Basic Musical Definitions


Brief explanation of the basic terminology in music.


Music is the art of combining and expressing sounds. 1

Music: from Ancient Greek μουσική (mousikḗ): any of the Muses' arts, especially music and lyrical poetry set to music


A succession of various agreeable sounds produces Melody.

Melody: from Ancient Greek μελῳδίᾱ (melōidíā, “singing, chanting”), from μέλος (mélos, “musical phrase”) + ἀοιδή (aoidḗ, “song”), contracted form ᾠδή (ōidḗ). Sequence of notes that makes up a musical phrase


Combined Sounds to be heard simultaneously produce Harmony.

Harmony: from Ancient Greek ἁρμονία (harmonía, “joint, union, agreement, concord of sounds”). A pleasing combination of elements, or arrangement of sounds.


Music is the art of combining sounds, if these sounds are played successively in an agreeable way, they form a melody, but if they are played simultaneously they produce harmony

  1. “Elementary Principles Of Music” New and Improved Method for the Guitar, by Matteo Carcassi, Boston : Oliver Ditson & Co, 1853, p. 4.,  ↩︎

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Basic musical terms definitions..

Basic musical concepts. Understand musical terminology and how concepts relate to each other.
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