Online Music Dictionary of Musical Terms Beginning With P


Parallel Chords: The movement of specific chords or chord combinations up and down a scale.

Parallel Intervals: The movement in two or more parts of the same intervals in the same direction.

Parallel Keys: Major and Minor keys having the same tonic note.

Parallel Motion: The movement in two or more parts of the same intervals in the same direction.

Partial: Either the fundamental or an overtone in the harmonic series.

Partita: 1. A set of variations. 2. A suite.

Part Song: An unaccompanied homophonic song for three or more voices.

Perfect Pitch: The ability to distinguish and identify any given note without any musical or tonal support.

Period: A musical statement, made up of two or more phrases, and a cadence.

Phrase: A single musical idea, or element. Usually very short, often consisting of only one or two measures.

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

Pianissimo: A directive that a passage is to be played very softly.

Plainsong: A monophonic chant which is unmeasured, and unaccompanied; such as gregorian chant.

Polonaise: A stately Polish dance in moderate triple time, often with a repeated rhythmic pattern.

Polychoral: A style in which an ensemble is divided into groups that may perform individually, alternately, or together.

Polyphony: "Many sounds". Music that has many notes sounding together, either in a chordal, or countrapuntal setting.

Prelude: "Play-before". An introductory movement or work.

Program Music: A piece that conveys a picture or story, in contrast to absolute music.

Prologue: An introductory piece that presents the background for an opera.