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Glossary of Common Terms Found in String Music




A Tempo: Return to the original tempo or previous tempo

Accelerando: Gradually get faster

Adagietto:  A little faster than adagio

Adagio:  Slow

Agitato:  Agitated

Allegro:  Lively; quick

Allegretto:  A little slower than Allegro

Allegro ma non troppo:   Allegro, but not too much

Andante:  Walking tempo

Andantino:  A little faster than Andante

Animato:  Animated

Arco:  Play with the bow

Assai:  Very

Attaca:  To the next section without interruption

Cadenza:  Solo section (passage)

Cantabile:  In a singing Style

Col legno:  Play with the stick of the bow

Con arco:  With the bow

Con moto:  With motion

Con sordino:  With the mute

Detach:  Legato bow changes and notes not separated

Dolce:  Sweetly

Largetto: A little faster than Largo

Largo:  Very slowly

Leggiero:  Lightly

LÕistesso tempo: Continue with the same tempo or beat

Louree:  Slurred notes with space between them to be played in a legato manner

Ma non troppo:  Not too much

Marcato:  Accented, heavy notes

Martelee:  Accented, heavy notes

Meno mosso:  Less motion

Morendo:  Dying away

Non divisi:  Play all the notes

Obbligato: A second part or accompaniment to solo parts

Ossia:  An alternative way to play a section

Pesante:  Heavily

Piu:  More

P.n mosso:  More motion

Pizzicato:  Strings to be plucked

Poco A Poco:  Little by little

Portato:  Slurred notes with space between them played in a legato manner

Presto:  Very fast

Prestissimo:  As fast as possible

Ritenuto:  Slower than the previous section

Rubato: Taking a little more time on some notes for musical expression

Saltato, saltando:  Off the string at the tip of the bow in a ricochet, thrown manner

Sautille: Fast, short notes to be played off the string, but close to the string

Scherzo:  In a playful style

Segue:  Continue without interruption

Sempre:  Always

Senza sordino:  Without the mute

Sostenuto: Sustained

Spiccato:  To be played off the string

Staccato:  Very strong, short notes on the string

Stringendo:  Increasing the tempo suddenly and continually

Sul ponticello:  To be played near the bridge

Sul tasto:  To be played on the fingerboard

Tacet:  Do not play