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
tenderly
affettuoso
Italian
hurrying
affrettando
Italian
amiable, pleasant
amabile
Italian
animated, lively
animé
French
with passion
appassionato
Italian
enough, sufficient
assez
French
with
avec
French
getting softer, dying away
calando
Italian
singing
cantando
Italian
as, similar to (come prima – as before, come sopra – as above)
come
Italian
yield, relax with speed
cédez
French
sweet
douce
French
prominent (a direction to make a melody stand out)
en dehors
French
and
et
French
easy
facile
Italian
fire
fuoco
Italian
proper, exact (tempo giusto – in strict time)
giusto
Italian
slow
lent
French
light
légèrement
French
the same (l’istesso temo – the same speed)
l’istesso
Italian
but
mais
French
at a moderate speed
modéré
French
less
moins
French
dying away
morendo
Italian
nothing
niente
Italian
nobly
nobilmente
Italian
not
non
French
dying away
perdendosi
Italian
little
peu
French
more
plus
French
possible (presto possibile – as fast as possible)
possibile
Italian
hurry (en pressant – hurrying on)
presser
French
as if, resembling
quasi
Italian
slow down
ralentir
French
held back (en retenant – holding back, slowing a little)
retenu
French
without
sans
French
resonant, with rich tone
sonoro
Italian
above
sopra
Italian
below (sotto voce – in an undertone)
sotto
Italian
very
très
French
one
un / une
French
swift
veloce
Italian
lively
vif
French
quick
vite
French
voice
voce
Italian
to, at
à
French