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Glossary of Music Terms
beginning with letter I
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idea Tweet Definition of idea Like Definition of idea on Facebook
  1. That which exists in the mind as the result of mental activity; a thought or a concept
Ideas won't go to jail."A. Whitney Griswold (1952)
  1. Someone's opinion, belief or conviction that is accepted as true
  2. An intuitive notion; a feeling or hunch
  3. A plan or scheme for doing something, or an intention
  4. (music) A musical theme or melodic subject
(rfc, This section includes terms derived from terms in this list (eg, "ideally" from "ideal") which should be moved out of this table; further, not all terms are derived from "idea": those beginning "ideo-" are certainly not)
idyll Tweet Definition of idyll Like Definition of idyll on Facebook
  1. Any poem or short written piece composed in the style of w:Theocritus, Theocritus's short pastoral poems, the Idylls.
  2. An episode or series of events or circumstances of pastoral or rural simplicity, fit for an idyl; a carefree or lighthearted experience;
  3. (music) A composition, usually instrumental, of a pastoral or sentimental character, e.g. Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner.
imitation Tweet Definition of imitation Like Definition of imitation on Facebook
  1. The act of imitate, imitating.
  2. A copy.
imperfect Tweet Definition of imperfect Like Definition of imperfect on Facebook
  1. Something having a minor flaw
  2. (grammar) A tense of verbs used in describing a past action that is incomplete or continuous.
  1. Not perfect
  2. (botany) A flower that is unisexual: either male (with stamens) or female (with pistil), but not with both (the latter condition is termed "perfect").
impressionism Tweet Definition of impressionism Like Definition of impressionism on Facebook
  1. a movement in art characterized by visible brush strokes, ordinary subject matters, and an emphasis on light and its changing qualities
  2. (music) a style that avoided traditional harmony, and sought to invoke the impressions of the composer
  3. (poetry) a style that used imagery and symbolism to portray the poet's impressions
impromptu Tweet Definition of impromptu Like Definition of impromptu on Facebook
  1. (music) a short musical composition for an informal occasion often with the character of improvisation and usually to be played solo.
  1. improvise, Improvised; without prior preparation; extemporaneous; unplanned.
The party began with an rendition of 'Happy Birthday'.
improvise Tweet Definition of improvise Like Definition of improvise on Facebook
verb (improvis, ing)
  1. To make something up or invent it as one goes on; to proceed by guess rather than by a careful plan. To invent or create something quickly or without a plan; to wing it.
He had no speech prepared, so he improvised.
They improvised a simple shelter with branches and the rope they were carrying.
She improvised a lovely solo.
instrumental Tweet Definition of instrumental Like Definition of instrumental on Facebook
  1. (context, uncountable, grammar) The instrumental case.
  2. (context, countable, music) A composition without lyrics.
  1. Acting as an instrument; serving as a means; contributing to promote; conductive; helpful; serviceable; essential or central.
He was in conducting the business.
  • The head is not more native to the heart, The hand more to the mouth — Shakespeare, Hamlet, I,ii
    1. (Music): Pertaining to, made by, or prepared for, an instrument, especially a musical instrument; as, music, distinguished from vocal music.
  • He defended the use of music in public worship. — Macaulay
  • Sweet voices mix'd with sounds. — Dryden
    1. (Grammar): Applied to a case expressing means or agency"and is generally indicated in English by by or with with the objective; as, the case. This is found in Sanskrit as a separate case, but in Greek it was merged into the dative, and in Latin into the ablative. In Old English it was a separate case, but has disappeared, leaving only a few anomalous forms. It continues to be used in Slavic languages.
    instrumentalist Tweet Definition of instrumentalist Like Definition of instrumentalist on Facebook
    1. One who plays upon an instrument of music, as distinguished from a vocalist
    instrumentation Tweet Definition of instrumentation Like Definition of instrumentation on Facebook
    1. The act of using or adapting as an instrument; a series or combination of instruments; means; agency.
    2. The arrangement of a musical composition for performance by a number of different instruments; orchestration; instrumental composition; composition for an orchestra or military band.
    3. The act or manner of playing upon musical instruments; performance; as, his instrumentation is perfect.
    4. On a vehicle, dashboard gauges monitoring engine functions and performance, along with other essential functions.
      The car"s included fuel, temperature, voltimeter and oil pressure gauges, along with a speedometer and tachometer.
    interlude Tweet Definition of interlude Like Definition of interlude on Facebook
    1. An intervening episode etc
    2. An entertainment between the acts of a play
    3. (music) A short piece put between the parts of a longer composition.
    interval Tweet Definition of interval Like Definition of interval on Facebook
    1. A distance in space or in time.
    2. In music, an is the difference (a ratio or logarithmic measure) in pitch between two notes and often refers to those two pitches themselves (otherwise known as a dyad).
    3. In mathematics an is a connected section of the real line. It may be empty or have a length of zero.
    4. (context, mostly, british) An intermission.
    5. (cricket) Either of the two breaks, at lunch and tea, between the three sessions of a day's play
    intone Tweet Definition of intone Like Definition of intone on Facebook
    verb (inton, ing)
    1. (transitive) To give tone or variety of tone to; to vocalize.
    2. (transitive) To utter with a musical or prolonged note or tone; to speak or recite with singing voice; to chant; as, to intone the church service.
    3. (intransitive) To utter a tone; utter a protracted sound.
    invention Tweet Definition of invention Like Definition of invention on Facebook
    1. Something invented.
    My new invention will let you alphabetize your matchbook collection in half the usual time.
    I'm afraid there was no burglar. It was all the housekeeper's invention.
    1. The capacity to invent.
    It took quite a bit of invention to come up with a plan, but we did it.
    1. (music) A small, self-contained composition, particularly those in J.S. Bach"s Two- and Three-part Inventions.
    I particularly like the inventions in C-minor.
    invert Tweet Definition of invert Like Definition of invert on Facebook
    1. (archaic) A homosexual man.
    2. (context, architecture) An upside-down arch (as in a sewer.)
    1. To turn upside down or inside out.
    2. (music) To move the root note of a chord up or down an octave, resulting in a change in pitch.
    isotonic Tweet Definition of isotonic Like Definition of isotonic on Facebook
    1. (context, of two solutions) having the same osmotic pressure
    2. (context, of a medical solution) Having the same concentration of solutes as human blood.
    Use an saline solution in your neti pot to prevent irritation of your nasal passages.
    1. (context, of two muscles) having equal tension

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