Glossary Of Musical Terminology

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Yodeling
A form of singing that involves repeated and rapid changes of pitch and alternation between the normal voice and falsetto.

Whole Tone Scale
A musical term referring to a musical scale that consists of only whole-tone notes. This scale only has 6 basic notes.

Whole Note
A whole note is equivalent to 4 beats or 2 half notes

Warm Up
Anything that helps the singer prepare for a rehearsal or performance. Typically, a warm up consists of vocal exercises, such as running scales. It may also include warming up the body with stretches to relieve tension and help wake the sense, with special emphasis on the jaw, tongue, and lips. The latter may include tongue twisters.

Vowel
A specific resonance structure through which a tone is sustained. Produced primarily by altering the size and shape of the mouth cavity and changing the position of the tongue, which determines how the resonance cavities will reinforce certain frequencies of the initial cord tone. The result of each alteration is a recognizable sound – Ah, Aye, Oh Eh Ee Oo.

Voice
One of 2 or more parts in polyphonic music. Voice refers to instrument parts as well as singing voice parts.Voices can sound distinguishable, even when singing the same pitches. This is down to timbre. You may have a very resonant and deep sounding voice, or a crystal clear and bright voice. Different types of timbres are suitable for different genres of music. While all singers have a different natural timbre, creating new timbres with the help of different registers help give a much bigger variety to a singer’s sound.

Voce
Italian for voice.

Vocal Fry
A low creaky vibration caused by fluttering vocal cords or informally known as the ‘Husky Voice’.

Vocal Cords
Also known as vocal folds.  Elastic bands of muscles found inside the larynx (or voice box), which sits within the windpipe.  They are fixed at one end and open and close due to adjustments in tension. As air passes through, it causes them to vibrate producing sound.  The change of closure and vibrating length affects the pitch and intensity of your tone.

Vocal Coloring
Painting the tones of your voice with emotion including bright and dark tone.

Vivace
Direction to performer to play a composition in a brisk, lively, and spirited manner.

Virtuoso
A person with notable technical skill in the performance of music.

Vibrato
A rapidly repeated slight pitch variation during a sustained note, to give a richer and more varied sound.A natural wavering pulsating change of pitch to accent expression in a piece while singing a note. It is usually inadvertent as opposed to a trill. The voice is alternating subtly and very quickly between two different pitches that are very close together. The larynx and diaphragm both play a part in contributing to the vibrations. The best singers have full control over their vibrato and use it to accent certain words or phrases for dramatic or emotional effect.

Verse
Section of a song usually at the start, leading to the chorus or pre chorus.

Upbeat
The preparatory sign given prior to the first beat in a bar.

Unison
Various singers or instruments singing or playing the same note(s) together.

Twelve-tone
Music composed such that each note is used the same number of times.

Twang
A nasally vocal technique used to achieve a powerful, crisp breathless head voice and to help create one voice. When singing from your head voice and moving into your chest voice.

Tutti
Passage for the entire ensemble or orchestra without a soloist.

Tuning
The raising and lowering a pitch of an instrument to produce the correct tone of a note.

Tune
Succession of musical notes, melody for instruments or voices.

Tritone
A chord comprised of three whole tones resulting in an augmented fourth or diminished fifth.

Triplet
3 notes played in the same amount of time as 1 or 2 beats.

Triple Time
Time signature with 3 beats to the measure.

Trio
A composition written for three voices or instruments.