Online Music Dictionary of Musical Terms Beginning With B
B: The key of B, the seventh note (or leading tone) in the C major scale, 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.
Baritone: A low male singing voice between tenor and bass.
Baroque Period: The musical era from roughly 1600 to 1750 A.D., characterized by the establishment of major and minor tonality, rather than modes, and the introduction of opera.
Bass: "Low." 1. The lowest male singing voice, below baritone. 2. The lowest part in a piece of music. 3. The lowest instrument in a musical work. 4. In the violin family, the lowest instrument.
Bass Clef: The F clef indicating the fourth line of the staff. Used in combination with the treble clef to make the grand staff.
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 set by the rise or fall of the hand or baton of the conductor when beating time, by a metronome, or by the accents in music. 2. When two notes are both sustained and slightly out of tune with one another, creating 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.
Bouts: In the violin and guitar families, the curves in the sides of the instrument, especially the C-shaped inward curves that form the waist.
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.
Last updated: 3/6/2023