Characteristics of musical keys || A Brief Tutorial on Musical Modes by John Chambers

Musical terminology

Rules for ensemble playing || Rehearsal Police Citation Form

a-b-a form: a musical convention long preferred by composers who can't "C"
a la regretto: tempo assigned to a performance by the conductor AFTER it is panned by the local music critics
Accidental: 1. A sharp or flat notated within the body of the written music which is not part of the key signature. 2. A sharp or flat not notated within the body of the written music typically played by someone in the viola section. 3. Son or daughter of the conductor.
adagio fromaggio: to play in a slow and cheesy manner
al capone: performing while standing on a neutered rooster
al dente con tableau: in opera, chew the scenery
allegro: leg fertilizer
allegro con brillo: the fastest way to wash pots and pans
allegro ma non trippo: fast, but not tripping over your own fingers
anDante: a musical composition that is infernally slow
Agnus Dei: a famous female church composer
Angus Dei: a divine, beefy tone
antiphonal: referring to the prohibition of cell phones in the concert hall
a patella: unaccompanied knee-slapping
appologgiatura: an ornament you regret after playing it
approximatura: a series of notes played by a performer and not intended by the composer, especially when disguised with an air of "I meant to do that"
approximento: a musical entrance that is somewhat close to the correct pitch
arguemento: a disagreement between the conductor and the composer
atonality: disease that many modern composers suffer from; the most prominent symptom is the patient's lacking ability to make decisions
augmented fifth: a 36-ounce bottle
baffoon: baboon with bassoon
baggaggetto: what your new voice teacher calls the teachings of your old voice teacher
barbie dolce: sweet but plastic
bar line: what musicians form after a concert
bass lure: a seductive refrain
basso continuo: the act of game fishing after the legal season has ended
basso obstinato: a ground bass one can't get out of one's head once it's been heard or played
basso profundo: an opera about deep sea fishing
basso refundo: the sad but predictable consequence of the ill-fated "Three Basses" concert tour
bowlero: muzak that's right up your alley
brake drum: the instrument most used to slow the tempo in an orchestra
bull horn: a brass instrument that plays notes you wouldn't believe
cantus firmus: the part you get when you can only play four notes
cacoughany: a composition sung by many people with chest colds
clarinest: the pile of unusable reeds accumulated during an average rehearsal session
clausula: Mrs. Santa
coloraflora: the corsage worn by a diva
Con spirito: drunk again
con folko: to sing like Pete Seeger or Joan Baez
Concert hall: a place where large audiences gather for the sole purpose of removing paper wrappings from candy and gum.
concerto con carne: a piece for single instrument played in a "chili" manner
concerto grosso: 1. a really BAD performance. 2. a concerto written for accordion and orchestra.
contrababoon: the simian assistant of a Latin American revolutionary organ grinder
Coral Symphony: (see: Beethoven -- Caribbean period)
cornetti trombosis: disastrous entanglement of brass instruments that can occur when musicians are not careful exiting the stage
crashendo: the increasing sense of aggravation felt by band members as those trumpet players keep dropping their mutes on the hard stage floor
crotchet: it's like knitting but it's faster
cut time: when you're going twice as fast as everybody else in the ensemble.
d.c. al capone: you betta go back to the beginning, capiche?
dill piccolo: a wind instrument that plays only sour notes
diminderwindo: fading of daylight at dusk, as seen from indoors
diminuendo: the process of quieting a rumor in the orchestra pit
Doppelgängesang: when two opera singers decide to sing the same aria at the same time
eardrum: a teeny, tiny timpani
etude brute: an early form of Roman music performed with a rapid, sharp, repetitive beat
Fandango: grabbing the pull chain on the ceiling fan
fermantra: a note that is held over and over and over and...
fermatahorn: an Alpine wind instrument used for playing long notes
fermoota: a rest of indefinite length and dubious value
fiddler crabs: grumpy string players
flute flies: gnat-like bugs that bother musicians playing out-of-doors
fog horn: a brass instrument that plays when the conductor's intentions are not clear
fortississippi: with mighty, flowing strength
frugalhorn: a sensible, inexpensive brass instrument
fruitti tutti: a chorus singing together in an exaggerated, overripe manner
Gaul blatter: a French horn player
good conductor: a person who can give an electrifying performance
gregorian champ: monk who can hold a note the longest
ground brass: when someone in the marching band drops a sousaphone
ground hog: someone who takes control of the repeated bass line and won't let others play it
harpomarxian mode: to mime along with the choir when you don't know what mode is being sung
hautboisie: the elite society of anyone who can actually play the oboe (according to oboists)
hemiola: a heart disease caused by singing too high
hocket: the thing that fits into a crochet to produce a rackett
incandenza: the lighting in the concert hall
interval: how long it takes you to find the right note. There are three kinds: major interval: a long time; minor interval: a few bars; inverted interval: you have to back one bar and try again
intonation: singing through one's nose. Considered highly desirable in the Middle Ages
kvetchendo: gradually getting ANNOYINGLY louder
Largo: beer brewed in Germany or the Florida Keys
maestrousseau: at the pace of a wedding march
Major: when the viola section is more than 3 measures ahead of or behind the rest of the orchestra; see also Minor.
mallade: a romantic song that's pretty awful
matterhorn: an instrument of cosmic influence designed to create something out of nothing
metronome: a dwarf who lives in the city
Minor: when the viola section is less than 3 measures ahead of or behind the rest of the orchestra' see also Major; 2. age group of the girl living with the conductor.
molto bolto: head straight for the ending, but don't make it seemed rushed
mucho caffinato: play loudly enough to wake up those sleeping in the audience
musica ficta: when you lose your place and have to bluff till you find it again; also known as faking
neumatic melisma: a bronchial disorder caused by hockets
nientendo: little nothings written for video games
noctearn: scale payment for a night gig
oraToro: a lawn mower may be substituted for the original instrumentation at this point
opera buffa: musical stage production at a nudists' camp
phewgue!: any organ composition written by J.S. Bach
phollyphonic: badly arranged harmonizations
pianisissymode: the unfortunate outfits that some child prodigies are forced to wear
pianorama: instrument capable of broad, sweeping musical performances
pizzacato: the act of removing anchovies from an Italian dish with short, quick motions and tossing them to a nearby awaiting feline friend
pollyphonic: orchestra made up of lots of parrots
placebo domingo: a faux tenor
poco a loco: deteriorating state of sanity caused by practicing the same passage for three day
presto chango: quickly going from a very fast to a very slow tempo
Refrain: proper technique for playing bagpipes, accordion, or banjo
Ricercar: a Japanese automobile
ritornello: an opera by Verdi
rooti tooti: use of a potato as a trumpet mute
rubato: expression used to describe irregular behaviour in a performer with sensations of angst in the mating period; especially common among tenors
Sancta: Clausula's husband
schmaltzando: a sudden burst of music from the Guy Lombardo band
Sfarzando: sound made by members of the percussion section by cupping right hand under left armpit and moving left elbow up and down.
Slur: a comment made in private by a member of the orchestra concerning the conductor.
spinet: politician's order
spritzicato: plucking of a stringed instrument to produce a bright, bubbly sound, usually accompanied by sparkling water with lemon (wine optional)
status cymbal: an instrument to be played at inaugurations and socialite balls
stops: something Bach did not have on his organ
stuckatto: playing the same staccato vamp over and over because the soloist can't find the entrance
tempo tantrum: what an orchestra has when it won't follow the conductor
timpani alley: a row of kettledrums; term originated in New York City area
tincanabulation: the annoying or irritating sounds made by a non-musical person using extremely cheap bells; from Poe's "The Bells" and "tin cans"
toiletto: the effect on the human voice of reverberation in small rooms with ceramic tiles
Tonic: a medicinal drink consumed in great quantity before a performance and in greater quantity afterwards.
transposition: an advanced recorder technique where you change from alto to soprano fingering (or vice-versa) in the middle of a piece
trotto: an early Italian form of Montezuma's revenge
trouble clef: any clef one can't read, e.g., the alto clef for pianists
vesuvioso: a gradual buildup to a fiery conclusion
viola da caramba: a string player who can only get work in a fiesta band

Rules for ensemble playing-- they work every time!
1. Everyone should play the same piece.
2. Stop at every repeat sign and discuss in detail whether to take the repeat or not. The audience will love this a lot!
3. If you play a wrong note, give a nasty look to one of your partners.
4. Keep your fingering chart handy. You can always catch up with the others.
5. Carefully tune your instrument before playing. That way you can play out of tune all night with a clear conscience.
6. Take your time turning pages.
7. The right note at the wrong time is a wrong note (and vice versa).
8. If everyone gets lost except you, follow those who get lost.
9. Strive to get the maximum NPS (note per second). That way you gain the admiration of the incompetent.
10. Markings for slurs, dynamics and ornaments should not be observed. They are only there to embellish the score.
11. If a passage is difficult, slow down. If it's easy, speed it up. Everything will work itself out in the end.
12. If you are completely lost, stop everyone and say, "I think we should tune."
13. Happy are those who have not perfect pitch, for the kingdom of music is theirs.
14. If the ensemble has to stop because of you, explain in detail why you got lost. Everyone will be very interested.
15. A true interpretation is realized when there remains not one note of the original.
16. When everyone else has finished playing, you should not play any notes you have left.
17. A wrong note played timidly is a wrong note. A wrong note played with authority is an interpretation.

Rehearsal Police Citation Form
Rehearsal Police Summons:

Name of offender:	________________________
Date/Time of Offense:	________________________
Instrument:		________________________
Location:		________________________

$10.00	__ Stupid questions
$25.00	__ Really stupid questions
$300.00	__ Really stupid questions which increase rehearsal length
$500.00	__ Long, detailed discussion/excuse rationalizing mistakes

$25.00	__ Musicology
$50.00	__ Historical nitpicking
$10.00	__ Obtrusive foot-tapping
$15.00	__ Uninvited conducting
$25.00	__ Questioning concertmaster's or principal's bowings
$100.00	__ Comparing concertmaster's or principal's bowings with what Philadelphia Orchestra did under Ormandy

$50.00	__ Insane cackling at conductor's bad jokes
$10.00	__ Loud and forced horse laugh at conductor's bad jokes
$40.00	__ Unwarranted beatific smile while playing (strings)
$35.00	__ Conspicuous professional reading (e.g. international musician)
$75.00	__ Stultifyingly minute bowing/breath questions
$95.00	__ Conversing with conductor in a language other than English
$35.00	__ Active and public nodding in agreement with conductor
$25.00	__ Pencil behind ear
$15.00	__ Conspicuous part marking
$500.00	__ Letting pencil clatter on stand after conspicuous part marking
$150.00	__ Obvious, insipid consultation of conductor's score during break
$90.00	__ Reference to obscure recordings/performances
$15.00	__ Pretending to understand absurd metaphor
$25.00	__ Understanding absurd metaphor

$25.00	__ Playing high notes louder than possible (brass)
$200.00	__ Holding same 1/4 beat longer than everyone else (brass)
$100.00	__ Discussing technique during rehearsal
$200.00	__ Discussing technique during break
$500.00	__ Discussing technique with guest artist (at any time)
$30.00	__ Tiresome time-consuming anecdotes
$60.00	__ Tiresome time-consuming anecdotes about famous musician (2nd hand)
$90.00	__ Tiresome time-consuming anecdotes about famous musician (1st hand)
$50.00	__ Naming yourself after a dead composer
$100.00	__ Naming yourself after a live composer
$150.00	__ Feigning European birth by 'lapsing' into foreign languages


$50.00	__ Selling Amway
$15.00	__ Inviting conductor to party
$100.00	__ Inviting guest artist to party
$200.00	__ Showing pictures of guest artist at party at first rehearsal after party

 Signature of citing official


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Last revised 05/28/09