Grade 4 – Terminology

In every grade you will be tested on your knowledge of various musical terms, signs and symbols. No video can help you learn these – it’s just a case of taking a deep breath and learning each term one-by-one. Of course, every time you look at a piece of music see what terms and symbols are used – if you’re not sure what something is, look it up or ask a music teacher. You’ll be amazed what you can learn just by looking at a piece of music.


If an exam question asks for the meaning of a symbol don’t just give the English translation of the word. For example, if you were asked to give the meaning of the following symbol:

Don’t just give the answer as “Forte”; this is not the meaning. A perfect answer would be “loud” or “forte, which means loud”.

All grade 1, grade 2 and grade 3 terms as well as the following:
affettuoso tenderly
affrettando hurrying
amabile amiable, pleasant
appassionato with passion
calando getting softer, dying away
cantando singing
come as, similar to
facile easy
fuoco Fire
giusto proper, exact
l’istesso the same
morendo dying away
niente nothing
nobilmente nobly
perdendosi dying away
possibile possible
quasi resembling
sonoro resonant, with rich tone
sopra above
sotto below
veloce swift
voce voice
à to, at
animé animated, lively
assez enough, sufficiently
avec with
cédez yield, relax the speed
douce sweet
en dehors prominent
et and
légèrement light
lent slow
main but
moins less
modéré at a moderate speed
non not
peu little
plus more
presser hurry
ralentir slow down
retenu held back
sans without
très very
un, une one
vif lively
vite quite