As I stated before, I have a very rudimentary knowledge of music and its composition. Armed with only with the basics, I feel enormously happy when I stumble across a musical reference I recognize. However, more often I find my understanding lacking and I feel lost in musical language. Rather than give up, I research!

Many terms simply need a bit of context and then I can usually figure out what the composer is trying to say. Such as a Staff is the five lines music is written on, this I was easily able to deduce the meaning after looking at the clues and reaching back into my knowledge base. Conversely, other musical words completely alluded me. I quickly discovered Allegro is not the name of allergy medication, but in fact means to play fast. Books pertaining to writing music, musical dictionaries and the internet where the best resources for descriptions. Equipped with the definition, I could turn back to Allan Blank’s works with a better understanding and appreciation.

Below is a list of musical terms I felt were helpful when processing Blank’s compositions.

Concerto– a piece for one or more soloists and orchestra with three contrasting movements

Chord Progression– A string of chords played in succession

Counterpoint– Two or three melodic lines played at the same time

Development– Where the musical themes and melodies are developed, written in sonata form

Ensemble– The performance of either all instruments of an orchestra or voices in a chorus

Invention– a short composition (usually for a keyboard instrument) with two-part counterpoint

Interval– The distance in pitch between two notes

Measure– The unit of measure where the beats on the lines of the staff are divided up into two, three, four beats to a measure

Movement– A movement is a self-contained part of a musical composition or musical form

Octave– Eight full tones above the key note where the scale begins and ends

Sketch– a short evocative piece of instrumental music

Sonata– an instrumental musical composition typically of three or four movements in contrasting forms and keys

Tablature– A system of notation for stringed instruments. The notes are indicated by the finger positions

Vicissitudes– the quality or state of being changeable

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