. More rarely, jazz musicians use triple meter or irregular meter.
the lowest, or foundation note of any chord. Harmonies are built from the bottom up, and you can build a chord, or triad, on any note. That note will then be the **** of the chord.
a partially conical brass instrument used often in early jazz and eventually supplanted by the trumpet.
the smallest and highest-pitched saxophone used in jazz.
a tune in AABA form based on the harmonic progression of George Gershwin's 'I Got Rhythm.' An example is John D'earth's tune 'The Potboiler.'
a shorthand musical score that serves as the point of reference for a jazz performance, usually containing only the composed melody (or head) and the harmonic progression.
the bottom part of a sink plunger, waved in front of the bell of a brass instrument to create unusual timbres.
a consistent accent on beats 2 and 4 of a measure. The **** produces a rhythmic layer that contrasts with the usual accenting of beat 1 (the downbeat) and beat 3 in the underlying
creating a new melodic line by drawing on notes from each chord as it goes by in the harmonic progression. Also known in jazz slang as 'running the changes'.
improvising outside the structure of the harmonic progression. This may mean improvising atonally (without reference to a tonal center).
a *** that ends on the dominant chord. Half cadences sound incomplete; they serve like a comma or a semi-colon in punctuation, providing a stop but not signalling full closure.
a blues piano style in which the left hand plays a rhythmic ostinato (i.e., repeated pattern) of eight beats to the bar.
an informal gathering at which musicians perform jazz for their own enjoyment. It can be competitive, with one musician trying to outdo another; or it can be friendly and supportiv
the standard mute for brass instruments in the symphony orchestra, it dampens the tone without too much distortion.
to slide seamlessly from one note to the next. Easily achieved with the voice or on the trombone (with its slide), but also possible with good breath control on other instruments (
playing a stringed instrument (such as the string bass) with a bow. For an example, listen to Pete Spaar
the chord built on the fifth degree of the scale, represented by the roman numeral V.
a passage for a section of a jazz band (trumpets, saxophones, trombones, etc.) in block chord texture. The term is deliberately ironic, because of course a 'solo' by definition me
a hollow mute made by the Harmon company (hence the capitalization). Originally it had a short extension comine out of a hole in the middle, with which musicians could make various
a meter in which the measure or bar is divided into three beats. **** is common in many kinds of dance music (e.g., the waltz), but it is relatively rare in jazz, where most meters
the portion of a wind instrument into which a musician blows. For brass instruments, the **** is cup-shaped. The musicians places the lips into this cavity, where they vibrate to p
a device that can be used to alter the sound, or timbre, of an instrument. (Only the brass instruments use them — e.g., trumpets and trombones).
Creating an unusual timbre on a wind instrument by growling in the throat while playing.
jazz slang for the process of maintaining a steady, unchanging rhythmic foundation. 'Keeping time' is a necessary element for producing rhythmic contrast. In mainstream bebop, the
uses a pre-existing melody as the basis for improvisation. The variations may come in rhythm or melodic contour (removing notes as well as adding them), but whatever the change, th

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