Music Dictionary R

Raga - Resolution

Resonance - Ruvido

Rāga, Raaga - (Sanskrit) "to dye, color"; a melodic framework of Indian music providing performers with a base from which to improvise the pattern of the melody, beginning with a structure of five or more notes

Ragtime - a genre of the late 19th century and predecessor of American Jazz music; a syncopated modification of the march with polyrhythms of African-American tradition originating in the southern Confederate states which peaked in popularity from 1895 to 1919; a musical group consisting of brass, percussion, and woodwind instruments accompanied by a string bass

Rallentando - (Italian) "slowing"; a gradual slowing down of the tempo

Range - the distance between the lowest and the highest notes of an instrument or voice; the full breadth of vocal ability; the spread variation of the reachable pitches of a musical voice, instrument, scale, or key

Rant - a form of lively folk music and dance of compound meter originating in 16th century England and progressing into 17th to 18th century Scotland

Rapide, Rapido  (French) "fast"; rapidly

Rasch  (German) "fast"; rapid

Rasgueado - (Spanish) "strummed"; a guitar strumming technique associated with the flamenco guitar music using fingertip up-strums and down-strums across the fingernails

Rattle - a hollow shelled instrument filled with seeds or other objects that is shaken to produce a rapid percussive sound

Ravvivando - (Italian) "reviving"; instruction to return to an earlier faster tempo

Recapitulation - a section of the sonata which returns with a variation of the previous theme or musical idea

Recital - a pre-programmed concert by a solo performer or ensemble

Recitative - a vocal form of music representing conversation; form in which actors speak the words in musical tones

Recte et retro - (Latin) "inversed"; a type of retrograde canon with two overlapping musical lines, one moving the melody forward while the second repeats it in reverse

Recueilli - (French) "meditate"; to play in a calm collected manner; play with contemplation

Reduction - the rearrangement of a composition for orchestra or multiple instruments to a single or fewer instruments

Reed - a thin strip of cane, metal, or other material used in woodwind mouthpieces which vibrates to produce the instrument's sound

Refrain - a reoccurring section of music occurring after each verse or stanza; chorus

Register - the vocal or instrumental range of tones; the full spread of reachable pitches of an instrument or voice

Réjouissance - (French) "rejoicing"; a lively 18th century movement of suites

Related - similar musical keys or chords; keys which sound harmonious; keys which share several tones in common

Relative - major and minor scales or chords which have the same key signature but different tonic tones; see also enharmonic

Religioso - (Italian) "religious"; religious

Religious - various genres of liturgical or sacred music composed for worship or church services, including plainchant, plainsong, hymns, gospel, and spiritual

Relish - a 17th and 18th century European ornament of varying trills and turns; see ornamentation

Repeat marks - notation symbol appearing at the start and end of a staff or stanza directing the performer to play the piece or section again from the mark back to the mark

Repeat sign - notation symbol direction to repeat from this symbol; also used on the staff as instruction to repeat the preceding measure(s)

Repente - (Italian) "suddenly"; suddenly

Répétiteur - (French) "to repeat, coach, rehearse"; the person that plays piano and coaches ballet dancers or opera singers in their skills during rehearsals

Reprise - a return to an earlier section of a composition after playing one or more intervening sections

Requiem - (Latin) "rest, repose"; the musical setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the dead used to create a solemn mood;  solemn chant or dirge

Requiem Mass - compositions first developed in the late 15th century of monophonic chants used during the spoken mass for the dead in the Roman Catholic church; the musical setting of the Roman Catholic mass; requiem

Rescue opera - an opera in which the hero or heroin is placed in peril and then saved or rescued at the last minute

Resolution - a musical idea reaching full conclusion, as in a chord progression or harmonic or melodic line; a successful musical accomplishment in composing

Resonance - a proportional harmonic frequency caused by vibrations of the natural frequency; an oscillating amplification of the sound produced by a natural frequency's sound in unison with harmonic frequency vibrations

Resonate - to cause a harmonic vibration of the sound for amplification

Resonator - the hollow part of an instrument in which the air vibrates to create harmonic enhancement or amplification of the sound

Rest - a symbol of musical notation instructing the performer to remain silent for a specified duration; Example right: whole-rest

Restez - (French) "to stay" strings direction to stay in the current position

Retenu - (French) "held back, retained"; direction to temporarily hold back the tempo to a slower pace

Revue - (French) "overview"; a 19th century multi-act theatrical performance of song, dance, and sketches, usually with comical or satirical themes or settings

Rhapsode - (Greek) "to sew songs together";  a professional Greek performer of epic poetry during 4th and 5th century B.C.

Rhapsody - (Greek) "stitch together"; a 19th century instrumental composition of one movement, composed form irregularities, and a free flowing style suggestive of improvisation; a poetic work for recitation

Rhythm - (Greek) "to flow,  motion"; a pattern of accompanying unaccented beats in response to the accented beat; the timing of musical events within a composition; the alternate musical parts which harmonize with the other parts.

Ridicolo - (French) "held back, retained"; direction to hold back the tempo to a slower speed

Ridicolosamente - (French) "held back, restrained"; direction to hold back the tempo to a slower speed; ridicolo

Riff - a repeated chord progression; refrain; a common series of notes played on the guitar; a short musical phrase of notes

Rilassato - (Italian) "relaxed"; calmly

Ritenuto - (Italian) "hold back"; a sudden and temporary decrease of the tempo

Ritmico, ritmo - (Italian) "rhythmic"; play rhythmically

Ricochet - (French) "rebound"; a classical period strings technique used since the 19th century of bouncing the bow off the strings to produce a staccato effect

Rinforzando - (Italian) "reinforce"; an increase in volume and intensity quicker than a crescendo for emphasizing or accenting notes or musical passages; a notation of dynamicsrf or rfz

Ritardando - (Italian) "hold back"; slowing the tempo; rit.

Ritornello - (Italian) "little return"; a short recurring musical passage or phrase for the chorus or entire orchestra

Rock - a latter 20th century genre developed in the 1950s to early 1960s from the styles and standardized chord progressions of its predecessors Blues and Rock 'n Roll, most even metered

Rock Band - a band of amplified vocals, strings, keyboard, and percussion instruments developed in the mid 20th century which plays modern Rock music

Rock 'n Roll - a genre developed in the 1950s which merged the earlier styles of Blues, Country, and Rhythm 'n Blues into a syncopated rhythm of standard chord progressions

Rococo - (French) "ornate"; a Baroque period of the development of European art; a musical composition of excessive ornamentation or embellishment

Roll - a series of tied drum beats so rapid, it sounds like one continuous sound

Rolled Chord - arpeggio; an arpeggiated series of notes in key

Romanticism - a wave of embracing the arts, specifically music in our case, mixing folk music, epic themes, nationalism, and fantasy; music of strong emotional contrast developed during the Romantic period

Rondo - an instrumental musical form developed in the 17th century; the refrain or chorus section of a song; a repeating passage within the composition

Rondeau - (French) "fixed form"; a monophonic vocal chanson form developed in 13th century France which progressed into a polyphonic style during the 14th century with a fixed repetition or refrain; the refrain or chorus section of a song; a repeating passage within the composition

Round - a perpetual miniature canon of three voices with no instrumental accompaniment sang in overlapping repetitions

Rubato - (Italian) "stolen time"; an expressive and rhythmic style of increasing and decreasing the tempo; also tempo rubato; the musician's practice of altering the tempo for a more accurate sense of flowing emotion or expression

Ruhig - (German) "quiet"; calm; serene; peaceful

Run - a rapid series of ascending or descending notes performing a scale, arpeggio, or similar pattern; see also fill

Ruvido - (Italian) "rough"; course, irregular; roughly performed