Vocabulary

Form

Symbols

Lowercase letters indicate musical phrases or subsections: for example, a b indicates a contrasting period;

a b a indicates a phrase, contrasting phrase and return to the original phrase. A prime (as in a a' ) denotes

a phrase and a varied restatement. Capital letters are used to indicate larger sections of compositions.

Terms

Cadence

Cadential extension

Coda

Codetta

Contour

Countermelody

Elision (phrase elision)

Fragment (fragmented motive)

Introduction

Jazz and pop terms

bridge

chorus

song form (AABA)

turnaround

twelve-bar blues

Melodic procedures

augmentation

conjunct

diminution

disjunct

extension, phrase extension

fragmentation

internal expansion

inversion, melodic inversion

literal repetition

motivic transformation

octave displacement

retrograde

rhythmic transformation

sequence

sequential repetition

transposition

truncation

Motive

Period

antecedent

consequent

contrasting period

double period

parallel period

Phrase group

Refrain

Small forms

binary

rounded binary

simple binary

ternary

Solo, soli

Stanza

Strophic

Theme

thematic transformation

Through-composed

Tutti

Variation

Verse

Harmony

Symbols

Roman and Arabic numerals

Capital Roman numerals denote major triads.

Lowercase Roman numerals denote minor triads.

A capital Roman numeral with a “ + ” indicates an augmented triad.

A lowercase Roman numeral with a “ ø ” indicates a diminished triad.

Arabic numerals or figured-bass symbols denote intervals above the bass and

hence indirectly indicate chord inversion. Arabic numerals may indicate voice leading and/or non-harmonic tones.

Triads

6 indicates a first inversion triad

6

4 indicates a second inversion triad

Seventh Chords

7 indicates a root-position seventh chord

o7 indicates a diminished (fully-diminished) seventh chord

Ø7 indicates a half-diminished seventh chord

6

5 indicates first inversion

4

3 indicates second inversion

4

2 indicates third inversion

Other figures

8–7 indicates melodic movement from an octave to a seventh above the bass.

9–8, 7–6, 4–3 indicate a suspension and melodic resolution.

An accidental before an Arabic numeral indicates alteration of the interval involved.

A figure with a slash (e.g., ) or a plus (e.g., 4+) indicates that the note creating the interval in question is raised a half step.

Cadence Types

Authentic Cadence

Imperfect authentic Cadence

Perfect authentic Cadence

Conclusive cadence

Deceptive

Half

Phrygian half

Inconclusive cadence

Plagal

Chord Quality

Triads

augmented or +

diminished or ø

major or M

minor or m

Seventh chords

major seventh (MM; M7) (“major-major”)

dominant seventh (Mm7) (used for "major-minor" seventh chords exercising a dominant function)

minor seventh (m7; mm) (“minor-minor”)

half-diminished seventh (Ø7; dm) (“diminished-minor”)

fully-diminished seventh (ø7; dd) (“diminished-diminished”)

Functions and Progressions

Scale degrees/diatonic chord names

tonic

supertonic

mediant

subdominant

dominant

submediant

subtonic

leading tone

Functions

tonic function

dominant function

predominant function

Circle of fifths

Deceptive progression

Harmonic rhythm

Modulation

common tone modulation

phrase modulation

pivot chord modulation

Neighboring chord

Rate of harmonic change

Realize, realization of a figured bass, realization of a four-part Roman numeral progression

Retrogression

Secondary dominant

Secondary leading tone chord

Tonicization

Treatment of second inversion ( 6/4 ) triads

Arpeggiating 6

4—a 6/4 created by arpeggiation of the triad in the bass (e.g., 1a).

Cadential 6

4—a I 6/4 preceding the dominant, often at a cadence. Although it contains the notes of the tonic triad, it does not exercise a tonic function but

rather serves as an embellishment of the dominant. It occurs in a metrically stronger position than the dominant, and the upper voices most often move by

step to the tones of the dominant. May also be written as V6/4 = 5/3 , including the resolution of the cadential 6/4 to the dominant (e.g., 1b).

Neighboring or pedal 6

4 (embellishing 6/4, auxiliary 6/4 )—occurs when the third and fifth of a root position triad are embellished by their respective upper

neighboring tones, while the bass is stationary, usually occurring on a weak beat (e.g., 1c).

Passing 6

4—harmonizes the second note of a three-note ascending or descending scale fragment in the bass; that is, it harmonizes a bass passing

tone. The usual metric placement is on an unaccented beat and the motion of the upper voices is ordinarily by step (e.g., 1d).

EXAMPLES

1a. Arpeggiating 6

4

1b. Cadential 6

4

1c. Neighboring or Pedal 6

4

1d. Passing 6

4

Non-harmonic Tones

Anticipation

Appoggiatura

Embellishment

Escape tone (échappeé)

Neighboring tone (auxiliary tone, embellishing tone, neighbor note)

double neighbor

lower neighbor

upper neighbor

neighbor group (cambiata, changing tones, changing notes)

Ornament

Passing tone (accented, unaccented)

Pedal point

Preparation

Resolution

Retardation

Suspension

rearticulated suspension

suspension chain

Spacing/Voicing/Position

Soprano

Alto

Tenor

Bass

Close position

Open position

Doubling

Inversion, inversion of chords

Root

Root position

First inversion

Second inversion

Third inversion

Voice Leading

Common tone

Contrary motion

Cross relation (false relation)

Crossed voices (voice crossing)

Direct fifths (hidden fifths)

Direct octaves (hidden octaves)

Oblique motion

Overlapping voices

Parallel motion

Parallel intervals

objectionable parallels

parallel fifths

parallel octaves

Similar motion

Tendency tone

Unresolved leading tone

Unresolved seventh

Voice exchange

Miscellaneous Harmonic Terms

Arpeggio, arpeggiation

Chromatic

Common Practice Style

Consonance

Diatonic

Dissonance

Figured bass

Flatted fifth

Lead sheet

Picardy third

Resolution

Intervals

Compound interval

Half step (semitone)

Interval

Inversion, inversion of an interval

Numerical names (i.e., third, fifth, octave)

Quality or type (e.g., perfect, major, minor, diminished, augmented)

Tritone

Unison (prime)

Whole step (whole tone)

Performance Terms

Antiphonal

Articulation

arco

legato

marcato

pizzicato

slur

staccato

tenuto

Call and response

Dynamics

crescendo

diminuendo

terrace dynamics

pianissimo pp

piano p

mezzo piano mp

mezzo forte mf

forte f

fortissimo ff

Improvisation, improvisatory

Phrasing

Tempo

adagio

allegro

andante

andantino

grave

largo

lento

moderato

presto

vivace

accelerando

ritardando

ritenuto

rubato

Rhythm/Meter/Temporal Organization

Accent

agogic accent

dynamic accent

metrical accent

Anacrusis (pickup; upbeat)

Asymmetrical meter

Augmentation

Bar line

Beat

Beat type

compound

simple

Changing meter (multimeter)

Cross rhythm

Diminution

Dot, double dot

Dotted rhythm

Duplet

Duration

Hemiola

Irregular meter

Meter

duple

quadruple

triple

Note value

Polyrhythm

Pulse

Rhythm

Swing rhythm

Syncopation

Tempo

Tie

Time signature (meter signature)

Triplet

Scales/Keys/Modes

Accidental

Chromatic, chromaticism

Diatonic

Key signature

Major

Minor

harmonic minor

melodic minor, ascending/descending natural minor (Aeolian)

Mode

Ionian

Dorian

Phrygian

Lydian

Mixolydian

Aeolian

Locrian

Modality

Parallel key, parallel major or minor

Pentatonic

Relative key, relative major or minor

Scale degrees

tonic ^1

supertonic ^2

mediant ^3

subdominant ^4

dominant ^5

submediant ^6

leading tone ^7

Tetrachord

Tonal

Tonality

Tonic

Whole-tone scale

Text/Music Relations

Lyrics

Melismatic

Stanza

Syllabic

Texture

Alberti bass

Canon

Canonic

Chordal accompaniment

Contrapuntal

Counterpoint

imitation

imitative polyphony

nonimitative polyphony

countermelody

fugal imitation

Heterophony, heterophonic

Homophony, homophonic

chordal homophony

chordal texture (homorhythmic)

melody with accompaniment

Instrumentation

brass

continuo

percussion

rhythm section

strings

timbre

woodwinds

Melody

Monophony, monophonic

Obbligato

Ostinato

Polyphony, polyphonic

Register

Solo, soli

Tessitura

Tutti

Walking bass

Other terms that may be used on the AP Music Theory Exam

Aria

Art song

Concerto

Fugue

Genre(s)

Interlude

Opera

Prelude

Postlude

Sonata

Song

String quartet

Symphony