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Music glossary - Letter M

Music Glossary



Madrigal: A contrapuntal song written for at least 3 voices, usually without accompaniment.

Maestoso: Majestic.

Magnificat: Biblical text on the words of the Virgin Mary, sung polyphonically in church from the Renaissance on.

Major: One of the 2 modes of the tonal system. Music written in major keys have a positive affirming character.

Mambo: Modern Cuban popular dance music; an instrumental big band style.

March: A style incorporating characteristics of military music, including strongly accented duple-meter in simple, repetitive rhythmic patterns.

Measure: The unit of measure where the beats on the lines of the staff are divided up into two, three, four beats to a measure.

Medium: Performing forces employed in a certain musical work.

Mento: A style of Jamaican folk music.

Mezzo: The voice between soprano and alto. Also, in sheet music, a direction for the tempo to be played at medium speed.

Micropolyphony: 20th century technique encompassing the complex interweaving of all musical elements.

Minor: One of the 2 modes of the tonal system. The minor mode can be identified by the dark, melancholic mood.

MIDI: Acronym for musical instrument digital interface; technology standard that allows networking of computers with electronic musical instruments.

Modal: In the character of a mode, either a church mode, or of a rhythmic mode.

Modulation: To shift to another key.

Monotone: Repetition of a single tone.

Movement: Complete, self-contained part within a larger musical work.

Music video: Video tape or film that accompanies a recording, usually of a popular or rock song.

Musicology: The study of forms, history, science, and methods of music.

Musique concrète: Music made up of natural sounds and sound effects that are recorded and then manipulated electronically.