Music Dictionary W-Z

Wachsend - Wütend

Yylophone - Zydeco


Wachsend - (German) "growing"; a dynamics directive to gradually increase the volume and sound intensity; see also dynamics

Wagner Tuba - a brass bass instrument invented by Richard Wagner to bridge the gap in tones between the french horn and trombone still used today primarily in film and television

Wait - a medieval night watchman minstrel of German towns who wandered the streets performing background music for the citizens

Walking bass - a steady rhythmic movement of the bass line serving as counterpoint in compositions of the Baroque period

Waltz - (German) "revolve";  a popular 19th century couples dance and music, typically in 3/4 or uneven meter originating from the German Ländler dance style

Washboard - a makeshift wooden or metal percussion instrument constructed of corrugated sheets which produces a high-pitched scraping sound when brushed with thimbles worn on the fingertips, from the 1950s skiffle boom

Wassail - English music composed for the Old Norse Wassail festival of singing and dancing during the Christmas holiday season

Water drum - a percussion instrument filled with water dipped into water to produce various pitches of tone when struck

Wehmütig - (German) "wistful"; play in a wistful or melancholy manner

Weihnachtslied - (German) "Christmas song"; a type of German Christmas carol

Wenig - (German) "little"; not very much; just a little

Whip - a percussion instrument of two wood strip hinged at the end which produce a clacking sound when slapped together

Whistle - a small flute with or without a blowhole, often containing a rattle inside, mostly used for signaling; see also whistling

Whistling - musical sound produced with the mouth by blowing air across a curled tongue with the lips puckered; to signal with a whistle

Wiengenlied - (German) "cradle song"; a lullaby; a song used to lull to sleep

Wind - the air blown into or through a brass or woodwind instrument

Wind band - concert band; an orchestra with no stringed instruments sometimes including the double bass

Wind instrument - a musical instrument which produces sound when air is blown into its mouthpiece including brass and woodwind instruments

Wind Quintet - a composition written for five wind instruments typically the clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon and double-bass or horn; a group of five musicians playing wind instruments

Wire brush - a drumstick with a fan of wires on one end used to produce a brushing or sweeping sound

Wolno - (Polish) "loose, freely"; play freely; allowed; improvise

Woodwind - wind instruments which produce sound by blowing air over a vibrating reed or by mouthpiece design as in the flute

Wütend - (Austrian) "angry, furious"; play furiously with strong accent


Xylophone - (Greek) "sound off wood"; a percussion instrument constructed of rows of metal or wooden bars of different pitched lengths arranged in scale order like a piano, which produce tones when stuck with a mallet or donger

Xylorimba - a xylophone with a deeper range of lower notes

Xacara -  a comic interlude in stage plays; also called Jascara

Xilofono - (Italian) "wood sound"; the Italian word for xylophone


Yaravi - (Spanish) "aviary"; an Andean song in a slow triple or uneven meter; a traditional love song of Peru

Yodel - (German) "yell"; a singing style of rapid alternations of tone with falsetto, using vowel sounds rather than lyrics articulated in high to low registers, popular in Switzerland, Austria, and American hillbilly country music


Zählzeit - (German) "beat"; the beat of the music; the count of a composition

Zampogna - an Italian bagpipe, traditionally used in southern regions of Italy

Zart - (German) "subdued"; play in a delicate manner; depressed

Zarzuela - (Spanish) a type of musical drama in use from 17th to 19th century Spain which consists of popular or operatic music tunes alternating between spoken and singing acts; a musical genre of Baroque Spain named after a town

Zither - a flat-backed plucked stringed instrument played layed flat or on the knees from 17th century Germany

Zwischenspiel - (German) "interlude"; the organ music played in church between the verses of hymns; music played between the acts of an opera

Zartheit - (German) "tenderness"; play tenderly, with tenderness

Zartlich - (German) "tenderly"; to be played tenderly of in a slow easy manner

Zeichen - (German) "mark"; sign; mark; notation; point of action

Zeitmass - (German) "time"; time per measure; the tempo

Zelo, zeloso - (Italian) "zealous"; play zealously; with zeal

Zelosemente - (French) "zealous"; sing or play with zeal

Zeihen - (German) "drawn out"; to draw out; delay; slowing

Zeimlich - (German) "fairly"; fair, quite, rather than; a prefix or preposition

Zero ring - a type of o-ring on the perimeter of a drum to prevent unwarranted overtones and resonance

Zitterned - (German) "tembling"; trembling; with a tremble; shaken

Zögernd - (German) "delay"; hesitant; delayed

Zurückhalten - (German) "hold back"; delayed; held back; a delay of tempo; suppress, restrain

Zydeco  - Cajun music originating in the New Orleans area during the late 19th century and still in use today; a Ragtime type of band also utilizing a drum with cymbal, the accordion, and washboard; see also Ragtime or Dixieland