Terms of Musical Expression

The links below provide more terms, including Italian, French and German, all needed to pass the theory exams.

Alphabetised by 'Musical Term'

English
Symbol
Musical Term
Language
lively
Italian
at, to, by, for, in the style of
a
Italian
to the, in the manner of
al, alla
Italian
broadening (getting a little slow and probably louder)
allargando
Italian
slightly faster than andante
andantino
Italian
very
assai
Italian
with
con, col
Italian
sweetly
dolce
Italian
and
e, ed
Italian
expressive
espressivo
Italian
loud, then immediately soft
fortepiano
Italian
playful, merry
giocoso
Italian
very slow, solemn
grave
Italian
graceful
grazioso
Italian
rather slow (not as slow as largo)
larghetto
Italian
slow, stately
largo
Italian
but
ma
Italian
majestic
maestoso
Italian
over or under the notes means accented and slightly separated
marcato
ItalianDirection
less
meno
Italian
Dots inside a slur over or below the notes mean the notes should be slightly separated, but less so than notes with ordinary staccato
mezzostaccato
Italian
very, much
molto
Italian
movement
mosso
Italian
movement
moto
Italian
not
non
Italian
more
più
Italian
fast
presto
Italian
without
senza
Italian
forced, accented
sforzando
Italian
in the same way
simile
Italian
sustained
sostenuto
Italian
A wedge sign above or below the notes indicates super-staccato, played as briefly as possible and possibly accented
staccatissimo
Italian
over or below the note means the note is given a slight pressure
tenuto
Italian
held
tenuto
Italian
too much
troppo
Italian
quick
vivo
Italian