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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:

affetuosoaffectionate, tender
allargandobroadening (getting slower, louder)
assaivery (allegro assai: very quick)
breit (Ger.)broad, expansive (Italian: largamente)
calandogetting softer, dying away (perhaps also slowing down)
comeas / similar to (come prima: as before / as at first; come sopra: as above)
da caporepeat from the beginning
dolcesweet, soft
ein (Ger.)a, one
giocosoplayful, merry, humourous
largoslow, stately
ritardandogradually getting slower
semplicesimple, plain
tantoas / so much (non tanto: not so much)
un (Fr.)one
volanteflying, fast


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