Glossary Of Musical Terminology

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There are 25 names in this directory beginning with the letter D.
D.S.
Dal Segno: This is a repeat mark found on sheet music It may mean: Repeat from the Dal Segno sign.

Da Capo
An instruction to repeat from the beginning of the piece and ending on the final chord of the song.

Dal Segno
Repeat from the Dal Segno (D.S.) sign

Dal Segno al Coda
Repeat from the D.S. sign and continue until directed to move to the Coda, a separate ending section,

Dal Segno al Fine
Repeat from the D.S. sign and end at the last bar of the song Dal Segno.

Deceptive Cadence
A chord progression that seems to lead to resolving itself on the final chord; but it does not.

Decrescendo
Gradually getting softer the opposite of crescendo. Also known as Diminuendo.

Demi-semiquaver
One out of 32 parts of a Whole Note; 1/16th of a beat in duration.

Diaphragm
The dome shaped muscle attached to the bottom of the lungs that separates your chest and stomach cavities. Its main function is to initiate inhalation.

Diction
The clear pronunciation of words. This requires attention to both consonants and vowels. Different types of music may require more or less diction; for example, in musical theatre, it’s essential that the audience understand the lyrics, but in jazz or blues, the singer may occasionally slur words on purpose in order to achieve a desired sound. Good diction helps produce good sound, however, so all singers should pay attention to it.

Diminuendo
Gradually getting softer (Same as Decrescendo.

Diphthong
Two vowel sounds occurring in the same syllable. Also known as gliding vowels.

Director
One who prepares an opera or play for production by arranging the details of the stage settings and stage effects, and by instructing the performers in the interpretation of their roles.

Dissonance
Harsh, discordant, and lack of harmony. Also a chord that sounds incomplete until it resolves itself on a harmonious chord.

Diva
Literally “goddess,” it refers to an important female opera star. The masculine form is divo.

Dolce
Meaning to be performed sweetly or delicately.

Dominant
5th note of a musical scale.

Double Aria
An aria which consists of two parts. The first part, or cavatina, is usually slow and the second, or cabaletta is faster. There is often recitative between the two sections.

Downbeat
The first beat in a measure as conducted by the leader of an ensemble is called the downbeat.

Dramatic
As in a “dramatic soprano,” “dramatic tenor,” etc. A type of singing that is heavier than “lyric,” often accompanied by more focus on acting than on making a “pretty” sound.

Dress Rehearsal
A final rehearsal that uses all of the costumes, lights, etc. While sometimes it is necessary to stop for corrections, an attempt is made to make it as much like a final performance as possible.

Drone
Dull, monotonous tone such as a humming or buzzing sound. Also a bass note held under a melody.

Duet
Piece of music written for two vocalists or instrumentalists. They may or may not sing simultaneously or on the same musical line.

Dynamic
The variations of softness and loudness in music.

Dynamics
Loudness or softness of a song. Also refers to the musical terms or symbols defining volume in a song.