Definitions

Volume or Dynamics

(from soft to loud)

Pianissimo -- pp -- very soft
Piano -- p -- soft
Mezzo Piano -- mp -- medium soft
Mezzo forte -- mf -- medium loud
Forte -- f -- loud
Fortissimo -- ff -- very loud

Volume Modifiers

Calando: diminuendo, usually within a rallentando

Crescendo: (Cres., ≤) gradual increase in volume

Diminuendo: (Decr., Dim., >) graudual decrease in volume, same as decrescendo

Morendo: fading away

Rinforzando, Sforzando: (rfz, sfz) sudden, sharp accent

Tempo

(from slow to fast)

Grave: very slow, solemn

Largo: very slow, broad

Larghetto: somewhat faster than largo

Lento: slow

Adagio: slow, easy

Adagietto: somewhat faster than adagio

Andante: moderate, "walking" tempo

Andantino: a little faster than andante (warning: sometimes means a little slower than andante)

Moderato: between andante and allegro

Allegretto: between allegro and andante

Allegro: fast

Presto: very fast

Prestissimo: as fast as possible

Tempo Modifiers

A Tempo: return to regular tempo after a ritard or accelerando

Accellerando: becoming faster

Allargando: slowing down and becoming broader

Assai: very much

Con Moto: with motion

Doppio Movimento: twice as fast

L'Istesso: the same

Meno: less

Molto: very

Mosso: moved, agitated

Non Troppo: not too much

Piu: more

Rallentando: slowing down

Ritardando same as rallentando

Ritenuto: suddenly slower

Rubato: flexible, irregular tempo

Sostenuto: sustained

Stringendo: quickening, with growing excitement

Tempo Primo: resume the original or first tempo

Vivace: lively

Vivacissimo: very quick

Expressive Markings

Affetuoso: tender

Agitato: excited

A Piacere: at performer's discretion

Arioso: in a singing style

Calmato: quieted

Cantabile: singing

Comodo: -- easy, comfortable

Con Brio: with vigor

Con Calore: with warmth

Con Fuoco: with fire

Dolce: sweet

Expressivo: expressive

Giocoso: merry

Giusto: just, right

Grazioso: graceful

Gusto: with zest

Legato: smooth

Leggiero: light

Maestoso: majestic

Marcato: stressed

Mesto: sad

Mezzo: medium

Pesante: emphatic, heavy

Scherzando: humorous

Semplice: simple

Sempre: always

Staccato: detached

Strepitoso: noisy

Tenuto: held

Bowings

Am Steg: near the bridge

Arco: with the bow

Chevalet: bridge

Col Legno: with the wood of the bow

Detaché: single bowing with slight articulation of each note

Jeté Ricochet: "throwing" the upper part of the bow on the string so it will bounce a series of rapid notes down the bow

Louré: slow, with slight separation

Martele, Martellato: "hammered" bowing with forceful, sudden release

Pizzicato: (pizz.) plucked

Portato: a manner of performance halfway between legato and staccato

Saltando, Sautillé: light, bouncing strokes

Spiccato: similar to saltando

Staccato: short, detached strokes

Sul Ponticello: very close to the bridge

Sul Tastièra, Sul Tasto: very near or over the fingerboard

Talon: at the frog

Tasto: fingerboard

Touche: fingerboard

Tremolo: short, extremely rapid strokes (on one note)

Violoncello Parts

Bass bar: wooden bar affixed to the inside of the top of the instrument. Increases vibration and tone.

C-bout: the waist of the cello, where the body curves in on both sides.

End pin: Cellos rest on a retractable, adjustable pin, which is mounted in the bottom of the cello’s body. Also known as the spike.

Fine tuners: Small adjusters located in the tail piece, allows steel stings to be properly adjusted. Also known as adjusters, string tuners, or string adjusters.

Fingerboard: When you play, you press, stop, the strings against this piece of wood. Fingerboards are typically made of ebony.

Common Terms

Al Fine: to the end

Alta: higher (8va alta -- play one octave higher)

Ancora: again, repeat

Attacca: go to next movement without a break

Bassa: lower (8va bassa -- play one octave lower)

Cadenza: extended section for soloist in free, improvisatory style

Coda: closing section of a composition

Come Prima: as at first

Con: with (con brio) -- with spirit)

Da Capo: (D.C.) from the beginning

Dal Segno: from the sign ( 𝄋 )

Divisi: divided

Fine: end

Glissando: slide from one pitch to the next

GP: general pause

Ossia: alternate passage, usually easier

Ottava Alta: see alta

Poco: a little (poco a poco - little by little)

Senza: without (senza sordino - without mute)

Simile: continue in the same way

Sordino: mute

Subito: suddenly

Sul: on (sul G - on the G string)

Tacet: is silent

Tutti: all

Miscellaneous

Hooked Bowing: Two or more different detached notes played in one bow stroke, hooked together by a single bow motion.

Major scale: Made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth, which is one octave separated from the starting note.

Solfège: The term for the do-re-mi words used to indicate intervals in music. The chromatic scale uses do, re, me, fa, so, la, and ti. The remaining five notes of the chromatic scale are represented by di, ri, fi, si, and li for the sharps, and te, le, se, me, and ra for the flats.

Slur: Two or more notes connected by a single uninterrupted bow motion.