Musical Terms    Parts of a Guitar
The Staff - musical notation
Intervals    Chords    Scales
Guitar-istic Terms    Other Terms

MUSIC GLOSSARY

LINKS

VERY GOOD DICTIONARY ONLINE where many of these definitions came from
www.guitarwiki.com 
Guitar Terminology

MUSICAL TERMS 

Beat 1) The regular pulse of music which may be dictated by a conductor, a metronome, or by the accents in music. 
2) A throbbing that is heard when two tones are slightly out of tune.
Chord Three or more tones combined and sounded simultaneously.
Arpeggio - Playing the notes of a chord consecutively (harp style). A broken chord in which the individual notes are sounded one after the other instead of simultaneously
Consonance A simultaneous sounding of tones that produces a feeling of rest, i.e., a feeling that there is no need for further resolution. See DISSONANCE
Crescendo Gradually growing louder
Dissonance Harsh, discordant, and lack of harmony. Also a chord that sounds incomplete until it resolves itself on a harmonious chord.
A simultaneous sounding of tones that produces a feeling of tension or unrest and a feeling that further resolution is needed.  See CONSONANCE
Dynamics Pertaining to the loudness or softness of a musical composition. Also the symbols in sheet music indicating volume. 
Varying intensities of sound throughout a given musical composition. (Piano, Mezzo Piano, Forte, etc.)
Falsetto A style of male singing where by partial use of the vocal chords, the voice is able to reach the pitch of a female.
Flat = A symbol indicating that the note is to be diminished by one semitone.  See SHARP
Harmony The sound resulting from the simultaneous sounding of two or more tones consonant with each other.
Pleasing combination of two or three tones played together in the background while a melody is being played. Harmony also refers to the study of chord progressions.
Interval A symbol indicating that the note is to be diminished by one half step.
Progression The movement of chords in succession. (A Chord Progression)
Root The tonic or fundamental note of a chord.
Scale A graduated series of tones arranged in a specified order. Successive notes of a key or mode either ascending or descending.
Sharp = A symbol indicating the note is to be raised by one half step.   See FLAT
Staff Made up of five horizontal parallel lines and the spaces between them on which musical notation is written.
Tempo The rate of speed at which a musical compostion is performed.
Tremolo Quick repetition of the same note or the rapid alternation between two notes.
Trill Rapid alternation between notes that are a half tone or whole tone apart.
Triplet Three notes played in the same amount of time as one or two beats.
Triple time Time signature with three beats to the measure.
Tonic The first note or note upon which a scale or key is based; also known as the keynote.
Tuning The raising and lowering a pitch of an instrument to produce the correct tone of a note.
Vibrato Creating variation pitch in a note by quickly alternating between notes.
   

PARTS of a GUITAR

Headstock Also called the headstock or peghead, this part is actually the end of the neck, and on the vast majority of guitars it's where the tuning machines are attached. A few guitars have no headstock, and therefore the strings must be anchored behind the nut and tensioned by tuning machines built into the bridge.
Tuning MACHINES Each string is attached to a corresponding tuning machine, which is located on the head.
The tuning machines, or tuners, can be arranged along one side of the head (all six in a row), or along both sides of the head (three plus three, or four plus two). When you turn a tuner's knob, or key, the string wraps around the machine's shaft, and the string is pulled tight. The tighter a string is, the higher it sounds when you pick it. They're sometimes called
machine heads, tuning keys or just "keys."
Neck The neck is the guitar's backbone, a stiff piece of wood or graphite-composite (like the stuff used for many tennis rackets, golf clubs, and fishing poles). It withstands the pull of the strings and gives your hand a place to grab onto and play. It may be glued into a slot in the body, bolted on, or built into the body, passing through its entire length.
Frets, Crown Thin metal strips called frets are inlaid across the fingerboard.
When you push down on a string, the fret acts as a contact point, setting the length of the string's vibrating portion and, therefore, the exact note that you hear. There's no "official" number of frets, but most electric guitars have 20 to 24, and acoustic guitars have 18 to 24.
Fingerboard Made of hard woods such as maple, ebony, or rosewood, it's the part of the guitar under the strings that the frets are set into. The fingerboard is often a separate piece glued onto the front of the neck.
Fretmarkers, inlays Dots or other shapes made of pearl, metal, or wood are inlaid into the fingerboard or along the edge of the fingerboard as markers to guide your fingers.
Body, Top, Back, Sides On an acoustic guitar, a body is made of a top, a back, and sides, while on an electric guitar the body is usually one or more pieces of solid wood. Whether hollow or solid, the body is the guitar's central point, tying together all the parts. A hybrid design called a semi-solid guitar has a block of wood running through a hollow body, so the guitar gets some of the best tone characteristics of both solid and hollow construction.
Soundhole A hole in the soundboard of a stringed instrument that enhances the volume and tone of the instrument.
Saddle On electric guitars, small, movable bridge parts called saddles support each string, setting its height, spacing from adjacent strings, and how well it stays in tune with the others. On acoustic guitars, there's usually one saddle for all of the strings, made of bone or a hard synthetic material, that's shaped to set the strings' heights, spacing, and tuning accuracy.
Bridge That part of a stringed instrument which supports the strings.
Located on the body of the guitar, the bridge separates the playing part of the strings from the anchor part. Some bridges anchor the strings, while others let them pass over before they hook up to a part called a tailpiece. On electric guitars, small, movable bridge parts called saddles support each string, setting its height, spacing from adjacent strings, and how well it stays in tune with the others. On acoustic guitars, there's usually one saddle, made of bone or a hard synthetic material, that's shaped to set the strings' heights, spacing, and tuning accuracy. In addition, an acoustic guitar's strings fasten to the bridge and transmit their vibrations directly to the instrument's top, which changes the vibrations to sound.
Bridgepin  
   
   
   

"GUITAR-istic" MUSICAL TERMS

Strum Brushing the fingers or a pick over the strings of a stringed instrument.
Pick 1) A small piece of plastic (or other material) that is used to strum or pluck stringed instruments of the guitar family. Picks can also be made of metal, bone, shell, etc. to achieve different tone colors.
2) Term used to describe the action in plucking a string on a stringed instrument typically of the guitar family. A performer can pick the strings with their finger or a pick.
Fingerpick A fingerpick is a type of plectrum used most commonly for playing bluegrass style banjo music. Fingerpicks are most commonly composed of metal or plastic. Unlike guitar picks, fingerpicks clip onto or wrap around the end of the fingers and thumb (generally three are used: one for the thumb, and one each for the middle and index fingers) and thus one hand can pick several strings at once.
Pull-Off A playing technique performed by "pulling" a fretting finger off the fingerboard usually exposing another fretting finger on the same string, a few frets down the fingerboard. A pull-off is almost always performed on a string which is already vibrating (a normal note having already been played on it).
Hammer-On A playing technique performed by "hammering" down a fretting-hand finger on the fingerboard behind a fret, causing a note to sound. It is often performed in conjunction with a note first plucked by the right hand on the same string. This technique is the logical opposite of the pull-off, and multiple hammer-ons and pull-offs together are sometimes referred to colloquially as "rolls," a reference to the fluid sound of the technique.
Slide A rapid run of notes, without differentiating or accenting each of the intermediate notes. Also, glissando. If a glissando is performed on a stringed instrument such as a guitar, each semitone would be sounded as the finger is either slid up or down the length of a string.
String Bend Achieved by playing a string, then pushing the string up with the fingers to create a pitch change. String bending was originally developed by blues and country players to mimic the sound of bottleneck guitars, or much later, pedal steel string guitars. Bending has now become one of the most widely used techniques in most guitar styles, as it can provide greater texture to your sound, as well as added emotional dimension.  This is one of the most basic and widely used techniques of the modern guitarist today.
Chord Grid A symbol show a portion of the guitar neck with frets, strings and dots for finger positions.
Tablature A system of notation for stringed instruments. The notes are indicated by the finger positions.
   
   
   
Pick Scrape Scraping the edge of the pick quickly down the length of the wound strings to achieve a "swooshing", "sweeping", "screeching" sound. Best on a loud distorted electric guitar.
   
   

THE MUSICAL STAFF

Lines Staff Line: A set of five, equidistant, horizontal lines on which the note pitches and other music directions are written. See staff.
Ledger Line: Short, horizontal lines added above or below the staff along with notes to indicate pitches that exceed the limitations of the staff lines. See Ledger lines.
Bar Line: The division of the staff into measures is accomplished through the use of Bar lines. See Bar.
Line or Phrase: A musical phrase or complete thought is often referred to as a line.
Spaces The interval between the lines on the staff. Each line and each space indicate different pitches.
Note A notational symbol used to represent the duration of a sound and, when placed on a music staff, to also indicate the pitch of the sound.
Half Note note that has half the duration of time of a whole note.
Whole Note A whole note is equal to 2 half notes, 4 quarter notes, 8 sixteenth notes, etc.
Quarter Note A note having the time duration of one fourth of the time duration of a whole note.
Dotted Notes A mark that represents a duration directive in musical notation. When placed to the right of the notehead, the dot indicates that a note should have half again its original duration. For example, if a dot is placed to the right of a half note, the note would then have the duration of a half note plus a quarter note.
Rest A symbol standing for a measured break in the sound with a defined duration. Each specific note value has a defined duration and an equivalent rest with the same duration.
Time Signature A numeric symbol in sheet music determining the number of beats to a measure.
Key Signature The flats and sharps at the beginning of each staff line indicating the key of music the piece is to be played.

INTERVALS

Unison Two or more voices or instruments playing the same note simultaneously.
HALF step An interval of one semitone (half step), a minor second.
Whole step An interval of two semitones (half steps), a major second.
Second The interval of a step. A major second is a whole-step (whole tone), and a minor second is a half-step (semitone).
Third Interval spanning two diatonic scale steps, as the interval C to E.
Fourth The interval between two notes. Two whole tones and one semitone make up the distance between the two notes.
Fifth The interval between two notes. Three whole tones and one semitone make up the distance between the two notes.
Sixth An interval spanning five steps, as the interval from C to A.
Seventh An interval that is one step smaller than an octave. A major seventh is a semitone smaller than an octave, and a minor seventh is a whole tone smaller than an octave.
Octave Eight full tones above the key note where the scale begins and ends.
Ninth An interval consisting of an octave plus a second.
Whole tone An interval of a whole step.
Semitone A half step; a minor second; the smallest interval in the system of Western music.
Tritone The interval of an augmented fourth (enharmonically spelled as a diminished fifth). This interval was known as the "devil in music" in the Medieval era because it is the most dissonant sound in the scale.

CHORDS

Arpeggio Playing the notes of a chord consecutively (harp style). A broken chord in which the individual notes are sounded one after the other (successively) instead of simultaneously.
Chord Three or more tones combined and sounded simultaneously.
Root The tone of the scale upon which a chord is built
Major Term referring to a sequence of notes that define the tonality of the major scale. This series consists of seven notes: the tonic, followed by the second note a whole step up from the tonic, the third is a whole step from the second, the fourth is a half step from the third, the fifth is a whole step from the fourth, the sixth is a whole step from the fifth, the seventh is another whole step, followed by the tonic, a half step above the seventh. Thus the first and eighth tones are exactly an octave apart.
Minor A series of tones that defines a minor tonality.
The natural minor scale has the same tones as the major scale, but uses the sixth tone of the major scale as its tonic. Thus, the half steps are between the 2nd and 3rd tones and the 5th and 6th tones.
The melodic minor scale is the same as the natural minor with the exception that the sixth and seventh tones are raised by a semitone (half step) when the scale is ascending. When the scale is descending, the melodic minor is the same as the natural minor.
The harmonic minor scale is the same as the natural minor, except that the seventh tone is raised by one half step.
Sus 4 The interval between two notes. Two whole tones and one semitone make up the distance between the two notes.
chord FORMULA A major chord is composed of a major third above the tonic note, and a perfect fifth above the tonic. It is represented by the chord formula - 1 3 5. A minor chord is composed of a minor third and a perfect fifth. It is represented by the chord formula - 1 b3 5.

CHORD NAMES     

    CHORD FORMULAS

Major    1 3 5
Minor    1 b3 5
Sixth    1 3 5 6
Seventh    1 3 5 m7
Ninth    1 3 5 m7 9
Major Seventh    1 3 5 7
Major Ninth    1 3 5 7 9
Augmented    1 3 #5
Diminished     1 b3 b5 b7
Augmented Ninth "Hendrix chord"    1 b3 b5 b7
Seventh chord Chord formula = 1 3 5 m7
Augmented chord Chord formula = 1 3 5 6
Diminished chord Chord formula = 1 m3 b5 b7
Ninth chord Chord formula = 1 3 5 m7 9
   

SCALES

Scale Successive notes of a key or mode either ascending or descending.
Tonic The first tone of a scale also known as a keynote.
Major Term referring to a sequence of notes that define the tonality of the major scale.
This series consists of seven notes: the tonic, followed by the next note a whole step up from the tonic, the third is a whole step from the second, the fourth is a half step from the third, the fifth is a whole step from the fourth, the sixth is a whole step from the fifth, the seventh is another whole step, followed by the tonic, a half step above the seventh. Thus the first and eighth tones are exactly an octave apart.
Minor A series of tones that defines a minor tonality.
The natural minor scale has the same tones as the major scale, but uses the sixth tone of the major scale as its tonic. Thus, the semitones (half steps) are between the second and third tones and the fifth and sixth tones.
Augmented A chord consisting of a Major 3rd followed by another Major 3rd. (C E G#)
Diminished A chord consisting of a minor 3rd followed by another minor 3rd. (C Eb Gb)
Chromatic Includes all twelve notes of an octave.
Whole-tone A scale consisting of only whole-tone notes. Such a scale consists of only 6 notes.
DIatonic Proceeding in the order of the octave based on five tones and two semitones. The major and natural minor scales and the modes are all diatonic In the major scale, the semitones fall between the third and fourth tones and the seventh and eighth tones. In the minor scale, the semitones fall between the second and third tones and the fifth and sixth tones.
Pentatonic A scale of five tones.

OTHER

   
Phrase A small section of a composition comprising a musical thought. A single line of music played or sung. Comparable to a sentence in language.
Key System of notes or tones based on and named after the key note.
Note Values The note value is the duration of a note, or the relationship of the duration of the note to the measure. The half note is half the duration of the whole note, the quarter is half the duration of the half note, etc .
The duration of a note is as follows in common time or 4/4 time:
Note Values
Whole note Note having a duration of one full measure.
Half note Note having a duration of one half of a full measure.
Quarter note Note having a duration of a quarter of a full measure.
Eighth note Note having a duration of one eighth of a full measure.
Sixteenth note Note having a duration of one sixteenth of a full measure.
Thirty-second note Note having a duration of one thirty-second of a full measure.
CHORD DIAGRAMS Schematic drawings using vertical and horizontal lines to represent strings and frets and numbered dots to indicate positions of the fingers. Chord diagrams for guitar employ six vertical lines; while those for ukulele or tenor banjo use four.
CHORD SYMBOLS Alpha-numeric abbreviations of chord names for performance by ukulele, tenor banjo, or guitar.
Fake Book A jazz/pop term for a collection of Lead Sheets . "Classical" fake-books appear from time to time; these are collections of well-known classical themes expressed as melody line and chord chart, for use by general-business (read "jazz/pop") musicians at weddings and other functions. Actually not a bad thing- quite useful, in fact - but not really the same thing as classical sheet music.
Lead Sheet A jazz/pop term for a single song-sheet with lyrics, piano accompaniment, and chord symbols. Sort of a modern figured-bass part. The term comes from the melodic part shown, or the "lead".
Sheet Music Generally, printed music. In popular music, refers to piano-vocal sheets of individual songs. We use "sheet music" to mean everything from a conductor's full score to a choral part.

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