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Online Music Dictionary of Musical Terms Beginning With L


Click on a letter of the alphabet from the list below to go to the page of musical terms that begin with that letter.

 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M

 

N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

Lament: A mournful piece, either meant to be played at a funeral, or to commemorate a death.

Landini Cadence: The melodic cadence that moves in the sequence 7-6-8, used primarily by Francesco Landini, and later by other composers.

Leading Tone: The seventh degree of the diatonic scale, when it is only a half-step below the tonic. It is called "leading" because it gives the feeling of wanting to move up a half-step toward the tonic.

Leap: the movement of a single musical line by more than a second at a time.

Ledger Lines: Lines written above or below the staff to help indicate the correct pitches for notes written outside of it.

Leitmotif: "Leading Motive". Use of a musical phrase to identify with a certain person, place or thing in a dramatic work, especially an opera, usually repeated every time its referrant appeared in the work.

Libretto: The text (lyrics and any spoken parts) of an opera or oratorio.

Lied/Lieder: A German art song, usually those of the Romantic or Classical eras.

Litany: A set of prayers recited by a leader alternating with responses by the congregation, often set in plainsong form.

Locrian Mode: A mode whose scale pattern is that of playing B to B on the white keys of a piano. While this mode theoretically existed in medieval times, it was never used.

Lullaby: A cradle song.

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

Lyric: 1. The words to a song. 2. In a singing and melodious manner.

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

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