Music Dictionary I

Idée Fixe - Incidental Music

Indeterminacy - Irato

Idée Fixe - (French) "fixed idea"; a mental obsession; an idea which dominates the mind; a term, adopted into the language, coined by French composer Hector Belioz in 1830 for his musical obsession with his composition 'Symphonie fantastique'

Ideophone - any of the variety of musical instruments in which the sound is produced by the instrument body itself such as a bell or gong

Idyll - (Greek) "short poem"; a scene which musically instills a picturesque, peaceful, or pastoral feeling, often in an idealistic or unrealistic idea

Illustrative Music - a popular type of early 20th century music which evokes an external source or reference as in a poem, feeling, or personal experience

Illustrative Song - 20th century American music used in vaudevilles, nickelodeons, stereo opticons, and silent film which accompanied a series of viewing images

Imbroglio - (Italian) "cheat"; an operatic scene which creates confusion or chaos, typically of several vocalists singing at once with equally agitated orchestral music

Imitation - repetition by an instrument or voice started by another; musical style of repeating certain musical passages or phrases, as in canons and fugues

Immer - (German) "always"; an instruction to continue playing the same manner; directs the performer to maintain a particular style or musical direction

Impressionism - a 19th century movement among Classical composers writing with little narrative or dramatic effect, but more of an impression of mood or atmosphere

Impromptu - (French) "unplanned"; music composed with no preparation or plan; short unrehearsed music written mostly for informal occasions, normally improvised; music made up on the moment

Improperia - (Latin) "reproaches"; a series of Greek and Latin vocal responses and antiphons sung during Catholic observances from the Middle Ages, later adopted into mainstream use by the 11th century; the ancient reproaches toward Christians

Improvise - to create at will; to spontaneously create music either made up, or in addition to existing chords or melodies

Improvvisando - (Italian) "impromptu"; direction to play with improvisation

Improvisation - a musical fill; to play randomly at will; to create musical phrass which have never been written in advance

In alt - the octave above the treble staff; an exalted state of mind

In altissimo - the octave above the in alt; within the uppermost register of woodwind instruments

Incalzando - (Italian) "chasing"; a direction to increase playing speed or tempo

Incantation - an operatic scene depicting the conjuring of spirits

Incidental Music - music for drama; background music performed during theater, film, and radio dramas to enhance its atmosphere or mood; musical transitions between acts or used as an intro or closure of a performance

Indeterminacy - music left to the performers' discretion; open sections of a composition left to chance or improvisation

Inflection - intentional expressive deviation from the pitch; a modulation of intonation meant for expression of mood, character, emotion, etc.

In Modo Di - (Italian) in the style of; in the art of

In Stand - a direction for brass players to aim the bell into the music stand

Instrument - musical tools; the equipment used by musician to produce music or musical sounds; any member of the five musical consort groups: brass, keyboard, percussion, strings, and woodwind or four musical applications of wind, stringed, percussive, or keyed devices

Instrumentation - the method by which a composer arranges the musical instruments and their parts in a composition

Intabulation - an 14th to 16th century type of tablature written for the lute, harpsichord, and other stringed instruments of the time; an arrangement of instrumental pieces of the Renaissance into string tablature

Interlude - a movement or musical section to be performed between the main movements of a composition; music for performance during intermission or between the acts of a theatrical performance

Intermède - (French) "between middle"; French term for 16th century musical theater performances of song and dance (ballet); music performed between the acts of spoken plays of 17th century France; one or two act Italian operas performed in France during the 1900s

Intermedio - a form of musical drama performed between the acts of a theatrical performance during the Renaissance

Intermèzzo - (Italian) "between"; a musical movement written for performance between the main movements of Italian symphonies of the Renaissance, also applies to later operas and instrumentals of the 17th to 20th centuries; see intermède;

Intonation - the ability of a performer to play in tune; an instrument's pitch accuracy; a musician's realization of pitch accuracy; tuning to true pitch

Introduction - a musical phrase or passage used to begin a composition; the opening music of a concert or theater performance; a musical section which introduces the main composition; intro; entro

Inversion - a rearrangement of the notes in a chord or series of notes such as a scale; a series of notes turned upside down or in reverse order

Invert - rearranging notes or musical phrases; to reverse or flip the order of a series of notes or music as in chords, arpeggios, or scales

Irato - (Italian) "irritated"; direction to play angrily; play with anger or force; play in an irritated manner; play in angry style