Vocabulary – Part 25


From Latin, “to sound”, is a composition for an instrumental soloist, often with a piano accompaniment, typically in three or four movements of contrasting forms and keys.   Sonata means a piece played as opposed to a cantata (Latin and Italian cantare, “to sing”), a piece sung.


A resin used as a gloss in guitar and other instrument finishes. Many like it for its characteristic yellowing as it ages. There are some drawbacks to it as it can react with certain plastics and foams used in some instrument stands. It is also highly flammable. In addition to its use as an instrument finish, it has been used to make guitar picks, and was used to create early movie film stock. It is created by mixing a nitrating agent into cellulose from wood or other plant pulp.


Play with motion. Denotes both a visual style, as well as an auditory one.  The player should move with the music, and sound like they are doing so. Variations can indicate more or less motion, such as Poco Meno Mosso (a little less motion) or Piu Mosso (more motion).


To pinch or pluck.  A playing technique that requires the musician to pluck the strings to produce a shorter lasting inharmoic sound.  On bowed instruments, the bow is either set aside or held out of the way to pluck the strings.  On a keyed instrument (piano or harpsichord) the musician reaches in to  manually pluck the strings.  On guitars and bass, the palm mute is how an musician plays in pizzicato.  On sheet muisic, the notation “pizz” means to play in pizzicato and the notation “arco” means to return to normal playing.





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