In this guide...
To view the complete study guide, you will need a valid subscription. Why not subscribe now?
Already have a subscription? Make sure you login first!
Some musical terms are very similar to other terms, yet have completely different meanings. Let's have a look at these.
Some words are very similar, and you might be fooled into giving the meaning of one instead of the other.
For example, piacevole means "pleasant", but the similar word piangevole means "plaintive" or "lamenting", a very different meaning!
It is worth paying special attention to these traps, and so listed below are many musical terms in Italian, French, and German that are often confused with each other:
|allargando||broadening (getting slower, louder)|
|allegretto||fairly quick (but not as quick as allegro)|
|assai||very (allegro assai: very quick)|
|assez (Fr.)||enough, sufficiently, rather; assez vite: rather quick|
|breit (Ger.)||broad, expansive (Italian: largamente)|
|brio||vigour (con brio: with vigour, i.e. lively)|
|calando||getting softer, dying away (perhaps also slowing down)|
|cantando||singing (in a singing style)|
|come||as / similar to (come prima: as before / as at first; come sopra: as above)|
|da capo||repeat from the beginning|
|dal segno||repeat from the sign|
|dolente||doleful, sad, mournful|
|dolore||grief (doloroso: sorrowful)|
|ein (Ger.)||a, one|
|einfach (Ger.)||simple (Italian: semplice)|
|fuoco||fire (con fuoco: fiery - wild and fast)|
|giocoso||playful, merry, humourous|
|giusto||strict, proper, exact (tempo giusto: in strict time, the opposite of rubato)|
|leggiero||light, (as in not heavy), nimble|
|ritardando||gradually getting slower|
|ritenuto||held back, slower (immediately, not gradually)|
|simile||in the same way ("similarly")|
|sotto||below (sotto voce: in an undertone, whispered)|
|tanto||as / so much (non tanto: not so much)|
|tosto||swift, rapid, at once (più tosto: quicker)|
|und (Ger.)||and (Italian: e / ed)|
|volta||time (as in occasion, e.g. prima volta: first time, seconda volta: second time)|