Music Dictionary Sj-Sy

Slancio - Sound box

Soundtrack - Syncopation

Slancio - (Italian) "surge, movement"; keep moving with enthusiasm

Slargando - (Latin) "slowing"; a gradual decrease of tempo; slowing down

Slentando - (Latin) "slowing"; a gradual decrease of tempo; slowing down

Slide - an apparatus of brass instruments which changes the length of the tube as well as the pitch of the tones produced; musical notation symbol instructing string performers to move quickly between notes without pause or break; a hollow tube held or placed on a finger for 'sliding' up or down the strings

Slur - tie; bind; legato; play the notes with no accent or separation

Smorzando - (Italian) "weaken"; to dampen the sound intensity, often including the tempo; a reduction in the sound dynamics

Soave - (Italian) "gently"; play in a soft, smooth, and gentle manner

Soft pedal - the left piano pedal which lowers the volume of tones

Sognando - (Italian) "dreaming"; dreamily; fantasizing; daydream; contemplating

Solene - (French) "solemn"; play solemnly or a dignified manner

Solfège - (Italian, English, French); a method of music education teaching various musical systems of tone identification and use; see solmization

Soli - (Italian) "alone"; a piece of music written for a single performer; a performance given by a single vocalist or instrumentalist alone or accompanied

Solmization - (Italian) "alone"; a system of applying distinct syllables to a scale for tone identification; Example: 'Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do'

Solo - (Italian) "alone"; a piece of music written for a single performer; a performance given by a single vocalist or instrumentalist alone or accompanied

Solo break - the Jazz music section where a player performs an improvised solo

Soloist - the singer or musician who performs the solo

Somma - (Italian) "sum"; total; complete; great

Sonata - (Italian) "to sound"; a musical composing form originating in the 16th century, renowned from the Baroque period for violin solos, and a 19th century developed form of modern opera; a three movement form of an allegro, a cantibile, and a finale later becoming a stand alone orchestral composition with a showcased solo instrument; see Sonata form for more info

Sonatina, sonatine - ( Italian) "smaller sound"; a short light 'spin-off' of the sonata from the 18th century used up to today (21st century) usually written for piano; little sonata

Song - a musical composition with lyrics sung with or without accompaniment

Song cycle - a group of songs performed as a single composition with a common musical theme or idea in common; a musical form developed in 19th century Germany; see song cycle form

Songwriter - "one who writes songs"; a person who writes musical compositions, with or without lyrics; a musical composer of music and/or lyrics; see also lyricist

Sonore, sonora - (Latin) "sound"; ringing sound which continues after a tone

Sopra - (Italian) "highest"; piano left-hand over; directive to cross hands

Sopranino - (Italian) "highest"; instruments with a pitch range equal to soprano

Soprano - (Italian) "highest"; the highest female vocal range extending from near two octaves above middle C; male falsetto;  also a castrato

Sordina, sordine, sordino - (Italian) "mute"; a mute; mute or dampen the sound

Sortita - (Italian) "emerge"; the principal singer's first appearance in a opera; the first aria in an opera

Sostendo - (Galacan) "holding back"; hold back

Sostenuto - (Italian) "sustained"; a direction to hold a note for its full time value

Sotto voce - (Italian) "under the voice"; to sing or play in a barely audible manner; play very softly

Soubrette - (French) "conceited, coy"; a soprano female opera performer often with the role of a flirtatious or cunning household servant

Sound - a pitch frequency vibration which is audible to the human ear

Soundboard - a thin wood sheet or strip under the strings of a piano or other instrument for enhancing the sound produced

Sound box - the hollow body of a stringed instrument which resonates and/or amplifies the sound produced

Soundtrack - the synchronized recorded music of a book, film, movie, television presentation, or video; the synchronized audio recording of a film, movie, or television presentation including music, vocals, and sound 

Sousaphone - a brass instrument known as the bass tuba invented by John Philip Sousa in 1893 for addition to marching bands

Spianato - (Italian) "smooth"; play in a smooth manner; smooth out

Spiccato - (Italian) "separated"; a string direction play notes in a staccato-like detached manner by bouncing the bow off the strings; sautillé

Spinet - 17th century keyboard instrument for private or domestic use rather than public performance

Spirito - (Italian) "spirit"; play in a fast tempo or spirited manner

Spiritoso - (Italian) "spirit"; play in a fast tempo or spirited manner

Spiritual - a religious folk song originating in mid 18th century America and a predecessor of Gospel worship music; any music pertaining to religious worship

Spirometer - an apparatus for measuring the volume of air taken in and exhaled through the lungs which measures ventilation and air movement using two ventilation patterns, obstructive and restrictive

Staccato - (Italian) "detached"; direction to play the notes in a detached or separated manner by slightly shortening it's time value; notation symbol of a dot above notes; Right: staccato

Staff - the five line frame upon which musical notation of the major and minor scaling system is placed for composing scores

Stanza - the verse of a song

Stem - the vertical bar or line extending from a note's head; Right: stem

Stentando - (Italian) "hard"; something that is hard to do, heavy, or difficult

Stentato - (Italian) "heavy"; something that is hard to do, heavy, or difficult

Steel band -  a group of percussion instruments made from oil drums invented in 1930s West Indies and played at carnivals

Stop - to deaden a string's sound with a finger or bow; muting a horn by cupping the hand over the bell; a sound inhibiting lever or pedal on keyboards

Stornello - (Italian) "freely"; improvisation; with an improvised appearance

Strascinando - (Italian) "dragged"; play in a heavily slurred manner; blend the notes in sequence

Strascicante - (Italian) "dragged"; play in a heavily slurred manner; blend the notes in sequence

Strepitoso - (Italian) "noisy"; noisy or forceful; impetuous or implusive

Stretto - (Italian) "narrow"; directive to hasten or play faster; a denser passage of the fugue subject to different voices

Stringendo - (Italian) "tightening"; gradually faster; accelerate the tempo

Strings - the group of instruments played by bowing, plucking, or strumming strings; an instrumental family of stringed consorts

Strisciando - (Italian) "tied"; also known as glissando, a directive to play notes in a slurred or tied manner; legato

Subito - (Italian) "sudden"; sudden change of dynamics; pianissimo; see dynamics

Suite - (French) "after, continuous"; a musical composing form developed in late 14th century originally for dance and later revived in the 17th as an instrumental symphony of continuous movements, mostly replaced by the sonata form

Suono reale - (Italian) "real sound"; the actual sound of written harmonics

Sur la touche - (French) "touch"; direction for strings to use the bow over the fingerboard part of the instrument

Sustain - to hold a note longer than it's normal time value; a lever or pedal of keyboard instruments which allows the sound to ring or continue longer

Symphony - a large scale composition and performance for an orchestra, typically in four movements

Syncopation - an intentional interruption of the rhythm in order to place emphasis or accent on the weaker beat common in many modern musical forms