Music Dictionary J

Jam Session - Jongleur

Kapelle - Kraftig


Jam Session - an informal period of performance or rehearsal by a group of musicians for exchanging musical ideas; also called 'Jam'

Jazz - a popular 20th century musical genre and form of music characterized by polyrhythms and improvisation of the instrumental and vocal parts involved, often in random or ad lib participation

Janissary Music - music composed in the Turkish style by Classical composers

Jeté 1  - (French) "thrown"; a bow stroke of dropping the bow onto the strings so that it bounces off the strings several times

Jeté 2  - (French) "thrown"; a ballet leap which throws or transfers the dancer's weight from one foot to the other; a ballet dancing leap from foot to foot

Jig  - lively British dance popular from the 16th to 18th centuries written in 6/8 or 12/8 time

Jingles 1  - small cymbals mounted inside of a tambourine; a small cluster of bells; a light ringing sound of multiple bells or other  objects; see picture below


Jingles 2  - songs used in commercial advertising for promotion of a product, service, or company, often with catchy lyrics relating to its purpose;

Jongleur - (Latin) "jest"; a wondering or itinerant entertainer during medieval England and France; a traveling storyteller, juggler, reciter, jester, acrobat, or minstrel of 13th & 14th century Europe


Kapelle - (German) "chapel"; a musical school or institution attached to a royal court used to train their musicians and singers

Kapellmeister - (German) "chapel master"; the musician or instructor in charge of a kapelle; also refers to an orchestral conductor

Kabuki - (Japanese) "art of song and dance"; a traditional type of dramatic theater of 17th century Japan characterized by elaborate drama, heavy make-up, and extravagant costumes with both on and off stage musical accompaniment

Kazoo - a cigar shaped instrument constructed of metal or plastic which has an internal diaphram that makes a buzzing sound of tones hummed into the end

Keen - (Gaelic) "weeping"; an ancient Irish funeral lament sung by grieving women, dating from the 7th to 12th centuries

Key - the major or minor scale which forms the basis for a composition; the scale to which a composition is written; the pitch of a scale, chord, or instrument

Keyboard - the levers pressed with the hands to produce sounds on keyed instruments such as harpsichord or piano

Keyboardist - the musician or player of a keyed or keyboard instrument; one who plays an instrument which has a keyboard

Keynote (Key Note) - the principle, first, and lowest tone of a scale to which a piece of music is set or written; the tonic tone of a scale; tonic

Key Signature - the notation symbols of sharp or flat which indicate the key or pitch of the composition and the instruments for which it is written; the sharp or flat signs in the first measure of a composition

Klagend - (German, Latin) "lamenting"; to be played in a sad or grieving manner

Klangfarbenmelodie - (German) "tone-color-melody"; distribution of pitch or melody among instruments; varying timbre

Konzertstück (German) "concert piece"; a single movement composition for a solo instrument accompanied by the orchestra

Kräftig - (Swedish) "vigorous"; to be played vigorously; play with energy or strength