Vocabulary – Part 23


To use a bow.


In music, was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term became used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice, with or without orchestral accompaniment, normally part of a larger work. The typical context for arias is opera, but vocal arias also feature in oratorios and cantatas, sharing features of the operatic arias of their periods.  (en.wikipedia.org)


Means “sung”.  It is the past participle feminine singular of the Italian verb cantare, “to sing”) is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir.  The meaning of the term changed over time, from the simple single voice madrigal of the early 17th century, to the multi-voice “cantata da camera” and the “cantata da chiesa” of the later part of that century, from the more substantial dramatic forms of the 18th century to the usually sacred-texted 19th-century cantata, which was effectively a type of short oratorio.[1] Cantatas for use in the liturgy of church services are called church cantata or sacred cantata, other cantatas can be indicated as secular cantata. Several cantatas were, and still are, written for special occasions, such as Christmas cantatas. Johann Sebastian Bach composed cycles of church cantatas for the occasions of the liturgical year.  (en.wikipedia.org)


Means “played”.  In the classic sense was the antithesis of Contata as music at the time was usually a single singer or a single instrument.  Has developed over time to mean musical pieces performed primarily by one instrument, usually a piano or violin but other examples do exist.  Some definitions of Sonata include two instrument combinations as a Sonata and some even include string quartets as a Sonata.

Noise Colors

The term “white noise” is one example of a range of “colors” given to noise patterns based on the relative loudness and/or power levels of different frequencies across the audible range. White noise has equal power level across the entire range. Because of the way humans hear pitch (each octave has double the frequency of the previous), this actually means that higher octaves have more total power than lower ones. For this reason, white noise tends to sound higher pitched or seems to be missing lower frequencies. Pink Noise has it’s power level scaled logarithmically such that any given octave has the same amount of total power as any other. For this reason, pink noise sounds nearly equally loud at the low end and the high end. Gray Noise takes this a step further and attempts to balance the noise in such a way that power level is specifically matched to the way humans hear pitch, including accounting for the spikes in our sensitivity to sounds at particular frequencies. There are several other defined colors, see Wikipedia for some of those.

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