Grade 5 – 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, grade 3 and grade 4 terms as well as the following:
attacca go straight on to the next section of music
dolente sad, mournful
dolore grief
doppio movimento twice as fast
estinto as soft as possible
incalzando getting quicker
lacrimoso sad
loco at the normal pitch
lunga long
lusingando in a sweet and persuasive style
misura measured
ossia or, alternatively
piacevole pleasant
piangevole plaintive, in the style of a lament
pochettino, poch. rather little
rinforzando (or rf, rfz) reinforcing
segue go straight on
smorzando, smorz. dying away in tone and speed
teneramente, tenerezza tenderly
tosto swift, rapid
volante flying, fast
aber but
ausdruck expression
bewegt with movement
breit broad
ein a, one
einfach simple
etwas somewhat, rather
fröhlich cheerful, joyful
immer always
langsam slow
lebhaft lively
mässig at a moderate speed
mit with
nicht not
ohne without
ruhig peaceful
schnell fast
sehr very
süss sweet
traurig sad
und and
voll full
wenig little
wieder again
zart tender, delicate
zu to, too