Music Dictionary Sa-Si

Saccade - Segue

Semibreve - Sitar

Saccade - (French) "to jerk"; on stringed instruments, pressing the bow firmly across two strings to strongly accent the sound

Sackbut - pre-18th century British term for the trombone

Sacra Rappresentazione - (Italian) "sacred performance or play"; a 15th century theatrical drama with articulated vocals as opposed to spoken; a holy or sacred theater performance

Sainete - (Spanish) "farce"; a popular 18th to 20th century type of comic theater performance; an early predecessor of opera

Salon Music - music performed in a home for private entertainment; see also chamber music

Salsa - (Spanish) "sauce"; a 20th century Latin-American dance and musical form with blended elements of Jazz, Rock, and Soul, developed in New York by Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants

Samba - a Brazilian genre and dance performed in double-time and highly syncopated born in the slums of Rio de Janeiro with African influence in the 18th to 19th centuries

Sampling - a practice in modern music of recording a 'sample' of music for editing and use in a different song

Saenger - (German) "singer"; a chorister or someone who likes to sing

Sarangi - a short-necked fiddle used in India and southeast Asia

Sarod - a plucked fretless long-necked lute from northern India of significant value to classical Hindi music

Sarrusophone - a double-reed woodwind brass instrument invented in 1856 by PA Sarrus to compete with the newly invented saxophone, now obsolete but still used in Italian bands

Sautille' - (French) "to hop"; a short bow-stroke which bounces on the strings

Scale - a succession of ascending or descending notes in steps; See major, minor, chromatic, harmonic, diatonic, and pentatonic

Scena - (Italian) "scene"; the stage, scene, or on-stage actions of an opera; a section of an opera which may stand alone as a significant episode, often written for a soloist

Scenario - (Italian) ""; an outline of an opera for describing the characters, scenes, and ideas behind its production

Scherzando - (Italian) "joking"; play in playful manner or fun-like; see scherzo

Scherzo - (Italian) "joke"; a short light musical piece which replaced the third movement minuet of four movement symphony or sonata in the 18th century; a short comical piece which stands alone or used as a movement

Schlummerlied - (German) "slumber song"; a type of German lullaby composed & performed from the 18th to 20th centuries

Schnell - (German) "fast"; play in a quickened tempo

Scottische - (German) "Scottish"; a German dance developed in the early 19th century introduced in 18490 Britain as the 'German Polka'

Scordatura - (Italian) "discord"; an altered string tuning used to accommodate ranges of chords or passages which are outside of the instrument's normal range; a string tuning effect developed by German violinist, Thomas Balzar

Score - a composition written in musical notation symbols for specific instruments on multiple staves; sheet music

Segno - (Italian) "sign"; suffix or symbol written above or below the staff used in musical directions; see al segno or del segnoRight: segno symbol

Segue - (Italian) "follows";  direction for a performer to play through from one musical section to the next without pause between

Semibreve - (Italian) "half short"; a whole-note; half of a double-whole note; note with a time duration of one full measure

Semi-opera - a dramatic theater production of 17th century Britain with the main roles acted while other roles sing and dance

Semiquaver - (Middle English) "half trill"; an eighth-note; note with a time duration of one-eighth of a measure

Semitone - (Middle English) "half pitch"; one-half of the pitch; a tone with its pitch frequency diminished by one-half

Semplice - (Italian) "simple"; play simply or in a simple manner

Sempre - (Italian) "always"; a prefix denoting performance as written

Sempre legato - (Italian) "always tied"; play completely with no separation

Septet - (Latin) "group of seven"; a verse, stanza or poem of seven lines; music composed for seven vocalists or reciters

Serenade - (Italian) "serene, calm"; a vocal composition or performance intended to honor someone, typically of a light and romantic nature

Sextet - (Latin) "of six"; a group of six performers; a musical piece written for six singers or instruments or a combination of both

Sforzando - (Italian) "forcing, sudden"; suddenly stronger; a strong accent of a note or chord; quickly increase the sound volume and intensity; abbrev: sf or sfz

Shanty - (French) "to sing"; a song sung by sailors on a ship, typically sung in unison by the crew for rhythm while they work

Sharp - an augmented chord, tone, or scale; notation symbol which increases a note's pitch by one semitone or a half-step

Shift - the movement of a string player's left hand from one position to another

Shofar - (Hebrew) "trumpeting"; a ram's horn played by blowing air into it used by the Jewish culture during holy occasions; the horn used for pronouncements during ancient and biblical events

Sight reading - to view or perform a piece of music for the first time; to play or sing a written musical score having never seen it before

Sign - another term for symbols of musical notation

Silent - the presence of no audible sound; quiet; to rest

Silent instruments - instruments with no sound producing or amplifying mechanisms used for practice by musicians, as in silent viola, silent keyboard, etc.

Silenzio - (Italian) "silence"; silence; without reverberation or echo

Simile - (Latin) "like"; play in a similar manner; direction to play the following section the same as a former direction; continue use of a previous command

Simple interval - any interval between two notes of its octave

Simple time - any time signature in which the beat is divisible by two

Sinfonietta - (Italian) "symphony"; a 19th century  small scale symphony of a light and short nature; a musical group larger than a chamber ensemble but smaller than a full size orchestra

Single reed - term referring to woodwind instruments using only one reed

Sing - to create melodic and rhythmic sounds or words in timing with the voice

Singer - "one who sings"; the vocal performer of a band, chorus, choir, ensemble, orchestra, or other vocal group or soloist; vocalist

Singspiel - (German) "a play with singing"; a theatrical play with music or singing originating with 16th century Austrian and German composers; light and comic 19th century opera popular in Europe and Vienna, Italy; See Singspiel form

Sipario - (Italian) "curtain"; to bring down the curtain over the stage

Sitar - (Persian) "three strings"; a large long neck lute type instrument invented by Amir Khusru in 16th century India