The saltarello is a rapid Italian dance in
metre, examples of which survive from the Middle Ages. The rhythm and
of the dance are similar to those of the tarantella. A well known
appears in the final movement of Mendelssohn's 'Italian' Symphony.
The sarabande is a slow dance in triple
found in the baroque instrumental suite. The dance seems to have been
American in origin, imported from Latin America to Spain in the 16th
The saxophone, a single-reed instrument, was
in the middle of the 19th century by Adolphe Sax. It is used widely in
jazz, and has never been a permanent member of the symphony orchestra.
Notable use is made of the saxophone by Ravel in his Boléro and
in his orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and
composers have used the instrument for special effects.
A scale is a sequence of notes placed in
or descending order by step.
A scherzo is a light-hearted movement found
the early 17th century in various forms, but used by Beethoven as an
to the minuet in symphonies, sonatas and other instrumental forms.
expanded the form very considerably. The diminutive scherzino or
is occasionally found, while scherzando occurs as a direction to
The scherzo, like the minuet, is generally used to frame a trio section
of contrasted material.
Unconventional tuning of stringed
lutes and violins, used to facilitate or make available otherwise
or impossible pitch combinations, alter the characteristic timbre
of the instrument to increase brilliance, reinforce certain sonorities
or tonalities by making them available on open strings, imitate other
etc. Used in solo violin part of Mahlers'
Fourth Symphony and Saint-Saens
A musical score is written music that shows
A conductor's score, for example, may have as many as thirty different
simultaneous instrumental parts on one page, normally having the
at the top, followed below by the brass, the percussion and the
A distinction is made between a vocal score, which gives voice parts
a simplified two-stave version of any instrumental parts, and a full
which includes all vocal and instrumental parts generally on separate
To score a work is to write it out in score. A symphony, for example,
be sketched in short score, on two staves, and later orchestrated or
for the required instruments.
Vertical sonorities (harmony) constrcuted
of a second (half-step or whole-step)
The seguidilla or seguidillas is a fairly
Spanish dance. There is a famous imitation of the form in Carmen's
in the first act of Bizet's opera Carmen.
The term semi-opera has been coined to
English dramatic works of the later 17th century that combined spoken
with a significant element of music, as in Purcell's King Arthur, with
a text by Dryden, or in the same composer's The Fairy Queen, an
of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Sempre (Italian: always) is found in
performers, as in sempre piano, always soft.
Senza (Italian: without) is found in
performers, particularly in phrases such as senza sordino, without mute.
A septet is a composition for seven players
name for a group of seven players.
The repetition of a phrase of melody (melodic
and/or a harmonic progression (harmonic sequence) at different pitch
the succession of pitch levels rising or falling by the same or similar
intervals. In a melodic sequence (as distinct from imitation),
repetition occurs within a single voice. Sequences are often
to bring about a modulation. Sequences occur frequently in the
of Baroque composers such as Handel
and in the development sections of works in sonata
form and similar modulatory passages of the Classical
period. The sequential treatment of leitmotifs
is a prominent feature of the musico-dramatic technique of Wagner.
A serenade (= German: Serenade,
often similar in form to the divertimento. Etymologically a piece for
performance, usually outdoors, the counterpart of the morning Aubade,
title came to have a much more general meaning, although it often
a piece of music in honour of someone or something, an extension of the
traditional performance of a lover beneath the window of his mistress.
Serialism is the important 20th century
technique that uses, as a basis of unity, a series of pitches (the
concept was to use all twelve semitones in the octave) in a certain
which may then be taken in retrograde form, in inversion and in
inversion, and also in transposition. The technique, an extension of
romantic chromaticism, was formulated by Arnold
Schoenberg in the 1920s followed by his pupils Alban
Berg and Anton Webern, and
by many other composers. Problems arise for the listener in the
of hearing the series, however visually apparent from the written score.
Serialism may also extend to the other
of musical construction, such as vertical sonorities (harmony), rhythm,
dynamics, timber, etc.
A sextet is a composition for six players or
name of a group of six players.
A sharp, represented by the sign #, added
a note, raises its pitch by a semitone. In general terms music that is
sharp may be simply out of tune, at too high a pitch.
The siciliana or siciliano (= French:
had its probable origin in a Sicilian shepherd dance or song. It came
be associated in the later 17th century with the pastoral, particularly
in the Christmas Concerto of the period. The siciliana is normally in
dotted rhythm and is slow and sometimes melancholy in mood.
The side-drum or snare drum is military in
It is a small drum, played with two wooden sticks, with a band of gut
or wires that can be stretched across the under-surface of the drum to
add a rattling effect when it is struck.
Sinfonia (Italian: symphony) in earlier usage
a passage or piece of instrumental music, sometimes an introductory
leading later to the Italian overture, known as the sinfonia before the
opera, the origin of the Italian symphony.
The sinfonia concertante is a concerto that
two or more solo instruments. The title was used in the later 18th
by Mozart, Haydn and their contemporaries, and has occasionally been
by composers since then.
A sinfonietta is a small symphony. The word
used to indicate a small orchestra.
A Singspiel is a German form of play with
The word is used to indicate a stage work that makes some use of spoken
dialogue, even in a context of primarily musical interest. Examples are
found in Mozart's The Magic Flute and in Beethoven's only opera,
The title sonata originally designated music
was to be played rather than sung. The baroque sonata developed in two
parallel forms. The first, the sonata da chiesa or church sonata, was
of four movements in the order slow-fast-slow-fast, the faster
fugal in character. The second, the sonata da camera or chamber sonata,
was in essence a dance suite. Sonatas of this kind might be played by a
melodic instrument with basso continuo or with a realised keyboard
or in the form of trio sonatas, with two melody instruments and basso
therefore normally involving four players. The classical sonata,
music again generally in several movements, might involve one or more
There was in particular a development of the solo keyboard sonata, from
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to Beethoven. Duo sonatas, generally using a
keyboard instrument and a melody instrument, developed from an earlier
form in which the melody instrument predominated to a form in which the
keyboard assumed greater importance, with an optional accompaniment
a melody instrument. Greater degrees of equality between the two were
in the later violin sonatas of Mozart and the violin sonatas and cello
sonatas of Beethoven.
The 19th century brought an
the sonata and greater freedom in the treatment of existing forms,
with more considerable technical demands on performers, as in the
and piano sonatas and cello and piano sonatas of Brahms.
Sonata-form, otherwise known with similar
as first movement form or sonata-allegro form, developed during the
half of the 18th century as a principal form in instrumental music,
Haydn onwards. The form is based on a triple division of a movement
exposition, development and recapitulation. The first section normally
contains two contrasting subjects, the first in the tonic key and the
in the dominant key or in the relative major of a minor key movement.
section ends with a coda or codetta. The middle section, the
offers varied treatment of themes or parts of themes that have already
been heard. The recapitulation brings back the first and second
now in the tonic key. The movement ends with a coda. The form is used
all kinds of instrumental music, from sonatas to symphonies, and is
and varied in a number of ways.
As the name indicates, sonata-rondo is a
incorporating the sonata
principles in varying degrees. Typical sonata-rondos follow
A B A C A B' A plan in which the first A and B
are treated as the primary and secondary themes of an exposition, the C
section becomes a development, and the second A and B (A B') are
A sonatina is a little sonata, simpler in
and shorter in length than a sonata.
The soprano is the highest kind of female
The word may be used as an adjective to describe instruments of higher
range, such as the soprano saxophone, or to qualify the word clef, the
soprano clef, now little used, puts a C clef on the bottom line of the
Sostenuto (Italian: sustained) is a direction
performers to play smoothly.
The spinet is a small form of harpsichord.
A type of voice production halfway between
speech. It consists of recitation on higher or lower pitches,
however, are merely hinted at in a subdued manner. Sprechstimme
usually notated on a staff by means of crosslike symbols instead of
Both the method and notation were introduced by Humperdinck in his
"Königskinder" (1897). Schoenberg
used it in "Pierrot Lunaire" (1912) and "Die Glückliche Hand"
and Alban Berg in "Wozzeck" and
The staff or stave (plural: staves) indicates
set of lines used for the notation of notes of different pitches. The
stave is in general use, with a four-line stave used for plainchant.
of other numbers of lines were once used. The system, with coloured
for C and for F, followed principles suggested first by Guido of Arezzo
in the 11th century. Staff notation is the system of notation that uses
The stop on an organ is the device that
operation a particular set of pipes.
20th-century composers frequently construct
melodically, just as their predecessors, but many treat separate parts
as distinct elements in the texture. Consequently, parts having
apparent harmonic or contrapuntal connections may be articulated
Such music gives the impression of layers or strata and consequently
the concept of stratification.
In a fugue stretto is the device by which a
voice enters with the subject overlapping a first voice, rather than
after the completion of the subject by the first voice. The word is
used to indicate a faster speed, particularly at the climax of a
String instruments are chordophones,
that sound by the vibration of a string of a certain tension. The
section of the modern orchestra uses first and second violins, violas,
cellos and double basses. A string trio consists of violin, viola and
a string quartet consists of two violins, viola and cello and a string
quintet either of two violins, two violas and cello, as in the case of
Mozart's work in this form, or of two violins, viola and two cellos, as
in the case of Schubert's famous C major String Quintet and the
of Boccheri. Other numbers and combinations of string instruments are
in other ensembles.
With respect to a musical setting of a
characterized by the repetition of the same music for all strophes, as
distinct from through-composed.
A study (= French: étude; German:
is a piece of music originally designed primarily for the technical
of the player. Studies came, however, to be compositions of
musical distinction, as in the case of the Etudes of Chopin or of
(Ger., Storm and Stress) German
of the second half of the 18th century that emphasized the powerful,
and violent expression of emotion. The same may be said for a
of minor-key instrumental pieces of the period around 1765-75,
Mozart, and J.C. Bach.
Though commonly designated as Sturm und Drang compositions, the early
and predominantly Austrian origins of these works, as well as what we
of their composers, make in highly unlikely that any direct influence
the literary Sturm und Drang was involved.
A subject is a theme or group of themes.
A suite is an instrumental piece consisting
shorter pieces. The baroque suite generally contains a series of dance
movements, in particular the allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue.
Later suites of all kinds exist, some formed by extracts of a larger
an opera, ballet or incidental music.
Normally a dissonant (nonharmonic)
tone occurring in a strong metrical position, having been sustained
(or suspended or prepared) from an initial attack as a consonance and
to a dissonance as a result of motion in another voice. It is
often resolved downward by step.
Originally indicating a generally
or composition, as in the case of the brief instrumental introduction
Monteverdi's opera Orfeo, the symphony came to be the principal serious
orchestral form of the later 18th century and thereafter. This later
of the symphony (= Italian: sinfonia) has its immediate origin in the
Italian overture to opera found in the work of Alessandro Scarlatti in
the late 17th and early 18th century. The Italian overture opens with a
fast movement, followed by a slow movement and a final fast
in triple metre. The function of the symphony as an overture continued
into the second half of the 18th century, to be replaced more generally
by its new function as an isolated orchestral form. The classical
of Haydn and Mozart is generally in four movements, opening with a
allegro, followed by a slow movement, a minuet and trio and a rondo
With Beethoven the symphony grew in size and ambition, an example
later by Brahms, Bruckner and others. In the 19th century and into the
20th century the symphony, now much expanded, remained the most
and demanding form that a composer might tackle. A symphony may loosely
be defined as an orchestral composition generally in several movements.