Music With Ease

Music with Ease > Music Dictionary > Words Beginning with "M"

Music Dictionary
-- M --

Ma (It.). But.
Madriale (It.). A madrigal. Madrialetto (It.). A short madrigal.
Madrigal. This word of uncertain derivation (mandra. flock 1\ has two significations : (1) A short lyrical poem of no fixed form. A
iastoral or amorous song. (2) A vocal composition mostly in bur or five parts, often also in six or three parts, more rarely in seven, and still less rarely in two parts. It had its origin in Italy, where it came into vogue in the sixteenth century, flour-ishing in this and the following century. Next to Italy the madrigal was most successfully cultivated in England. Thomas Morley, one of the most famous madrigalists, tells us (in 1597) that it was, next to the motet, the most ' ' artificial " kind of music, but at the same time one of the most delightful to men of understanding. And he demanded from its composers not only "points" and all sorts of contrapuntal devices, but also "an amorous humour " and an inexhaustible variety of sentiment. Madrigale (It.). A madrigal. Madrigalesco (IL). In the style of the madrigal. Madrigaletto (It.). A short madrigal.
Maestà, Maestade, or Maestate (It.). Majesty.—Can maestà,
with majesty. Maestevole (It.). Majestic. Maestevolmente (It.). Majestically. Maestosamente (It.). Majestically. Maestoso (It.). Majestic. Maestri (It.). The plural of maestro. Maestria (It.). Art, skill, ability.
Maestro (It.). Amaster.—Maestro del coro, a choir-master ; maestrodi canto, a singing master ; maestro di cappella, a chapel-mastei (Capellmeister), conductor ; maestro di musica, a music master.
Maggiolata (It.). A May song.
Maggiore (It.). Major.
Magnificat (Lat.). The name and the first word of the Latin version (the Vulgate) of the song of the Virgin Mary (Luke i. 46) : " My soul doth magnify the Lord," &c.
Main (Fr.). Hand.—Main droite, right hand ; main gauche, left hand.—Main harmonique, the harmonic hand.
Maitre de chapelle (Fr.). A chapel-master (Capellmeister), con-ductor.
Maitre de musique (Fr.). (1) A conductor. (2) A m»sic
Maj estatisch (Ger.). Majestic, in a majestic manner. Majeur (Fr.). Major.
Major. Greater. This term applies to intervals, chords, and scales. (v. Introduction, V. and VI.)
Malinconia (It.). Melancholy, sadness.—Con malinconia, with an expression of melancholy.
Malinconicamente (It.). Dejectedly, gloomily, with an ex-pression of melancholy.
Malinconico, malinconioso, malinconoso (It.). Melan-choly, dejected, sad, gloomy. Mancando (It.). Failing, diminishing in strength, dying away.


Manche (Fr.). The neck of an instrument of the violin or lute class.
Mandola (It.). An instrument in size like a large lute, with catgut
and wire strings, played with a plectrum. Mandolino (It.). A mandoline, a small mandola (q.v.). Mandora (It.). The same as mandola. Manichord. A clavichord.
Manico (It.). The neck of instruments of the violin and lute class.
Manier (Ger.). (I) Manner. (2) A grace, an ornament.
Maniera (It.), Manière (Fr.). Manner.
Manieren (Ger.). The plural of Manier.
Mannerchor (Ger.). A chorus for male voices or a choral body of male singers.
Mannergesangrverein (Ger.). A society for the cultivation of
music for men's voices. Mano ( It. ). The hand. —Mano destra, the right hand ; mano sinistra,
the left hand.
Manual. A keyboard played upon with the hands, in contradistinction to pedals, a keyboard played upon "vitb the feet. Manual is chiefly, indeed almost only, used in speaking of the organ or any other instrument with a pedal keyboard.
Manualcoppel (Ger. ). A coupler connecting different manuals.
Manuale (It.). A manual.
Manubrium (Lat.). The handle, knob, of organ stops. Marcando (It.). Marking, accentuating. Marcatissimo (It.). Very strongly marked, accentuated. Marcato (It.). Marked, accentuated.
March. A musical composition intended to accompany marching, more especially of soldiers. There are two kinds of marches— the quick march, or quick step, and the slow, or pro-cessional, march. Slow marches may be divided into festal and funeral marches. These two last-mentioned species are much more solemn and dignified in their movement than the quick marches, but all of them are mostly in -f time. Quick marches consist oflenest of two halves, each of two parts, and each part of eight, twelve, or sixteen bars. The second half is called the trio. For the most part processional marches have likewise this symmetrical rhythmical arrangement of the dance-form ; but they are not strictly bound to it as quick marches - are. Although \ time is the usual march measure, marches in \, f, and even \ are to be met with.
Marche (Fr.). (1) A march. (2) The succession or progression of chords.
Marche triomphale (Fr.). A triumphal march. Marcia (It.). A march.
Markirt (Ger.), Marque (Fr.). Marked; accentuated. Marseillaise. A French popular revolutionary snr.g of which

Rouget de Lisle, an officer in the army, composed the words and music in 1792.
Martelé (Fr. ), hammered; Martellando, hammering; and Martellato (It.), hammered, are indications sometimes found in music written for stringed instruments played with a bow.
Marziale (It.). Martial, warlike.
Mascherata (It.). A mask, or masque.
Masque. A dramatic entertainment, most frequently with an alle-gorical or mythological subject, and including poetry, vocal and instrumental music, dancing, and above all brilliant costumes, fine decorations, and wonderful machinery. The masque wan one of the predecessors of the opera.
Mass. The chief divisions of the musical mass are: (1) the Kyrie, (2) the Gloria, (3) the Credo, (4) the Sanctus and Benedictus, and (5) the Agnus Dei. Further may be mentioned the Introitus, which precedes the Kyrie, the Graduate, which inter-venes between the Epistle and Gospel, and the Offertorium, which intervenes between the Credo and Sanctus.
Mass (Ger.). Measure.
Màssig (Ger.). Moderate.
Massima (It.). The Maxima (q.v.\
Massimo (It.). Augmented, as regards intervals.
Masur, Masurek, Masurka. German forms of the word " Mazurka."
Matelotte (Fr.). A sailor's dance.
Matinée musicale (Fr.). A morning concert.
Matins. The first of the canonical hours : morning prayer.
Maultrommel (Ger.). A Jew's-harp.
Maxima (Lat. ). The longest note of the old mensurable music. (».
pp. 17 and 55 of Introduction.) Maxime (Fr.). A maxima.
Mazurek and Mazurk,more properly and commonly Mazurka.
A lively Polish national dance in j or J time. Mean. An obsolete name for a middle part or a middle string. Measure. (1) A stately dance. (2) Time, the rhythmical division ' of the portion of music between two bar-lines. (3) A bar. the
portion of music lying between two bar-lines. Medesimo (It.). The same.—// medesimo tempo, the same time. Mediant. The third degree of a scale.
Medius ( Lat. ). The name of one of the accentus ecclesiastici.
Mehrfach (Ger.). Manifold.—MchrfacheIntervalle,compound intervals.—Mehrfacker Kanon, a canon with more than two subjects, —Mchrfache Stimme, an organ stop with several sets of pipes.
Mehrstimmig (Ger.). In several parts.
Meisterfuge (Ger.). The same as Fuga ricercata.
Meistersanger, or Meistersinger (Ger.). Master-singers, the burgher poets and musicians—the successors of the noble Minne-ringer—who flourished in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth


centuries. They formed guilds (Zünfte) in several German towns for the cultivation of the two arts according to strict rules, which were laid down in the Tabulatur. The members of these guilds were of different grades. After the sixteenth century the art of the Aleistersinger began to decay, and their guilds gradually disappeared ; that of Ulm, however, continued till 1839.
Melancolía (It.). v. Malinconia.
Mélancolie (Fr.). Melancholy.
Melange (Er.). A medley, a pot-pourri.
Melisma (Gk.). A grace, the ornamentation of a principal note by auxiliary notes, which in singing are generally executed on one syllable.

Melodía (It.). Melody.
Melodicon. An instrument the sounds of which were produced from a series of tuning-forks which were struck by means of keys. It was invented by Peter Riffelsen of Copenhagen in 1800.
Melódico (It.). Melodic, belonging to melody.
Mélodie (Fr.). Melody.
Melodik (Ger.). The science of melody.
Melodion. A keyboard instrument in which metal bars are made
to sound by a rotating cylinder. Invented in 1806 by Dietz. Melodiosamente (It.). Melodiously. Melodioso (It.). Melodious, full of melody. Mélodíum (Fr.). A kind of harmonium.
Mélodrame (Fr.), Melodramma (It.). A melodrama. (1) The
original meaning of the word was synonymous with "opera." (2) The name has been further applied to a spoken drama accompanied with instrumental music. Ballads and parts of operas and other vocal works have also been sometimes treated melodramatically. (3) A third meaning is that of a play (mostly of a romantic and sensational nature) with incidental and now and then accompanying vocal and instrumental music.
Melody. A succession of notes pleasingly ordered with regard to pitch and time—strictly speaking only with regard to pitch.
Melograph.. An instrument which when attached to a pianoforte notes down what is played on the latter.
Mélomane (Fr.). One who has an inordinate passion, "a mania," for music.
Mélomaníe (Fr.). Inordinate passion for music.
Melopiano. A keyboard instrument, invented by Caldara of Turin in 1870, the peculiar hammer action of which enables the player to produce sustained sounds and a crescendo and decrescetido.
Melopϕa (Gk. ). The art of forming melody.
Même (Fr.). The same.—Même mouvement, the same time.
Men (It.). The elided form of metto (?.».)o
Ménestrels (Fr.). Minstrels.
Ménétriers (Fr.). Minstrels. Now the expression has a bad meaning, and is applied to wretched fiddlers.
Meno, sometimes Men (It.)- Less.—Meno mosso, less quick.
Mensur (Ger.), Mensura (Lat.). Measure, (i) In old men-surable music this word had the meaning of "time." (2) In speaking of organ pipes it is the equivalent of "scale" (q.v.).
Mensuralgesang, or Mensuralmusik (Ger.). Mensurable music, (#. Cantus mensurabilis.)
Menuet (Fr.), Menuetto (It.). A minuet.
Mescolanza (It.). A medley, a quodlibet. Messa (It.). Messe (Fr. and Ger.). The mass. Messa di voce (It.). The increasing and decreasing in loudness of a sustained note in singing. Thus :

Mesto (It.). Sad, melancholy, pensive.
Mesure (Fr.). Measure: (i) Time. (2) A bar.
Methode (Fr.), Metodo (It.). A method.
Metronom (Ger.), Metronome (Fr.), Metronomo (It.). A
metronome. An instrument for measuring time, consisting of a graduated scale and a pendulum with a movable weight. Whether it was invented or only improved by Malzel of Vienna is doubtful ; but through him, at any rate, it was made known in 1816. (v. Introduction, p. 57.)
Metro (It.), Metrum (Lat.). Metre.
Mette(Gen). Matins.
Mezza. v. Mezzo.
Mezza orchestra (It.). Lit., "half the orchestra "—i.e., half the
number of stringed instruments of the orchestra. Mezza voce (It.). Half the power of the voice. Mezzo, m., Mezza, f. (It.). Half, middle, medium. Mezzo forte (It.). Lit., "half-loud." Moderately loud. Mezzo manico (It.). The half shift, or second position, in violin,
viola, &c., playing. Mezzo soprano (It.). A voice lower than the soprano and higher
than the alio. (v. Soprano.) Mezzo soprano clef. The C clef on the second line. (v. C clef,
and § III., pp. 3—6, of the Introduction.) Mi. The third of the Aretinian syllables, and the name of the note
E in France, Italy, &c.
Mi bemol (Fr.), mi bemolle (It.). E flat.
Mi bemol majeur (Fr.), mi bemolle maggiore (It.).
E flat major.
Mi bemol mineur (Fr.), mi bemolle minore (It.). E flat
Mi contra fa (Lat.). Thus the old theorists termed the much dreaded false relation of the tritone (for instance, f b). Mi contra fa est diabolus in musica, they said. (v. False relation. ) Middle C. The once-accented c (c') ; the note on the first leger line below the treble stave, or the first leger line above the bast stave.

Mi diese (Fr.), mi diesis (It.)- E sharp.
Militairement (Fr.), Militare and Militarmente (It.). In
a military, war-like style. Militairmusik (Ger.), (i) Military music. (2) A military band.
Minaccevole, Minaccevolmente (It.). In a threatening
Minacciando (It.). Threatening.
Minaccioso, Minacciosamente (It.). In a threatening
manner. Mineur (Fr.). Minor.
Minim. One of the time values in music ; a note half as long as a
semibreve, and twice as long as a crotchet: iO (v. Introduction,
§ IX., p. 17.) I
Minima (Lat.). A minim, (v. Introduction, pp. 55 and 56.)
Minnesänger, or Minnesinger (Ger.). The German trouba-dours, the noble poet-musicians who flourished in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, (cf. Meistersinger.)
Minor. Less, smaller. Like major, this term applies to intervals, chords, or scales. (». Introduction, §§ VII. and VIII., pp. 12, 13, &c.)
Minore (It.). Minor.
Minuet. A dance of French origin in ternary ti-r>e—usually in J, sometimes in f- time. Its movement and character changed in the course of its career. A courtly stateliness and well-regulated gaiety are its most prominent features. By its introduction first into the Suite and Partita, and afterwards into the Sonata, Symphony, &c., it has become an artistic form of importance. In the sonata and symphony it generally consists of tu o minuets, each of two parts, the first minuet being repeated after the second, which is called the trio (q.v.). The composers in thus treating the minuet artistically have by no means always retained the original nature of the dance; on the contrary, have produced under this name pieces very different in movement and character,
Minuetto (It.). A minuet.
Miracle-Plays. "The miracle-play is distinguished from the mystery because it connects itself less closely with the Scriptures and the services of the Church, and embodies, for the most part, various apocryphal legends about the saints and the Virgin." (v. Mysteries.)
Miscella (Lat.). A mixture stop in the organ.
Mise de Voix (Fr.). The same as messa di voce (q.v.).
Miserere (Lat.). " Have mercy," the first word of the 50th P*alm (the 51st in the English version), and the name given to com-positions of that Psalm.

Missa (Lat.). The mass.
Missa brevis (Lat.). A short mass.
Missa cantata. A chanted mass.
Missale (Lat.).' A missal. The Roman Catholic mass-book. It

contains the words of all that is read or sung in the mass ; but the music only of those parts that appertain to the celebrant or sacred ministers, (v. Accentus.) Missa pro defunctis (Lat.). A Requiem mass, a mass for the
Missa solemnis, or soleunis (Lat.). High mass.
Missklang (Ger.). A discordant sound, one that is out of harmony with the rest. The word has not the meaning of " disson-ance. "
Misteriosamente (It.). Mysteriously. Misterioso (It.). .Mysterious. Misurallt.l. A measure, a bar. Misurato (It.). Measured.
Mit (Oer.). With.—Mit Ausdruck, with expression ; mit Begleitung,
with accompaniment; mit Empfindung, with feeling. Mitklang (Ger.). Resonance.
Mitklingende Töne (Ger.). Overtones, upper partíais.
Mittelcadenz (Ger.). The semi-cadence, or, as some call it, the imperfect cadence, {v. Cadence.)
Mittelstimmen (Ger.). The middle, or inner, parts.
Mixolydian. (1) In the ancient Greek system, the name of one of the octave species b c d efg ct b, also called Hyper'dorian, and of one of the transposition scales. (2) In the old ecclesiastical system it is the name of the seventh (the fourth authentic) mode,
or tone (g~a b ~c~~i e f g). Mixture. An organ stop consisting of several ranks of pipes—from two to five pipes sounding different harmonic notes correspond-ing to each key.
Mode. Species of scale. In the modern system of music there are only two modes, the major and minor ; in the ancient Greek and the mediaeval ecclesiastical system there was a much greater number.
Moderatamente (It.). Moderately. Moderatissimo (It.). Very moderately.
Moderato (It.). Moderate. This term refers generally to time,
movement. Modo (It.). Mode.
Modulate, Modulation. The primary meaning ot to modulate is " to form after a certain mode, to measure off properly." In music it originally meant "to measure rhythmically," then also " to measure melodically "—melodic measurement being synony-mous with "inflection." In modern technical terminology t» modulate signifies " to change the key ; " modulation, "a change of key."
Moduler (Fr.), Moduliren (Ger.). To modulate.
Modus (Lat.). Mode.
Moli {Ger.). Minor.
Mollakkord (Ger.). A minor chord.


Molle (Lat. and It.). Soft, gentle. In mediseval music the Latin word molle was used in the sense of "flat. " B molle -B flat; B durum (hard B) = B natural.
Mollemente (It.). Softly, gently.
Mollis, Molle (Lat.). Soft—.B molle, B flat. Cantus mollis and hexachordum molle, a hexachord and music consisting of the notes f g a bfy c d. The third and sixth hexachords were called "soft. ' (v. Durus, Naturalis, and Solmisation.)
Molltonarfc (Ger.). A minor key.
Molltonleiter (Ger.). A minor scale.
Molto (It.). Much, very, extremely.—Molto adagio, very slow ; molto animato, very animated ; molto allegro, very quick.
Monochord. (I) An instrument formerly used for the measure-ment of intervals. It had one string and a movable bridge. (2) Also a name of the Tromba marina or Trumscheit. (3) A clavichord.
Monocorde (Fr.), MonOCOrdo (It.). A monochord. Monodia (It. ), Monodie (Fr.). A monody. A vocal composition
for one voice without or with accompaniment. Monodrama. A drama in which there is only one actor. Such a
dramatic performance has been often combined with music, thus
becoming a melodrama [g.v.). Monotone. Of one tone. A monotone recitative is one without
melodic inflection, the voice preserving throughout the same
Montant (Fr.). Ascending.
Monter (Fr.). (1) To put strings on an instrument. To tune them. (2) To put the parts of a wind instrument together. (3) To ascend.
Moralités (Fr.), Moralities. Allegorical plays popular in the Middle Ages. The object of these plays was to point a moral, and among the characters that appeared therein were personifi-cations of the virtues, vices, &c. The Moralities were an offshoot of the Mysteries (q.v.).
Morceau (Fr.). A piece.
Mordant (Fr.). A mordent.
Mordent. A grace, an ornament. For a description and illustra-tion see Introduction § XIV., p. 46. Mordente (It. ). A mordent.
Morendo (It.). Dying away, becoming fainter in tone, diminishing in loudness.
Mormorando, Mormorevole, Mormoroso (It.). Murmur-ing, buzzing, whispering.
Morris dance. A dance in imitation of the Moors. In England the Morris dance formed a part of the May-games, although its use was not confined to these occasions.
Mosso (It.). Moved.—Pin mosso, lit., "more moved"—i.e., with more movement, animation.
Mostradt.). A direct.

Motet. A vocal composition in several parts, generally without instrumental accompaniment, set to a sacred text, usually words taken from the Bible. Obbligato instrumental accompaniments, which came into vogue in the seventeenth century, but are to be met with before and after that time, have to be regarded as ex-ceptional. The motet is one of the oldest forms of mensurable music, and has of course undergone many changes. Protestant Germany cultivated it zealously, developing it according to her own taste and mental bias. In earlier times it was the sacred counterpart of the secular madrigal (q.v. ).
Motette (Ger.), Motetus, or Motettus (Lat.),Motetto(It.).
A motet. Motif (Fr.). A motive (q.v.).
Motion. (i) The melodic progression of a part considered by itself. It may be either conjunct or disjunct, that is, the progression may be by degrees or by skips. (2) The melodic progression of two or more parts considered in their relation to each other. There are three kinds of motion : (a) Similar motion, when two parts ascend and descend together. (6) Con-trary motion, when the one ascends and the other descends. (c) Oblique motion, when one part remains stationary while the other ascends or descends.—The simultaneous combination of these three kinds of progression is called "mixed motion."
Motiv (Ger.), Motive. (1) The smallest member of a musical period. (2) A subject of more or less extent.—See Leitmotiv.
MotivO (It.). A motive.
Moto (It.). (1) Motion (q.v.). (2) Movement.—Con moto, with
movement, animation. MotO contrario (It.). Contrary motio;:. Moto misto (It.). Mixed motion. Moto obliqUO (It.). Oblique motion. Moto perpetuo (It.). Perpetual motion. Moto précédente (It.). At the preceding pace, speed. Moto retto (It.). Similar motion. MotteggiandO (It. ). Bantering, jesting. Mottetto (It.). A motet. Motus (Lat.). Motion.
Motus COntrarius (Lat.). Contrary motion. MotUB obliquUS (Lat. ). Oblique motion. Motus rectus (Lat.). Similar motion.
Mouthpiece. That part of a wind instrument which the playei puts in or to his mouth. To the former class of mouthpieces belong those of the oboe, clarinet, and bassoon ; to the latter those of the horn, trumpet, and trombone.
Mouvement (Fr.). Movement.
Mouvementé (Fr.). A piece is said to be bien mouvementé when it is rhythmically well conditioned.
Movement. (1) Motion. (2) Degree of quickness or slowness. (3) A piece of music of one movement. Thus one speaks of the first, second, &c, movement of a sonata ; of the quick and


slow movement of a symphony. Sometimes a division of a work Is called a movement when in reality it consists of several move ments.
Movimento (It.). Movement, time. Muances (Fr.). Mutations. Mund(Ger-). Mouth.
Mundharmoilica (Ger.). Mouth-harmonica. Mundstuck (Ger. ). Mouthpiece.
Murky. An obsolete kind of pianoforte pieces, in which the bass proceeds continually in broken octaves.
Musette (Fr.). (i) A small imperfect instrument of the oboe kind. (2) A French bagpipe. (3) A pastoral air in imitation of the music of the latter instrument, with a drone bass, in |, -J-, and also in -f and \ time. Such airs have also been used as dance tunes.
Musica (Lat. and It.). Music.—Musica da (or di) camera, chamber music ; musica da chiesa, church music ; musica da teatro^ music for the stage.
Musico (It.). (1) A musician. (2) A castrato.
Musikdirector (Ger.). A musical conductor.
Musiker, or Musikus (Ger.). A musician.
Musikfest (Ger.). A musical festival.
Muta (It.). Change! This word is to be met with in some orchestral parts (horns, trumpets, clarinets, &c. ), and indicates that the key has to be changed, which is done either by putting on a different crook (horn and trumpet), or by taking another instrument (clarinet).
Mutation. In the old system of solmisation the change of syllables which had to be resorted to in order that mi and fa should always coincide with a diatonic semitone, (v. Solmisation.)
Mutazione (It.). Mutation.
Mute. The name of various appliances for damping musica! instru-ments. The most important ones are these two : (1) A contrivance like a small comb with three teeth, slit lengthwise, made of wood, horn, or metal, and placed on the bridge of a violin, viola, violoncello, or double bass. (2) A round piece of wood with apertures which is placed in the bell of wind instruments.
Muthig (Ger.). Spirited.
Mystères (Fr.), Mysterien (Ger.), Mysteries. A kind of
religious drama, rude theatrical representations of sacred history in vogue during the middle ages, and deriving their name from the mysteries of the Christian faith of which they treat. The scope of their subjects extends from the Creation to the Last Judgment, comprehending "the whole scheme of man's fall and redemption. " The Passion Plays still performed at Amniergau and some other places are survivals of the old mysteries. As ancestors of our opera and oratorio these latter cannot but greatly interest the student of musical history, (v. Miracle P'.av*. and Moralities. 1

Search this Site




See also:
Middle Ages Music
Renaissance Music
Baroque Era Music
Classical Era Music
Romantic Era Music
Nationalist Era Music
Turn of Century Music

Music With Ease | About Us | Contact Us | Privacy | Sitemap | Copyright | Terms of Use

© 2005-17 All Rights Reserved.