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Music Terminology

Definitions and translations of common terms you might encounter while searching for music or information about music

Italian Publishing Terms

Italian English
a cura di edited by
ampliato enlarged
annuario yearbook
appresso published (by)
atti acts, proceedings (of a conference)
aumentato enlarged
casa editrice publishing house
cenno note
disponibile available
inedito unpublished
libro book
nuovo new
opera works
opera omnia complete works
proprieta letteraria copyright
quaderno part, number
raccolta collection
redattore editor
ricerca research
ristampa reprint
rivista review
rivisto revised
tipigrafo printer
traduzione translation
tratto taken
unico single


Italian Names for Instruments

Italian English
arpa harp
archi strings
campanelli bells; glockenspiel
cassa drum
chitarra guitar
clavicembalo harpsichord
corno horn
fisarmonica accordion
grancassa / gran cassa bass drum
nastro tape
piatti cymbals
salterio hammered dulcimer
strumenti a tastiera keyboard instruments
tromba trumpet
tamburo drum; snare drum
tamburello tambourine


Other Italian Music Terms

Italian English
acuto high (voice)
a capella without accompaniment (as in a chapel)
col; colla; colle with (e.g. col legno, with the wood of the bow)
coro choir
doppio double
l'istesso the same (e.g., l'istesso tempo)
misura measure, meter
ossia or, alternatively
più more
prima, primo first
senza without
tacet silent (a part with nothing to play)
volta time (instance)
volti subito (V.S.) turn the page quickly