Twelve-tone operators represent those operations
most frequently used to transform tone rows.
Moves all the pitch classes in an ordered set
or tone row up by the same number of semitones. We say a set is transposed
upward by "n" semitones using the the designation Tn.
Vertically mirrors the original intervals in
an ordered set or tone row. For example, E, a major third up from
C, inverts to Ab, a major third below C.
The reverse order of an ordered set or tone row
Retrograde Inversion (RI)
The reverse order of the inversion of an ordered
set or tone row
Tafelmusik (German: table-music; = French: musique
de table), indicates music used to accompany banquets. Telemann provides
a well known example in three sets of Musique de Table, more commonly seen
now under the German title, Tafelmusik.
The tambourine is a small single-headed hand-drum
with jingles in its wooden frame. It is an instrument of some antiquity,
but first found an occasional place in the symphony orchestra only in the
19th century, when it came to be used for exotic effects, as in the Capriccio
espagnol and Sheherazade of Rimsky-Korsakov, where it gives a touch of
the Spanish and the Middle Eastern respectively.
The tam-tam is a gong, an instrument of Chinese origin
in its Western orchestral form. It is first found in this context towards
the end of the 18th century, when it is used for dramatic effect. Gustav
Holst makes use of the tam-tam in Mars, from The Planets, and sets of gongs
of a more obviously oriental kind are used by Puccini in his operas Madama
Butterfly and Turandot.
Tanto (Italian: so much) is occasionally found in
tempo indications, as in allegro ma non tanto, similar in meaning, if slightly
weaker than allegro ma non troppo, allegro but not too much.
The tarantella is a folk-dance from the Southern
Italian town of Taranto. A 6/8 metre dance of some rapidity, it has been
connected, by a process of false etymology, with the tarantula spider and
either the effects of its bite or a means of its cure. There are well known
examples in piano pieces by Chopin and by Liszt.
The Te Deum (Latin: We praise Thee, O Lord) is a
canticle sung in thanksgiving and forming a part of the Divine Office,
where it appears after Matins on Sundays and major feast days. It later
formed part of the Church of England morning service. Well known examples
are found in two settings by Handel, the Utrecht Te Deum and the Dettingen
Te Deum , with more elaborate settings in the 19th century from Berlioz
Temperaments are the various alterations of strict
tuning necessary for practical purposes. Equal
temperament, now in general use, involves the division of the octave
into twelve equal semitones, a procedure that necessitates some modification
of intervals from their true form, according to the ratios of physics.
Equal temperament, exemplified in Johann
Sebastian Bach’s 48 Preludes and Fugues for the Well-Tempered Clavier,
won gradual acceptance in the 18th century, replacing earlier systems of
tuning. It has been plausibly suggested that the system of equal temperament
was borrowed from China, where its mathematical basis was published towards
the end of the 16th century.
Tempo (Italian: time) means the speed at which a
piece of music is played. Sometimes the exact tempo is given at the beginning
of a piece of music with the number of beats to a minute, as measured by
a metronome. More often tempo indications give the performer more latitude,
although the Hungarian composer Belá Bartók, for example,
gives exact timings, often of each section of a work. In much earlier music
the tempo is implicit in the notation or in the type of music.
The tenor voice is the highest male voice, except
for the falsetto or otherwise produced register of the male alto and male
soprano. In the Middle Ages the word had a different meaning. The tenor
part of a vocal composition was the thematic basis, borrowed often from
plainchant. The tenor voice came to assume the principal roles in opera,
largely replacing the castrato by the later 18th century. Various forms
of tenor voice are demanded, particularly in opera, where the strong Heldentenor,
(heroic tenor), met the requirements of Wagner, while other composers made
use of lighter-voiced lyric tenors. The word tenor is also used adjectivally
to describe instruments with a pitch lying between bass and alto, as, for
example, the tenor trombone or, in earlier times, the tenor violin. The
tenor clef, a C clef placed on the second line from the top of the five-line
stave, is used for the upper registers of the cello and bassoon and for
the tenor trombone.
In early polyphony (c. 1200 to 1500 and later),
the part that carries the "cantus firmus" and therefore is the basis for
the addition of other parts. In the earliest stages of polyphony
this part was called "vox principalis" (c. 900) or "cantus" (11th century).
It came to be called "tenor" (from the Latin "tenere"; to hold) in connection
with e development of melismatic organum,
in which te notes of the "cantus" were drawn out and sustained. In
the motets of the 13th and 14th
centuries the tenor usually carries only a single syllable or word, because
its melody is taken from a melisma (not a fully texted section) of a chant
Ternary form is a tripartite musical structure, three-part
song-form, in which the third part is an exact or modified repetition of
the first. Standard examples of ternary form can be heard in the minuet
and trio movements of Haydn and Mozart or in the more expanded scherzo
and trio movements of Beethoven.
A collection of four pitches.
A theme is a complete tune or melody which is of
fundamental importance in a piece of music. Thematic metamorphosis or thematic
transformation describes a process used by Liszt and others in which a
theme may undergo transformation to provide material to sustain other movements
or sections of a work, where new and apparently unrelated themes might
otherwise have been used.
The theremin, an electronic instrument invented by
Léon Thérémin, a scientist of French origin who lived
and worked in Russia, has the original feature of being played without
the performer touching it. Frequencies and dynamics are controlled by the
movement of the player’s hands in the air, with pitch varying according
to the distance of the right hand from an antenna and dynamics varying
by the similar use of the left hand.
Without internal repetitions, especially with respect
to the setting of a strophic or other text
that might imply the repetition of music for different words; e.g.,
a song in which new music is composed for each stanza of text.
The quality of a tone as produced by a specific instrument,
as distinct from the different quality of the same tone if played on some
other instrument. As shown by Helmholtz
and others, tone color (timbre) is determined by the harmonics,
or, more precisely, the greater or lesser prominence of one or another
harmonic. The combination of particular harmonics, or partials, for
a specific instrument is referred to as it formant.
Time, unlike the word tempo, which means speed or
pace, is used in music for the metrical divisions or bar-lengths of a piece
of music. These are indicated by two numbers at the beginning of a work
or at the introduction of a changed time by two numbers that form a time-signature.
The higher of the two numbers shows how many beats there are in a bar,
while the lower number shows what kind of note it is. In this way a duple
time-signature of 2/4 means that each bar consists of two quarter notes
or crotchets or their equivalent in notes of shorter or longer duration.
An indication of compound time such as 6/8 shows that there are six quavers
or eighth notes in each bar, although in faster speeds these will be in
two groups of three. Prime higher numbers such as five or seven necessitate
asymmetrical groupings of notes.
Timpani, kettledrums, unlike most other drums, have
a definite pitch, tuned nowadays by pedals, but in earlier times by taps
that served the same purpose, tightening or slackening the skin to produce
higher or lower notes. In the later 18th century pairs of timpani were
generally used in conjunction with pairs of trumpets, both instruments
being of military origin. Beethoven made novel use of the timpani, as in
his Violin Concerto, where they play an important part. Other composers
made still greater use of the timpani, most eccentrically Berlioz, who
calls for sixteen timpani and ten players in his Grande Messe des morts
A toccata is an instrumental piece, often designed
to display the technical proficiency of a performer and found particularly
in keyboard music from the 15th century onwards. There are notable examples
in the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach, with some toccatas containing
a series of movements.
Tombeau (French: tomb, tomb-stone) is a title used
by French composers in tributes offered to predecessors or contemporaries.
Ravel had recourse to this baroque title in his 1914 Tombeau de Couperin.
In Western music, the organized relationships of
tones with reference to a definite center, the tonic, and generally to
a community of pitch classes, called a scale, of which the tonic is the
principal tone; sometimes also synonymous with key. The system of
tonality (sometimes termed the tonal system) in use in Western music since
about the end of the 17th century embraces twelve major and twelve minor
keys, the scales that these keys define, and the subsystem of triads and
harmonic functions delimited in turn by those scales, together with the
possibility of interchange of keys. A piece embodying this system
is said to be tonal.
A highly dissonant, closely spaced collection of
pitches sounded simultaneously, at the piano, usually by striking a large
number of keys with the hand or arm. The term was coined by Henry
Cowell, who made considerable use of tone clusters in his own music
from around 1912.
A tone poem (= German: Tondichtung) is a symphonic
poem, an orchestral composition that seeks to express extra-musical ideas
in music. The term Tondichtung was preferred by Richard Strauss, a master
of the form.
The momentary treatment of a pitch other than the
tonic as if it were the tonic, most often by the introduction of its own
leading tone or fourth scale degree or both. The resulting harmony
is most likely to be the dominant of the tonicized pitch and is in such
a case often termed a secondary dominant. The triad formed on the
leading tone of the tonicized pitch may also function in this way.
Tonicization, which may be prolonged beyond a single chord or two is nevertheless
a local phenomenon, as distinct from modulation, which implies an actual
change in tonic. The boundary between the two, however, is not always
easily fixed in practice.
Music may be transcribed or arranged for instruments
other than those for which it was originally designed. Well known transcriptions
are found among the short pieces arranged for violin and piano by the famous
violinist Fritz Kreisler.
Music may be transposed when the original key is
changed, a process all too necessary in accompanying singers and for whom
a transposition of the music down a tone or two may be necessary. Some
instruments are known as transposing instruments because the written notes
for them sound higher or lower than the apparent written pitch, when they
The orchestral flute (= Italian: flauto traverso)
is transverse, held horizontally, as opposed to the recorder, which is
The treble voice is a voice in the higher register.
The word is generally used for the unbroken voice of boys, although the
register may be similar to that of the female soprano. Treble instruments
are instruments of higher register and the G clef in use for this register
is commonly known as the treble clef. Originally the treble or triplum
was the third part added above a duplum or second additional part, lying
above the lowest part, the tenor of the medieval motet.
Tremolo (Italian: trembling) indicates the quick
repetition of a note, particularly in string-playing. This is impossible
on the keyboard with a single note, but tremolo effects can be achieved
by playing in rapid alternation two notes of a chord.
The triangle is now part of the orchestral percussion
section. It is an instrument of indefinite pitch made from a steel bar
bent into the shape of an equilateral triangle and is played by being struck
with a steel beater or, for softer effects, a wooden stick. It was used
occasionally in opera in the earlier 18th century, but came into its own
with the Turkish music of, for example, Mozart’s opera The Abduction from
the Seraglio (Die Entführung aus dem Serail). Its appearance in Liszt’s
E flat Piano Concerto in 1853 caused some amusement among hostile critics.
Tremolo effects are occasionally demanded.
A collection of three pitches, especially any of
the four (trichords) making up a twelve-tone
A trill is a musical ornament made by the more or
less rapid alternation of a note and the note above, in the classical period
generally starting on the latter.
A trio is a composition designed for three players
or the name of a group of three players. The word also indicates the central
contrasting section framed by a repeated minuet or scherzo.
The trio sonata, the most popular of middle and late
Baroque instrumental forms, is a sonata for two melody instruments and
basso continuo, usually a bass instrument and a chordal instrument, and
consequently usually calls for four players. Trio sonatas are found at
their best in the work of Corelli at the end of the 17th century. These
consist of two sets of a dozen church sonatas (sonate da chiesa) and two
sets of a dozen chamber sonatas (sonate da camera). There are distinguished
later examples by Telemann, Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach, although
the six organ Trio Sonatas by Bach interweave three strands of melody,
one for each hand and one for the feet, and are, of course, for one player.
The trombone made its first appearance in the middle
of the 15th century. It is a brass instrument with a cup-shaped mouthpiece
and a slide that enables the player to shorten or lengthen the tube and
hence the notes of a particular harmonic series. The early trombone was
known in English as a sackbut. The instrument had ceremonial associations
and in the later 18th century was only occasionally used in the orchestra,
notably by Mozart in his masonic opera The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)
and in his Requiem Mass. With Beethoven the trombone becames an accepted
if not indispensable part of the orchestra.
Troppo (Italian: too much) is found in tempo indications,
warning a player not to overdo an effect, as in allegro ma non troppo,
allegro but not too much.
Troubadours were the court poets and composers of
Southern France in the 12th and 13th centuries. The trouvères flourished
particularly in the 13th century to the north of the country. Their surviving
music forms an important body of secular song from this period.
The trumpet has a long remoter ancestry. The modern
trumpet, a standard member of the brass section of the orchestra, differs
from its predecessors in its use of three valves, by which the length of
the tube can be changed to produce the notes of the harmonic series from
different fundamentals. Baroque trumpeters came to specialise in the use
of the upper or clarino register of the valveless natural trumpet, a register
in which adjacent notes were possible. Experiments during the 18th century
led to the short-lived keyed trumpet, which could play adjacent notes in
the lower register as well. This was used by Haydn in his 1796 Trumpet
Concerto. The valve trumpet came into relatively common use in the second
quarter of the 19th century. Trumpets are built in various keys, although
the B flat and C trumpets are now most often found.
The tuba provides the bass of the orchestral brass
section, with varying numbers of valves to allow the shortening and lengthening
of the tube. It was developed in the second quarter of the 19th century.
Tubular bells, tuned metal tubes suspended from a
vertical frame, are used in the percussion section of the modern orchestra
for special effects, making their earlier appearance primarily in opera.
The tuning-fork, an English invention of the early
18th century, is a two-pronged metal device used to give a note of fixed
pitch when it is struck against a hard surface. Its musical use is for
the tuning of other instruments to a standard pitch.
Alla turca (Italian: in the Turkish manner) is found
in descriptive titles of music towards the end of the 18th century and
thereafter, as in Mozart’s well known Rondo alla Turca, Rondo in the Turkish
Style. Turkish music, at that period, was superficially imitated, principally
by the use of triangle, cymbals and bass drum, added to a supposedly typical
melody of martial character, derived remotely from the Janissary band.
Tutti (Italian: all) is used in orchestral music
to distinguish the part of a solo instrument from that of the rest of the
section or orchestra. In English this Italian plural adjective has come
to be used as a noun, as in the phrase ‘an orchestral tutti’, meaning a
passage played by the whole orchestra, or at least not specifically by
An ordered collection containing all twelve unduplicated
classes used as the basis for twelve-tone composition. Twelve-tone
rows are by definition ordered. Therefore, pitch classes remain adjacent
to the same pitch classes regardless of how the row is transformed.
Twelve-note composition is composition by the use
of the twelve semitones of the octave in a predetermined order or series,
which may be inverted, written in retrograde form or in retrograde inversion,
and transposed (See TTOs). The system of composition,
developed by Arnold Schoenberg
in the early 20th century, has had a strong influence over the course of
music of the 20th century (see Serialism).