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Music glossary - Letter C

Music Glossary



Cacce: A type of 14th century Italian music in which a lively text is presented in 2-voice canon form.

Cadence: A sequence of chords that brings an end to a phrase, either in the middle or the end of a composition.

Cadenza: Virtuosic solo passage in the manner of an improvisation, performed near the end of an aria or a movement of a concerto.

Cannon: A contrapuntal device whereby an extended melody, stated in one part, is imitated strictly an for its entire length in one or more other parts.

Cantata: Music written for chorus and orchestra. Most often religious in nature.

Cantor: Solo singer or singing leader in Jewish and Christian liturgical music.

Capriccio: Short lyric piece of a free nature, often for piano.

Cavatina: A short and simple melody performed by a soloist that is part of a larger piece.

Chadracha: Modern, popular Cuban music.

Choir: Group of singers in a chorus.

Chord: Simultaneous combination of 3 or more tones that constitute a single block of harmony.

Chorus: A group singing in unison.

Chromaticism: The use of raised or lowered notes instead of the normal degrees of the scale; chromaticism often serves to heighten the emotional tension of music.

Classicism: The period of music history which dates from the mid 1800's and lasted about 60 years. There was a strong regard for order and balance.

Clavier : Generic word for keyboard instruments, including harpsichord, clavichord, piano and organ.

Coda: Closing section of a movement.

Codetto: The intermediate coda at the end of the exposition in sonata form.

Collage: A technique drawn from the visual arts whereby musical fragments from other compositions are juxtaposed or overlapped within a new work.

Con fuoco: With fire.

Contradaza: A form of Cuban classical music.

Counterpoint: 2 or 3 melodic lines played at the same time.

Courante: A French dance of the late 16th century which, in the 17th century, became one of the four standard movements of the suite.

Credo: A section of the Mass; the third musical movement of the Ordinary.

Cymbals: Cymbals are 2 circular brass plates of equal size, which when struck together produce a shattering sound, as heard in this example.