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Test Yourself - Theory Terms

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#1 Guest: skylark_*

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 22:40

The first five posts of this thread contain the theory terms for each of the Grades 1-5, as they appear in the ABRSM First Steps in Music Theory book. The meanings should be invisible but if anyone wants to test themselves and check what the right answer is, just highlight (eg triple-click) the line smile.gif

Note that in the exam, you may be questioned on theory terms from previous grades, not just those listed for the grade you are entering.

For the pronunciation of terms, go to the Virginia Tech music dictionary site or the Dictionary.com site. Also the Dolmetsch site contains a music dictionary and masses more information on music theory.

For tips on How to Learn Theory Terms - click through to this thread

Good luck in your exam! smile.gif


GRADE 5 THEORY TERMS (scroll to the posts below for the previous grades)


aber but
Ausdruck expression
bewegt with movement, agitated
breit broad, expansive

ein a, one
einfach simple
etwas somewhat, rather
fröhlich cheerful, joyful

immer always
langsam slow
lebhaft lively
mässig at a moderate speed
mit with

nicht not
ohne without
ruhig peaceful

schnell fast
sehr very
süss sweet

traurig sad
und and
voll full

wenig little
wieder again
zart tender, delicate
zu to, too


alla misura in strict time
attacca go straight on to the next section of music

dolente sad, mournful
dolore grief
doloroso sorrowful
doppio movimento twice as fast

estinto as soft as possible, lifeless
incalzando getting quicker
lacrimoso sad

loco at the normal pitch (used to cancel an 8va direction)
lunga long
lunga pausa long pause
lusingando coaxing, in a sweet and persuasive style

misura measure (alla misura: in strict time; senza misura: in free time)
ossia or, alternatively
piacevole pleasant
piangevole plaintive, in the style of a lament
pochettino, poch rather little

rinforzando, rf, rfz reinforcing
segue go straight on
senza misura in free time
smorzando, smorz dying away in tone and speed

teneramente, tenerezza tenderly, tenderness
tosto swift, rapid (but often used in the same sense as �"troppo”)
volante flying, fast
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#2 Guest: skylark_*

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 03:01



affettuoso tenderly
affrettando hurrying
amabile amiable, pleasant
appassionato with passion

calando getting softer, dying away (and usually slowing down)
cantando singing
come as, similar to (come prima, as before; come sopra, as above)

facile easy
fuoco fire
giusto proper, exact (tempo giusto: in strict time)
l'istesso the same (l'istesso tempo: at the same speed)

morendo dying away
niente nothing
nobilmente nobly

perdendosi dying away
possibile possible (presto possibile: as fast as possible)
quasi as if, resembling

sonoro resonant, with rich tone
sopra above
sotto below (sotto voce: in an undertone)

veloce swift
voce voice


a to, at
animé animated, lively
assez enough, sufficiently
avec with

cédez yield, relax the speed
douce sweet
en dehors prominent (a direction to make a melody stand out)
et and

légèrement light
lent slow

mais but
modéré at a moderate speed
moins less

non not
peu little
plus more
presser hurry (en pressant: hurrying on)

ralentir slow down
retenu held back (en retenant: holding back, slowing a little)
sans without

très very
un, une one
vif lively
vite quick
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#3 Guest: skylark_*

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 03:12



ad libitum, ad lib at choice, ie a passage may be played freely
adagietto rather slow, but faster than Adagio
agitato agitated

alla breve with a minim beat - equivalent to 2/2. Implies faster tempo than note values might otherwise suggest
amore love
amoroso loving

anima soul, spirit (con anima - can mean “with feeling” or “spirited”)
animando becoming more lively
animato animated, lively

ben well
brio vigour (con brio - with vigour, lively)
comodo convenient (tempo comodo - at a comfortable speed)

deciso with determiniation
delicato delicate
energico energetic

forza force
largamente broadly
leggiero light, nimble
marcato, marc emphatic, accented

marziale in a military style
mesto sad
pesante heavy
prima, primo first

risoluto bold, strong
ritmico rhythmically
rubato, tempo rubato with some freedom of time

scherzando, scherzoso playful, joking
seconda, secondo second
semplice simple, plain

sempre always
stringendo gradually getting faster
subito suddenly

tanto so much
tranquillo calm
triste, tristamente sad, sorrowful
volta time (prima volta - first time; seconda volta - second time)
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#4 Guest: skylark_*

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 03:23



a at, to, by, for, in, in the style of
al, alla to the, in the manner of (alla marcia - in the style of a march)
allargando broadening (getting a little slower and probably a little louder)
allegro assai very quick
andantino slightly faster than andante (but may also mean slightly slower)
assai very (allegro assai - very quick)

con, col with
dolce sweet, soft
e, ed and
espressivo (or espress or espr) expressive

fp (= fortepiano) loud, then immediately soft
giocoso playful, merry
grave very slow, solemn
grazioso graceful

larghetto rather slow (but not as slow as largo)
largo slow, stately
ma but
maestoso majestic

meno less
molto very, much
mosso, moto movement (meno mosso: slower; con moto: with movement)

non not
piu more
presto fast (faster than allegro)

senza without
sforzando, sforzato (sf, sfz) forced, accented
simile (or sim) in the same way
sostenuto sustained

tenuto held
troppo too much (non troppo: not too much)
vivace, vivo lively, quick
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#5 Guest: skylark_*

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 03:34



a tempo In time
accelerando (accel) Gradually getting quicker
adagio Slow

allegretto Fairly quick (but not as quick as allegro)
allegro Quick (literally cheerful)
allegro moderato Moderately quick
andante At a medium ‘walking’ speed

cantabile In a singing style
crescendo (cresc) Gradually getting louder

da capo (DC) Repeat from the beginning
dal segno (DS) Repeat from the sign “S”
decrescendo (decresc) Gradually getting quieter
diminuendo (dim) Gradually getting quieter

fine The end
forte (f) Loud
fortissimo (ff) Very loud
legato Smoothly
lento Slow

mezzo Half
mezzo forte (mf) Moderately loud (literally half loud)
mezzo piano (mp) Moderately quiet (literally half quiet)
moderato Moderately

pianissimo (pp) Very quiet
piano (p) Quiet
poco A little

rallentando (rall) Gradually getting slower
ritardando (rit) (ritard) Gradually getting slower
ritenuto (rit) (riten) Held back

staccato (stacc) Detached
tempo Speed, time

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#6 sarah123



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Posted 24 February 2008 - 03:35

QUOTE(skylark @ Feb 24 2008, 03:23 AM) View Post

For the pronunciation of terms , have a look at the following sites:


If I'd seen this when i was doing grade 1 it would have totally got rid of one my way for remembering cantabile (in a singing style) It rhymes! - at least i thought it did lol
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#7 Guest: skylark_*

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 03:56

These terms were all on separate threads but I've combined them into the same thread now which seems easier to revise from smile.gif

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#8 Babybird2



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Posted 21 May 2008 - 08:05

must...learn...theory...terms wacko.gif
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#9 Dora


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Posted 21 May 2008 - 22:01

QUOTE(Babybird2 @ May 21 2008, 09:05 AM) View Post

must...learn...theory...terms wacko.gif

Thanks for the lists. They will come in very handily for us next week when we will be making a final push for this exam. We are still working on the terms but these are marks that my child probably won't get on the day. I can live with that. Her last mock exam mark was 77% so I'm feeling okay about it.

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#10 denmark77


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Posted 22 May 2008 - 14:55

Hey skylark, these are great many thanks
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#11 Guest: skylark_*

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 18:43

QUOTE(Dora @ May 21 2008, 11:01 PM) View Post

Thanks for the lists. They will come in very handily for us next week when we will be making a final push for this exam.
QUOTE(denmark77 @ May 22 2008, 03:55 PM) View Post
Hey skylark, these are great many thanks

Glad you find them useful smile.gif I've just been having another look at them - it's amazing how easily you forget the terms when you're not using them all the time!

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#12 Car Expert

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 21:59

Would it be a good idea to have this thread pinned?

Car Expert
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#13 Guest: skylark_*

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 07:44

Two weeks to go! If anyone wants to test themselves on performance terms, the terms for all the grades are in the first few posts of this thread - good luck everyone! party1.gif

(triple-click on each line to reveal the meaning of each term)
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#14 Skintchick



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Posted 23 October 2008 - 13:22

I'm so glad I speak a reasonable amount of German, French and Italian - makes the terms so much easier! There are usually only one or two I need to actually learn. But this resource is great for final revision, thanks.
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#15 Jazz Chicken

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 16:22

Thanks for doing this Skylark.

Just wanted to say I found this very useful before doing my Grade 1 in November and here I am again testing myself on both Grade 1 and Grade 2 in time for March. It's great I can just sit at my desk and quietly test myself when I have a few minutes to spare. I will be back to this thread again for further revision as I hopefully move up the Grades. smile.gif
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