Online Music Dictionary of Musical Terms Beginning With D


Deceptive Cadence: A cadence where the dominant tonality resolves to any chord other than the tonic, most especially when it goes instead to the sixth.

Degree: A note of a scale, usually as identified by number. See second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and octave.

Delicato: Delicately.

Descant: 1. Soprano or tenor voice. 2. The melodic line or counterpoint accompanying an existing melody. 3. The upper part of a polyphonic composition.

Descriptive Music: Program music.

Development: The elboration of melodic, thematic, or harmonic progressions in a piece.

Diatonic: The notes that occur naturally in a scale, without being modified by accidentals other than in the key signature.

Di: Of, with.

Diminished: Lowered, or reduced. Generally refers to the lowering of a pitch chromatically by one half step; ie., the term for an interval which has been decreased from the major by two half steps and from the perfect by one half step

Diminished Seventh Chord: A chord which contains a root, a minor third, a diminished fifth, and a diminished seventh.

Diminished Triad: A chord which contains a root, a minor third, and a diminished fifth.

Diminuition: The shortening of note values used in a theme to alter the melody without changing the pitches.

Dirge: A piece that is performed at a funeral or memorial service.

Dissonance: Notes that conflict, or sound outside of a chord in which they occur. Such notes usually fall outside of the overtones which are being generated by the note or chord that is sounding.

Divertimento: An entertaining instrumental piece made up of several short movements.

Dodecaphonic: Twelve-tone music.

Dominant: A chord based on the fifth degree of the diatonic scale being used. A dominant usually resolves to the tonic.

Dorian Mode: A medieval mode whose scale pattern is that of playing D to D on the white keys of a piano.

Double Concerto: A concerto for two solo instruments, and orchestra.

Double Counterpoint: Invertible Counterpoint.

Double Flat: An accidental that lowers the note it preceeds by one whole step.

Double Fugue: A fugue with two themes that occur at the same time.

Double Sharp: An accidental that raises the note it preceeds by one whole step.

Doubly Augmented Sixth Chord: An augmented sixth chord, which contains a sharp second from the tonic.

Dramatic Soprano: A female singer with a slightly lower range than a Lyric Soprano.

Dramatic Tenor: A male singer with a slightly lower range than a Lyric Tenor.

Dynamics: The degrees of loudness or softness in a musical work, and the symbols that represent them.