B: The key of B, or in the German musical system, B-flat.
Bagatelle: A short light or whimsical piece, usually written for piano,in no specific form first used by François Couperin.
Ballad: 1. A simple song. 2. A song that tells a story.
Ballet: A theatrical dance form with a story, sets, and music.
Band: An instrumental ensemble, usually consisting of percussion, woodwind, and brass instruments, and excluding strings.
Basso Continuo: "Continuous Bass", sometimes referred to as "thoroughbass". Used in Baroque music, A continuo is a bass line that repeats throughout an entire work, or section of a work. Played by the lowest instrument, a continuo usually consisted of a bass line, and a series of figures.
Battaglia: "Battle". A composition that imitates the sounds and feel of battle, and martial music.
beat: 1. the basic time unit of a piece of music; for example, each tick sounded by a metronome would correspond to a beat 2. the rise or fall of a conductor's hand or baton when beating time. 3. when two notes both sustained and slightly out of tune with one another, create a throbbing sound.
Bequadro: (Fr.) A natural sign.
Berceuse: (Fr.) "Cradle song".A lullaby meant to soothe a child to sleep. 2. An instrumental lullaby usually for piano based on Frederick Chopin's Berceuse opus 57 and characterized by a rhythmic ostinato suggesting a gentle and steady rocking feel.
Binary Form: A two-part song form consisting of an initial section, which is then followed by a contrasting section. (AB), see song forms.
Bitonal: The use of two different keys, or tonic centers at the same time.
Borrowed Chord: Use of a chord in a key in which it is not diatonic, or the substitution of a chord from a different key into a work.
Bow: The device used in the string instrument families, such as the violin family, consisting of a wooden stick, pointed at one end, and strung with horsehair. The bow is drawn across the strings to generate a tone.