Art of combining sounds into a structured form, usually according to conventional patterns and for an aesthetic (artistic) purpose. Music is generally divided into different genres or styles such as classical music, jazz, pop music, country, and so on. MORE
Relatively brief, simple vocal composition, usually a setting of a poetic text, often strophic, for accompanied solo voice. The song literature of Western music embodies two broad classifications—folk song and art song. MORE
A guide to the thousands of characters, from humble artisan to lofty genius, who people the unfolding history of music, this volume brings together all the pertinent biographical information about composers, performers, music theorists, and instrument makers from the days of praise chants to the bop and pop of today.
Wide ranging and reliable, this treasure trove includes entries on all the styles and forms in Western music; comprehensive articles on the music of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Near East; descriptions of instruments enriched by historical background; and articles that reflect today's beat, including popular music, jazz, and rock.
Succinct and comprehensive guide to the history, forms, and personalities of classical music. Readers will find biographies of thousands of composers from Albinoni to Zappa, with in-depth treatment of major figures, coverage of individual works, including plot summaries of operas and ballets, articles on the history of music and instruments, entries on musical forms, from medieval plainchant to contemporary minimalism, and clear definitions of technical terms and jargon.
Device used to convert electrical energy into sound. It consists essentially of a thin flexible sheet called a diaphragm that is made to vibrate by an electric signal from an amplifier. The vibrations create sound waves in the air around the speaker. MORE
A bellows-operated, hand-held wind instrument sounded by free reeds. It consists in effect of two reed organs, each with its own keyboard, joined by a rectangular bellows. The organ in the player's right hand is the higher pitched of the two. MORE
Any of a family of wind instruments in which one or more reedpipes are attached to a windbag, usually made of animal skin. The player holds the windbag under the arm and squeezes it with the elbow to provide a steady stream of air to the pipes. MORE
Any of a family of single-reed woodwind instruments of cylindrical bore. It is one of the four main orchestral woodwinds, but did not join the orchestra until after the middle of the 18th century. MORE
Any of a class of percussion instruments consisting of a frame or hollow vessel of wood, metal, or earthenware with a membrane of hide or plastic stretched across one or both ends. Drums are usually sounded by striking the membrane with the hands, a stick, or pair of sticks.MORE
Side-blown woodwind instrument with a long history, capable of intricate melodies and a wide range of expression. The player holds the flute horizontally, and to the right, and blows across an end hole. The air current is split by the opposite edge of the hole, causing the air column inside the instrument to vibrate and produce a sound. MORE
Plucked, fretted string instrument. It may be called the classical guitar, the Spanish guitar (because of its origins), or the acoustic guitar (to differentiate it from the electric guitar). The fingerboard has frets (strips of metal showing where to place the finger to obtain different notes), and the 6 or 12 strings are plucked or strummed with the fingers or a plectrum. MORE
Stringed musical instrument of ancient origin, the strings of which are plucked with the fingers. Harps were found in paintings from the 13th cent. B.C. at Thebes. In different forms it was played by peoples of nearly all lands throughout the ages. The harp was particularly popular with the Irish from the 9th cent. They adopted the small instrument still in use, called the Irish harp, as a national symbol. MORE
Woodwind instrument of conical bore, its mouthpiece having a double reed. The instruments possessing these general characteristics may be referred to as the oboe family, which includes the English horn, the bassoon, and the contrabassoon or double bassoon. The oboe was developed in the mid-17th century in France from various older double-reed instruments. MORE
A musical wind instrument in which sound is produced by one or more sets of pipes controlled by a keyboard, each pipe producing only one pitch by means of a mechanically produced or electrically controlled wind supply.MORE
Or pianoforte, musical instrument whose sound is produced by vibrating strings struck by felt hammers that are controlled from a keyboard. The piano's earliest predecessor was the dulcimer. The first piano was made c.1709 by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655–1731), a Florentine maker of harpsichords, who called his instrument gravicembalo col piano e forte. MORE