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Music glossary - Letter T

Music Glossary



Tabla: Pair of single-headed, tuned drums used in north Indian classical music.

Tag: Jazz term for a coda, or a short concluding section.

Te deum: Song of praise to God; a text from the Roman Catholic rite, often set polyphonically.

Temperament: Refers to the tuning of an instrument.

Terraced dynamics: Expressive style typical of Baroque music in which volume levels shift based on the playing forces used.

Tessitura: The range of an instrumental or a vocal part.

Theme: Melodic idea used as a basic building block in the construction of a composition.

Trill: Rapid alternation between notes that are a half tone or whole tone apart.

Third stream: Jazz style that synthesizes characteristics and techniques of classical music and jazz; term coined by Gunther Schuller.

Through-composed: Songs in which there is new music to each stanza; the opposite of strophic.

Tin whistle: Small metal end-blown flute commonly used in Irish traditional music.

Toccata: An important type of early keyboard music, originating in the sixteenth century but cultivated mainly in the Baroque period.

Tonality: Principle of organization around a tonic, or home, pitch, based on a major or minor scale.

Tonic key: The first, or basic note of a diatonic scale, the keynote.

Transposition: Shifting a piece of music to a different pitch level.

Tremelo: A quick reiteration of the same note; produced by a rapid up-and-down movement of the bow.

Triad: A common chord type consisting of 3 pitches built on alternate scale tones of a major or minor scale (e.g., 1 - 3 - 5 or 2 - 4 - 6).

Triplum: Third voice in early polyphony.

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

Trouvères: Medieval poet-musicians of northern France.

Tutti: "All", the opposite of solo. See also ripieno.

Turmsonatan: Another term for a tower sonata; see above.

Twelve: Tone music Music composed such that each note is used the same number of times.