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Glossary of Music Terms
beginning with letter D
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div Tweet Definition of div Like Definition of div on Facebook
noun
  1. (mathematics),(computing) a function, implemented in many programming languages, that returns the result of a division of two integers
  2. (vector calculus) short for divergence; a kind of differential operator
    1. (slang) A foolish person
da capo Tweet Definition of da capo Like Definition of da capo on Facebook
adverb
  1. (music) from the beginning
DAMP Tweet Definition of DAMP Like Definition of DAMP on Facebook
abbreviation
  1. Deficits in Attention, Motor coordination and Perception.
dampen Tweet Definition of dampen Like Definition of dampen on Facebook
verb
  1. (transitive) To make damp or moist; to make slightly wet.
  2. (transitive) To depress; to check; to make dull; to lessen.
    • 2007 October 16, Jane E. Brody, "Despite Strides, Listeria Needs Vigilance", w:The New York Times, The New York Times,
    • : Pregnant women are 20 times as likely as other healthy young women to contract listeriosis, probably because in pregnancy the immune system is dampened to prevent rejection of the fetus.
      1. (intransitive) To become damp; to deaden.
      (Webster)
dance Tweet Definition of dance Like Definition of dance on Facebook
noun
  1. A sequence of rhythmic steps or movements performed to music, for pleasure or as a form of social interaction.
  2. A social gathering where dancing is designed to take place.
  3. (heraldry) A fess that has been modified to zig-zag across the center of a coat of arms from dexter to sinister.
  4. A genre of modern music characterised by sampled beats, repetitive rhythms and few lyrics.
verb (danc, ing)
  1. (intransitive) To move with rhythmic steps or movements, especially in time to music.
I danced with her all night long.
  1. (intransitive) To leap or move rapidly with strong emotion.
His eyes danced with pleasure as he spoke.
  1. (transitive) To perform the steps to.
Have you ever danced the tango?
danceable Tweet Definition of danceable Like Definition of danceable on Facebook
adjective
  1. (context, of music) suitable for dancing
deceptive cadence Tweet Definition of deceptive cadence Like Definition of deceptive cadence on Facebook
noun
  1. (music) a falling cadence in which the ear expects the a dominant chord to resolve to the tonic, but resolves to something else (usually a submediant chord) instead.
declamation Tweet Definition of declamation Like Definition of declamation on Facebook
noun
  1. The act or art of declaiming; rhetorical delivery; haranguing; loud speaking in public; especially, the public recitation of speeches as an exercise in schools and colleges; as, the practice declamation by students.
  2. A set or harangue; declamatory discourse.
  3. Pretentious rhetorical display, with more sound than sense; as, mere declamation.
decrescendo Tweet Definition of decrescendo Like Definition of decrescendo on Facebook
noun
  1. (music) An instruction to play gradually more softly.
verb
  1. (music) To gradually become quieter
adjective
  1. gradually becoming quieter
degree Tweet Definition of degree Like Definition of degree on Facebook
noun
  1. (geometry) A unit of measurement of angle equal to 1/360 of a circle's circumference.
  2. (physics) A unit of measurement of temperature on any of several scales, such as Celsius or Fahrenheit.
  3. Any of various units used to express specific gravity, bitterness, darkness, etc. in manufacturing various commodities.
  4. The amount that an entity possesses a certain property; proportion or extent.
To what degree do the two accounts of the accident concur?
  1. An award (generally superior to a diploma but inferior to a doctorate) bestowed by a university or, in some countries, a college, as an indication of academic achievement or occasionally bestowed to honor its recipient.
  2. (graph theory) The number of edge, edges that a vertex takes part in.
  3. (mathematics) The sum of the exponents of a term; or, in the context of a polynomial, the highest degree of all its terms.
demisemiquaver Tweet Definition of demisemiquaver Like Definition of demisemiquaver on Facebook
noun (demisemiquavers)
  1. (music) a thirty-second note, drawn as a crotchet with three tails.
descant Tweet Definition of descant Like Definition of descant on Facebook
noun
  1. A lengthy discourse on a subject
  1. (music) a counterpoint melody sung or played above the theme
verb
  1. (intransitive) To discuss at length.
  2. (intransitive) To sing or play a descant.
desk Tweet Definition of desk Like Definition of desk on Facebook
noun
  1. A table, frame, or case, usually with sloping top, but often with flat top, for the use writers and readers. It often has a drawer or repository underneath.
  2. A reading table or lectern to support the book from which the liturgical service is read, differing from the pulpit from which the sermon is preached; also (esp. in the United States), a pulpit. Hence, used symbolically for the clerical profession.
develop Tweet Definition of develop Like Definition of develop on Facebook
verb
  1. To progress.
Let's see how things and then make our decision.
  1. To progress through a sequence of stages.
Isabel developed from a tropical depression to a tropical storm to a hurricane.
An embryo develops into a fetus and then into an infant.
  1. To create.
I need to a plan for the next three weeks.
  1. To bring out images latent in photographic film.
Please this roll of film.
  1. (context, Chess) To place ones pieces actively.
I need to my white-square bishop.
  1. (context, snooker, pool) To cause a ball to become more open and available to be played on later. Usually by moving it away from the cushion, or by opening a pack.
development Tweet Definition of development Like Definition of development on Facebook
noun
  1. (uncountable) The process of developing; growth
The development of this story has been slow.
The organism has reached a crucial stage in its development.
  1. (countable) Something which has developed
Our news team brings you the latest developments.
  1. (countable) A real estate development
  2. (uncountable) The application of new ideas to practical problems (''cf. research)
Our development department has produced three new adhesives this year.
  1. (context, chess, uncountable) The active placement of the pieces, or the process of achieving it
White's development is good, but black's has been hampered by the pawn on e5.
diapason Tweet Definition of diapason Like Definition of diapason on Facebook
noun
  1. the range or scope of something, especially of notes in a scale, or of a particular musical instrument
  • 1934: the piano curving like a conch, corollas giving out diapasons of light " Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
dictation Tweet Definition of dictation Like Definition of dictation on Facebook
noun
  1. dictate, dictating, the process of speaking for someone else to write down the words
    Since I learned shorthand, I can take at eighty words a minute.
  2. an activity in school where the teacher reads a passage aloud and the students write it down
    1908: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables - We had reading and geography and Canadian history and dictation today.
  3. the act of ordering or commanding
    1852: Lysander Spooner, An Essay on the Trial by Jury - ...jurors in England have formerly understood it to be their right and duty to judge only according to their consciences, and not to submit to any from the court, either as to law or fact.
  4. orders given in an overbearing manner
    His habit, even with friends, was that of .
didgeridoo Tweet Definition of didgeridoo Like Definition of didgeridoo on Facebook
noun
  1. A musical instrument endemic to the Top End of Australia, consisting of a long hollowed out log, which, when blown into, produces a low, deep mesmerise, mesmerising drone with sweeping rhythms.
diminish Tweet Definition of diminish Like Definition of diminish on Facebook
verb (diminish, es)
  1. (transitive) To make smaller.
  2. (intransitive) To become smaller.
  3. (intransitive) To taper.
  4. (context, transitive, music) To reduce a perfect or minor interval by a semitone.
diminuendo Tweet Definition of diminuendo Like Definition of diminuendo on Facebook
noun (pluraldiminuendos)
  1. (defn, English)
diminution Tweet Definition of diminution Like Definition of diminution on Facebook
noun
  1. A lessening, decrease or reduction.
The new emission standards have produced a measurable in air pollution.
  1. (music) The shortening of the notes of a melody or theme.
director Tweet Definition of director Like Definition of director on Facebook
noun
  1. One who directs; the person in charge of managing a department (e.g., director of engineering), project, or production (as in a show or film, e.g., film director).
  2. A device that displays graphical information concerning the targets of a weapons system in real time.
dirge Tweet Definition of dirge Like Definition of dirge on Facebook
noun
  1. A mournful poem or piece of music composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person
disc jockey Tweet Definition of disc jockey Like Definition of disc jockey on Facebook
noun
  1. A person who plays and mixes music, usually pre-recorded, at nightclubs, over the radio, and/or as a backup musician for spoken word, or hip hop performers. Abbreviated as DJ or deejay.
discord Tweet Definition of discord Like Definition of discord on Facebook
noun
  1. Lack of agreement among persons, groups, or things.
  2. Tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement; dissension.
  3. A confused or harsh sound or mingling of sounds.
  4. Music. An inharmonious combination of simultaneously sounded tones; a dissonance.
discotheque Tweet Definition of discotheque Like Definition of discotheque on Facebook
noun
  1. (context, slightly, _, dated) A nightclub where dancing takes place.
distance Tweet Definition of distance Like Definition of distance on Facebook
noun
  1. (countable) The amount of space between two points, usually geographical points, usually (but not necessarily) measured along a straight line.
The to Petersborough is thirty miles.
  1. (context, uncountable, figurative) The entire amount of space to the objective.
He had promised to perform this task, but did not go the .
  1. (context, uncountable, figurative) A considerable amount of space.
The friendship did not survive the row: they kept each other at a .
verb (distanc, ing)
  1. To move away from someone or something.
ditty Tweet Definition of ditty Like Definition of ditty on Facebook
noun (plural ditties)
  1. A short verse or tune.
    The Acme mattress has been stuck in my head all day.
diva Tweet Definition of diva Like Definition of diva on Facebook
noun (pl=dive, pl2=divas)
  1. prima donna, the principal female singer of an opera company, or opera star.
  2. A principal female in some other field, e.g. a prima ballerina.
  3. Any female celebrity, usually a well known pop singer.
  4. A person who considers herself (or by extension himself) much more important than others, has high expectations of others and becomes angry when their standards or demands are not met.
divertimento Tweet Definition of divertimento Like Definition of divertimento on Facebook
noun (pl2=divertimenti)
  1. In music, a composition that has many short movements, a style that composers started to use in the Eighteenth Century.
division Tweet Definition of division Like Definition of division on Facebook
noun
  1. (uncountable) The act or process of dividing anything.
  2. Each of the separate parts of something resulting from division.
  3. (arithmetic) (uncountable) The process of divide, dividing a number by another.
  4. (arithmetic) A calculation that involves this process.
I've got ten divisions to do for my homework.
  1. A large military unit, usually made up of two or three brigades.
  2. A section of a large company.
  3. (context, biology, taxonomy) A rank (Latin divisio) below kingdom and above class, particularly used of plant, plants or fungus, fungi, also (particularly of animals) called a phylum; a taxon at that rank
Magnolias belong to the Magnoliophyta.
  1. A disagreement; a difference of viewpoint between two sides of an argument.
  2. (music) A florid instrumental variation of a melody in the 17th and 18th centuries, originally conceived as the dividing of each of a succession of long notes into several short ones.
  3. (music) A set of pipes in a pipe organ which are independently controlled and supplied.
  4. A concept whereby a common group of debtors are only responsible for their proportionate sum of the total debt.
Dixie Tweet Definition of Dixie Like Definition of Dixie on Facebook
proper noun
  1. (informal) The southern United States; the South.
  2. A female given name made popular from the song
Dixieland Tweet Definition of Dixieland Like Definition of Dixieland on Facebook
proper noun
  1. The southern states of the US; Dixie.
  2. (music) A type of jazz that originated in New Orleans.
DO Tweet Definition of DO Like Definition of DO on Facebook
initialism
  1. (grammar) Direct Object
dominant Tweet Definition of dominant Like Definition of dominant on Facebook
noun
  1. (music) The fifth major tone of a musical scale (five major steps above the note in question); thus G is the dominant of C, A of D, and so on.
  2. (music) The triad built on the dominant tone.
adjective
  1. Ruling; governing; prevailing; controlling; predominant; as, the dominant party, church, spirit, power.
double bass Tweet Definition of double bass Like Definition of double bass on Facebook
noun
  1. the largest stringed instrument of the violin family.
drum Tweet Definition of drum Like Definition of drum on Facebook
noun
  1. Any hollow, cylindrical object.
  2. In particular, a percussive instrument spanned with a thin covering on at least one end for strike, striking, forming an acoustic chamber, affecting what materials are used to make it.
  3. In particular, a barrel or large cylindrical container for liquid transport and storage.
The restaurant ordered ketchup in 50-gallon drums.
verb (drum, m, ed)
  1. (intransitive) (music) To beat a drum.
  2. (intransitive) To knock successively and playfully.
Drumming one"s fingers on a table is often an expression of impatience or annoyance.
  1. (transitive) To drill or review in an attempt to establish memorization.
He"s still trying to Spanish verb conjugations into my head.
drum major Tweet Definition of drum major Like Definition of drum major on Facebook
noun
  1. One who conducts and commands a marching band.
dub Tweet Definition of dub Like Definition of dub on Facebook
noun
  1. (obsolete) A blow.
= verb (dub, b, ing)
  1. (transitive) To confer knighthood; the conclusion of the ceremony was marked by a tap on the shoulder with the sword.
  2. Hence, to name, to entitle, to call.
A man of wealth is dubbed a man of worth. Pope.
duet Tweet Definition of duet Like Definition of duet on Facebook
noun (plural:duets)
  1. A musical composition for two performers.
dulcet Tweet Definition of dulcet Like Definition of dulcet on Facebook
adjective
  1. Sweet, especially when describing voice or tones; melodious; harmonious
  2. Generally pleasing; soothing; agreeable
  3. Sweet to the taste (archaic)
dulcimer Tweet Definition of dulcimer Like Definition of dulcimer on Facebook
noun
  1. (musici) A stringed instrument, with strings stretched across a sounding board, usually trapezoidal. It's played on the lap or horizontally on a table. Some have their own legs. These musical instruments are played by plucking on the strings (traditionally with a quill) or by tapping on them (in the case of the hammer dulcimers).
The two classes of dulcimer are the "Mountain" or "Appalacian" dulcimer (plucked and played with a quill, usually a goose quill) and the hammer dulcimer (played by tapping on the strings with small "hammers"). See also: zither
duo Tweet Definition of duo Like Definition of duo on Facebook
noun
  1. twosome, especially musicians
duple Tweet Definition of duple Like Definition of duple on Facebook
adjective
  1. (rare) double, Double.
  2. (context, of time, or, music) Having two beats, or a multiple of two beats, in each measure.
  3. (context, poetry) Having two beats in each foot.
dynamic Tweet Definition of dynamic Like Definition of dynamic on Facebook
noun
  1. A characteristic or manner of an interaction; a behavior.
Watch the between the husband and wife when they disagree.
The study of fluid dynamics quantifies turbulent and laminar flows.
  1. (music) The varying loudness or volume of a song or the markings that indicate the loudness.
If you pay attention to the dynamics as you play, it's a very moving piece.
  1. (music) A symbol in a musical score that indicates the desired level of volume.
adjective
  1. changeable, Changeable; active; in motion.
The environment is , changing with the years and the seasons.
He was a and engaging speaker.
  1. powerful, Powerful
  2. Able to change and to adapt (also in computing)
  3. (music) Having to do with the volume of sound.
The marking in bar 40 is forte.
dynamics Tweet Definition of dynamics Like Definition of dynamics on Facebook
noun
  1. Mechanics. The branch of mechanics that is concerned with the effects of forces on the motion of objects.
  2. Music. The volume of the sound, such as piano, mezzo piano, mezzo forte, and forte.

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