Terms and Processes Used in the Interpretation of Music: Letters Q-T




In music, an eighth note. Its measure is equal to half a crotchet, one-fourth of a minim, or one-eighth of a semibreve.



In music, the compass of a voice or instrument; specifically, a series of tones produced by the same mechanism and having the same quality. Generally considered, there are three registers in the female voice and two in the male voice. Those notes which proceed naturally and freely from the voice constitute the so-called chest-register. The head-register embraces those notes which are produced by a somewhat strained contraction of the glottis, while the falsetto register is that midway between the two.


In music, an interval of silence occurring in the course of a movement between one sound and another. With the use of measurable music, rests began to be represented by regular fixed signs. For rests of a number of bars, it is now usual to draw one or two oblique lines across the staff, and write on them in figures the number of measures during which the voice or instrument is to be silent. A rest, like a note, may be prolonged by one or more dots.



A piece of mechanism applied to instruments of the trumpet and trombone family, for lengthening and shortening the sounding tube. The term slide signifies a diatonic series of two or more tones, either ascending or descending, one of which is to be accented and the others played as grace-notes.


A stringed musical instrument with a keyboard, smaller and weaker than the harpsichord, and, like it, one of the precursors of the pianoforte. The general outline of the instrument nearly resembled that of a harp laid in a horizontal position, with the keys occupying the position of the sounding-board. The oldest extant specimen is dated 1490.


The strings of musical instruments are made either from silk, from the entrails of sheep, or from metal. Formerly the metal strings were made of brass or copper, but now they are generally made of steel (for the pianoforte). For the string-instruments (violin, guitar) gut strings are generally used. The thinner the string the higher is the pitch. Excessive thickness for the lower strings is avoided by winding them with thin copper or silver wire. Recently strings, especially those which are over-spun, have been manufactured from silk. For the violin the highest or E string is also sometimes made of silk, but its tone quality is inferior to that of a gut string. The silk strings are chiefly used by violinists for the purpose of practicing in warm weather, when the moisture of the fingers causes the gut strings to snap in a short time.


In music, a set of pipes in an organ, forming a separate department, which are capable of being increased or diminished in intensity of sound by the action of a pedal, or by a series of shades or shutters overlapping each other like Venetian window-blinds, within which the pipes in question are enclosed. The first recorded swell organ was made in 1712 by Jordan, and in 1763 Shudi introduced the so-called Venetia swell, but the compass of all the early swells was very incomplete.


In music, the joining together of two similar notes by means of a tie, so that the accent intended to fall on the second (strong beat) comes on the first (weak beat). The effect produced is that of contra-tempo. The effect of syncopation can also be produced by merely shifting the accent by means of sf marks (Eroica Symphony, Scherzo). The North American Indians made extensive use of syncopation, and in this were followed by the Southern negroes. In fact, the music of nearly every savage or semi-civilized nation shows traces of syncopated rhythm.



The degree of rapidity with which a piece of music is to be executed. The rhythmical proportions of notes, as indicated by their form, give them only a relative value, and have no reference to the absolute speed at which the entire composition is to be played. The varying rates of speed at which different compositions, or portions of compositions, are to be played is usually indicated by certain terms called tempo marks. These terms are not, however, always used with exact precision, and sometimes apply more to the character than to the absolute speed of performance. The following table gives the most usual tempo marks with their approximate significances:


Lento molto

Allegro Moderato
Non troppo allegro

Allegro molto
Allegro vivo

Indicating Retard

Meno mosso
Indicating Acceleration

Ravvivando i1 Tempo
Doppio movimento
Sempre accelerando
Piu mosso

The tempo is indicated with far greater exactness by references to the beats of the metronome. It is not, however, uncommon for composers to express the tempo by reference to some well-known musical form which has a characteristic movement, as 'tempo di marcia,' 'tempo di valse,' 'tempo di minuetto,' etc. Schumann and Wagner discarded the Italian nomenclature and indicated the tempo by means of German terms. In this they have been followed by a few other composers, but the German terms are not well enough known to be free from a certain vagueness. The Italian terms came into use at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Before that time the means of expressing the general speed at which a composition was to be played were very limited. In measurable music each note had a certain average time value (integer valor); but in the course of years the unit of measure changed so frequently that great confusion ensued. In transcribing works of the sixteenth century in modern notation all notes must, as a rule, be reduced to about half their face values; while in still older works the reduction should be to a quarter or an eighth of the original value. Tempo rubato (stolen time) is the name given to a mode of performance to which a restless character is imparted by protracting one note beyond its proper duration, and curtailing another so that the aggregate duration of each measure remains unchanged. Modification of tempo is a term first used by Richard Wagner, in his article "Ueber das Dirigieren," to indicate that a composition cannot be played throughout in strict metronome time. This is especially true in dramatic music, and throws the responsibility for the interpretation of the music upon the conductor.



Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Terms and Processes Used in the Interpretation of Music: Letters Q-T
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my Collection of Books: The New International Encyclopedia; 1902-1905 Dodd, Mead and Company-New York Total of 21 Volumes
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