Common Musical Words and Symbols

If you want to learn how to read music the right way, you’ll need to know some musical terms – basically the music words and symbols to get you started in the musical realm. I hope these will help you get a better grasp when you pick up sheet music, even if you don’t read.

Tempo and volume also play an important part in music.

music symbolA song’s tempo (how fast or slow it should be played) is many times written at the beginning in English or Italian. Below are the common terms in both languages:

Common symbols which are used to show volume (how loud or soft a song should be played) are as follows in Italian and English:

Lento; Largo – Very slow

Adagio – Slow

Andante – Walking Pace

Moderato – Medium

Allegro – Fast

Vivace – Lively

Presto Molto Allegro – Very Fast

Common symbols which are used to show volume (how loud or soft a song should be played) are as follows:

ppp – Pianississimo – As soft as possible

pp – Pianissimo – Very soft

p – Piano – Soft

mp – Mezzo-piano – Moderately soft

m – Mezzo – Medium

mf – Mezzo-forte – Moderately loud

f – Forte – Loud

ff – Fortissimo – Very loud

fff – Fortississimo – As loud as possible

pf – Piu forte – Louder

fp – Fortepiano – Quickly move from loud to soft

words.30Crescendo – Gradually louder (this symbol will appear over several notes at once)

Diminuendo Diminuendo – Gradually softer (this symbol will appear over several notes at once)

 

These music words and symbols will give you a good start in understanding more about reading. If you really want to learn music theory – go here to get a complete course.

Filed under: Read Music