P – Dictionary

P…

p Thumb of the right hand. See p,i,m,a  in Left & Right Hand Fingerings

p (Italian) soft. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

pp (Italian) softer than p. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

ppp (Italian) softer than pp. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

pppp (Italian) softer than ppp. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

Pa…

Paar (German) few, pair

Pacato (Italian) placid

Pacatamente (Italian) placidly

Padauk A bright orange or almost crimson wood when freshly cut, but oxidizes more to a dark, rich purple-brown over time. Padauk is slightly harder and heavier than Indian Rosewood. It is stable with a strong tone. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Padovana (Italian) pavan

Paean a song of praise

Pair (French) even

Palabra (Spanish) word

Palcoscenico (Italian) stage

Palindrome a word, verse or piece of music that reads the same forward and backwards

Palindromic a word, verse or piece of music that reads the same forward and backwards

Palm wine a music style from Sierra Leone based on the sound of acoustic guitar riffs accompanied by traditional percussion

Palo Escrito A native wood used by builders in Paracho, Mexico. Its tone is similar to Indian Rosewood, but with slightly wider grain, more figure, and lighter color. It has more visual character than Indian Rosewood and is moderately priced. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Palotache an instrumental piece in duple time from Hungary

Pandiatonicism a passage of music that uses only the tones of a single diatonic scale but does not rely on traditional harmonic progressions and dissonance treatment to establish the tonal centre

Pandoura a lute of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures with a long neck and small soundbox

Panduri fretted three-string lute from Georgia

Pandurina a small lute-like instrument strung with wire

Pan-hu Chinese bowed lute

Panjitar Afghan five-string lute

Parabolic Braces Additional braces that add tremendous stiffness to the back of a guitar. see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Parallel chords a sequence of chords where the intervals remain unchanged as the notes of the chord changes

Parallel intervals the movement in two or more parts of the same intervals in the same direction

Parallel keys two keys, one major and one minor, having the same tonic

Parallel motion when two parts move the same interval in the same direction at the same time

Parap a song style from Malaysia

Pareados two-line stanzas

Part book a single vocal or instrumental part of a composition

Part crossing when two voices cross over each other

Parte (Italian) part

Parti (Italian) parts

Partita (Italian) a suite

Partito (Italian) divided

Partner song two or more different songs that can be sung at the same time to create harmony

Part-writing essense of polyphonic music

Pas (French) not, not any, step

Pasacorredoiras traditional Galician songs

Paseo introduction

Pas d’action a ballet with a dramatic style

Pas de deux a dance for two performers

Pas glissé a single gliding step

Pasichigare traditional Zimbabwe music

Pasillo colombiano a Colombian dance that is danced to a time of 6/8 against 3/4 meter

Pasodoble (Spanish) a lively dance in simple duple time

Passacaglia an instrumental dance form similar to the chaconne in which there is continuing repetition of a theme

Passage a section of a musical work

Passagio (Italian) a written or improvised melodic passage; a transition or modulation

Passecaille (French) passacaglia

Passemezzo (Italian) a old dance in 2 beats in a bar

Passend (German) fitting

Passing note a note that is not part of the prevailing harmony but which, as the harmony changes, arrives at another note consonant with the new harmony

Passion music a religious work

Passionatamente (Italian) passionately

Passionato (Italian) passionate

Passione (Italian) passion

Pastoral an instrumental piece with rural connotations

Pastorale (French) pastoral; an instrumental piece, often written over long drone-like bass notes, with rustic overtones

Pastoso (Italian) mellow, soft

Pastourelles a slow musical composition with more than one group of simple time units in each bar

Pas trop (French) not too much

Pasucais (Spanish) traditional Austrian march

Patetica (Italian) pathetic

Pateticamente (Italian) pathetically

Patetico (Italian) pathetic

Pathétique (French) pathetic

Pathétiquement (French) pathetically

Pathetisch (German) pathetic

Patimento (Italian) suffering

Patsch to lightly slap one’s thigh

Pau Ferro Also known as Caviuna, Bolivian Rosewood, or Palo Santos and looks a lot like Indian Rosewood, but has browns, golds and yellows instead of the purple shades. It’s heavier than Indian and Brazilian Rosewood. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Pau Rosa An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Pausa (Italian) rest

Pausa di biscroma (Italian) thirty-second rest

Pausa di breve (Italian) a double whole rest

Pausa di croma (Italian) a eighth rest

Pausa di minima (Italian) half rest

Pausa di semibiscroma (Italian) sixty-fourth rest

Pausa di semibreve (Italian) a whole rest

Pausa di semicroma (Italian) a sixteenth rest

Pausa di semiminima (Italian) a quarter rest

Pause (English) the fermata sign

Pause (French) rest

Pause (German) rest

Pavan (English) a stately court dance of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries

Pavana (Italian) a stately court dance of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries

Pavane (French) pavan

Paven pavan

Paventato (Italian) timid

Paventoso (Italian) fearful

Pe…

Pearwood An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Pedal steel guitar distantly related to the Hawaiian steel guitar, played by sliding a steel bar up and down the strings, employs a system of pedals and knee levers that mechanically alter the tuning of individual strings while the instrument is being played

Pegbox where on stringed instruments the tuning pegs or, in the case of instrument fitted with a worm gear system, machine heads used to adjust the tension of the strings are fitted

Pegdisc where on stringed instruments the tuning pegs or, in the case of instrument fitted with a worm gear system, machine heads used to adjust the tension of the strings are fitted

Peine, À (French) hardly at all, scarcely

Pendant (French) during

Pénétrant (French) penetrating

Pentatonic Scale see Musical Scales

Per (Italian) by, for, from, in order to

Perdendo (Italian) gradually dying away and becoming slower

Perdendosi (Italian) gradually dying away and becoming slower

Perfect intervals of a unison, octave, fourth, and fifth when they are exactly in tune and neither augmented nor diminished

Perfect interval intervals of an octave, a fifth and a fourth

Perfect prime alternative name for unison

Perfect time in medieval theory, triple time

Perfect unison alternative name for unison

Perfectus (Latin) intervals of a unison, octave, fourth, and fifth when they are exactly in tune and neither augmented nor diminished

Period a complete musical thought, concluded by a cadence, having two phrases, each usually two to eight bars (measures) in length

Periodicities recur at regular intervals

Permutation where a subject recurs with a change in the order of the notes

Però (Italian) however, therefore

Perpetual canon an infinite canon, a round

Pes (Latin) the first section of a canso

Pesant (French) heavy, heavily

Pesante (Italian) heavy, heavily

Pesamment (French) heavily

Pesantemente (Italian) heavily

Petenera a traditional Spanish song in brisk triple time

Petit (French) small, little

Petite

Peu (French) little

Peu à peu (French) little by little

Pezzo (Italian) piece

Pf…

Pfeife (German) pipe

Pfiffig (German) artful

Ph…

Phantasie (German) imagination, fancy, reverie

Phantasy (German) fantasia

Philharmonic a symphony orchestra

Phrase a short musical idea similar to a sentence in spoken language

Phrasing a style of performance that gives shape to the musical phrases

Phrygian cadence A chord progression where the subdominant chord (in first inversion) is followed by the dominant chord. The root of the final chord is approached from a half step  above. In the tonality of A minor, a phrygian cadence would be the subdominant A minor chord (F A D) moving to the dominant E major chord (E G# B). The Phrygian cadence is a special type of half cadence. see Musical Cadences

Phthongos (ancient Greek) a note

Pi…

Piacere (Italian) fancy, pleasure

Piacevole (Italian) agreeable, pleasing

Pianamente (Italian) softly

Piangente (Italian) weeping

Piangendo (Italian) weeping

Piangevole (Italian) mournful

Piangevolmente (Italian) mournfully

Piano (Italian) soft. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

Pianissimo (Italian) softer than Piano. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

Pianississimo (Italian) softer than Pianissimo. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

Pianissississimo (Italian) softer than Pianississimo. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

Pianississississimo (Italian) softer than Pianissississimo. see dynamic symbols in Phrasing Symbols

Pianto (Italian) lamentation, plaint

Picado similar to pizzicato, the striking of a guitar string while playing flamenco music, alternating between the index finger and the middle fingers

Picardy third the use of the major third in the last chord of a piece in a minor key

Piccola (Italian) little

Piccolo (Italian) full

Pick small piece of plastic (or other material including metal, bone or shell) that is used to strum or pluck stringed instruments of the guitar family

Pick-up a single or group of notes that come before the first strong metrical beat, usually the first beat of the measure; device which, when attached to an acoustic musical instrument, converts sound vibrations into an electrical signal

Piece any composition that is a complete in itself

Piena (Italian) full

Pieno (Italian) full

Pietà (Italian) pity

Pietoso (Italian) piteous

Pietosamente (Italian) piteously, tenderly

Pincé (French) pinched, pizzicato

Pink Ivory An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Pink Noise a random noise source characterized by a flat amplitude response per octave band of frequency

Pipa a Chinese lute-like instrument dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) bearing four strings, with a pear-shaped body made of hard wood, measures almost four feet long and a foot across the belly. The neck normally has six ledges made of wood, horn, or ivory, and the belly has twenty-six bamboo frets. The strings are typically plucked, with picks attached to each of the player’s five fingers, with the instrument held vertically in the lap.

Piqué (French) spiccato

Piquiren (German) to play spiccato

Pirekuas Purepecha Indian love songs from Michoacan Mexico

Pistachio Burl An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Pitch The relative position of a tone within a range of musical sounds.

Pitch pipe device that is used to set any pitch of the chromatic scale

Più (Italian) more

Piuttosto (Italian) rather, somewhat

Pivot a chord that is placed in a transition between two keys, serving a different function in each key

Pivot chord a chord that is placed in a transition between two keys, serving a different function in each key

Pizz. (Italian) plucked

Pizzicato (Italian) plucked

Pl…

Placabile (Italian) peaceful, calm, tranquil

Placabilmente (Italian) peacefully

Placidamente (Italian) peacefully

Placidezza (Italian) placidly

Placido (Italian) placid

Placito (Italian) pleasure

Plagal Cadence A chord progression where the subdominant chord is followed by the tonic chord- In the tonality of C major, an plagal cadence would be the subdominant f major chord (F A C) moving to the tonic C major chord (C E G). see Musical Cadences

Plain Strings The treble strings of a guitar. Unwound. see How to Change Classical Guitar Strings

Plainte a slow song or instrumental composition of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries

Plaisant (French) merry

Plaqué (French) chords played together rather than spread or arpeggiated

Plaudernd (German) chattering, babbling

Plectrum a small piece of plastic, wood, bone, leather, quill, or whatever, used to pluck a string

Plein (French) full

Pleine (French) full

Pleno (Italian) full

Plop a rapidly descending glissando at the start of a note, normally sounded just prior to the beat

Plötzlich (German) suddenly

Pluck by picking or pulling them with fingers or a pick, cause the strings on a stringed instrument to vibrate

Plucking point the point at which a string, such as that on a guitar, is plucked relative to the nut. The smaller the distance to the plucking point the more nasal the tone.

Plus (German) more

Po…

Pochettino (Italian) very little indeed

Pochetto (Italian) very little

Pochissimo (Italian) the least possible, the bare minimum

Poco (Italian) a little, rather

Poco a poco (Italian) little by little, gradually

Podium a raised platform for the conductor

Poggiato (Italian) dwelt upon, leant upon

Poi (Italian) afterwards, then

Poi a poi (Italian) by degrees

Poids (French) weight

Poirt (Gaelic) jigs

Polcaí (Gaelic) polkas

Polka a round dance, of Bohemian peasant origin, in quick duple time

Polnisch (German) Polish

Polo a Spanish folk song syncopated and in simple triple time

Polo, El a popular Venezuelan style where singers improvise and sing verses from well known traditional songs usually accompanied by bandolina, guitarra, cuatro, charrasca, maracas and furruco

Polacca (Italian) a stately simple triple time Polish dance from the sixteenth-century

Polonaise (French) a stately simple triple time Polish dance from the sixteenth-century

Polonäse (German) a stately simple triple time Polish dance from the sixteenth-century

Pols Swedish and Norwegian country dance

Polska a simple triple time dance of Scandinavian origin

Polychoral a term used to describe the writing of music in which in a single work distinct choirs of voices and/or instruments are set variously in opposition and in combination

Polychord the simultaneous use of two or more simple chords

Polyharmony two or more complete sets of harmony played against each other

Polymetric music using different time signatures simultaneously

Polyphonic contrapuntal writing

Polyphony contrapuntal writing

Polyrhythmic music that uses several different rhythms at the same time

Polytextual two or more texts set simultaneously in a composition

Polytonal music that uses many keys simultaneously

Polytonality music that uses many keys simultaneously

Pompeuse (French) pompous

Pompeux  (French) pompous

Pomposo (Italian) arrogant, pompous

Ponche any of the rhythmic variations played off of this beat

Ponderoso (Italian) heavily, massively, ponderous

Ponticello (Italian) the bridge of a stringed instrument

Pop music shortened form of popular music

Pop screen a thin gauze screen placed between a singer and a microphone to reduce vocal “popping” and other breath noise

Portamento (Italian) very legato, carrying a instrumental line without gaps

Portando (Italian) portamento

Portato (Italian) portamento

Porté (French) portamento, stave or staff

Portée (French) portamento, stave or staff

Porter de voix (French) to use the portamento

Portuguese guitar not a guitar, but rather an instrument of a family that includes the mandolin and bandurria

Posément (French) steadily, sedately

Position on a stringed instrument, where the left hand is placed to play particular notes

Posizione (Italian) position

Possible (Italian) possible

Postlude anything played after another generally larger piece

Pot-pourri a musical work made up of popular tunes

Pouce (French) thumb

Pour (French) for

Pr…

Prächtig (German) grand

Prachtvoll (German) grandly

Präcis (German) rhythmically precise

Praeludium (Latin) prelude

Präludium (German) prelude

Préamble (French) prelude

Précédemment (French) previously

Precipitando  (Italian) impetuously, hurriedly

Precipitandosi (Italian) impetuously, hurriedly

Precipitato (Italian) impetuously, hurriedly

Précipité (French) impetuously, hurriedly

Precipitosamente (Italian) impetuously, hurriedly

Precipitoso (Italian) impetuously, hurriedly

Precisione (Italian) rhythmically precise

Preciso (Italian) rhythmically precise

Pre-classical music music predating the classical period

Pregando (Italian) praying

Preghiera (Italian) prayer

Prelude a piece that is played before another piece or group of pieces

Préluder to prelude, to tune up

Preludio (Italian) prelude

Premier first

Première first

Prendre (French) to take

 

Prenez (French) take

Preparation a harmonic device in which a note which causes a chord to be discordant is used in the previous chord within which it is concordant

Près (French) near

Presque (French) almost

Pressando (Italian) accelerando

Pressant (French) accelerando

Pressante (Italian) accelerando

Pressez (French) accelerando

Pressieren (German) accelerando

Presto (Italian) quick

Prestissimo (Italian) as quick as possible

Prière (French) prayer

Prima (Italian) first

Prima volta (Italian) first time

Primavera An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

Prime a unison

Primitivism twentieth-century compositions that imitate rhythms, melodies, modes, and techniques of music of indigenous people, or music created or produced naturally in a particular region with its complex rhythms, harmonies, melodies and forms

Primo (Italian) first

Principal leader of the section of an orchestra

Probe (German) rehearsal

Producer an individual tasked to make a coherent whole of the eventual performance

Proemio preface, prelude

Programme music music that interprets an object of contemplation or an emotional experience

Progression movement from note to note or chord to chord

Progressivamente (Italy) progressively

Progressive tonality a sequence that moves a piece of music from one key to another

Progressivo (Italy) progressive

Promptement (French) promptly

Pronto (Italian) ready, promptly

Properties of sound aspects of a sound, such as pitch, timbre, volume and duration, that give it a recognizable and definable tonal character

Proportion the relationship of one note’s duration to one another

Prosody all features of a language, including duration, pitch and stress

Prospectus a pamphlet issued by an opera house detailing the forthcoming season of works and artists

Prova (Italian) a rehearsal

Prova generale  (Italian) a rehearsal to which the public is admitted

Ps…

Psaltery a stringed instrument played with a plectrum

Psaltry a stringed instrument played with a plectrum

Psaume (French) psalm

Psychoacoustics the scientific study of the perception of sound

Pu…

Public address system the venue auditorium sound system

Pulgar a technique for playing the guitar using the thumb, most often a feature of flamenco

Punctus a note, as in counterpoint; a dot after a note that adds one half the original duration to the note

Punta (Italian) point

Puntaires Catalan Easter songs (Spain)

Puntato (Italian) an indication that notes are to be played staccato, signified by dots above or below the note heads

Punteado (Spanish) a style of guitar playing in which the strings are plucked

Punto coronato  the fermata sign

Punto d’organo the fermata sign

Pupitre (French) music stand for two players

Purfling an inlay of wood placed along or just inside the border of the belly and back of instruments of the stringed instrument family, both to protect the edges of the instrument and decorates it22

Purple Heart An alternative wood for the back and sides of a classical guitar. see Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Alternative Wood Choices for Back & Sides see Anatomy of a Classical Guitar

 

 

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