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Glossary of Music Terms
beginning with letter O
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obbligato Tweet Definition of obbligato Like Definition of obbligato on Facebook
  1. (music) A part of the score that must be played as written; a required part.
  2. (music) An elaborate or flowery countermelody, often written to be played or sung above the principal theme (in a higher pitch range). Frequently includes a repetitive motif.
w:John_Philip_Sousa, John Philip Sousa's The Stars and Stripes Forever includes a famous piccolo .
oblique motion Tweet Definition of oblique motion Like Definition of oblique motion on Facebook
  1. (music) , a kind of motion or progression in which one part ascends or descends, while the other prolongs or repeats the same tone, as in the accompanying example.
oboe Tweet Definition of oboe Like Definition of oboe on Facebook
  1. A soprano and melody wind instrument in the modern orchestra and wind ensemble. It is a smaller instrument and generally made of grendilla wood. It is a member of the double reed family.
ocarina Tweet Definition of ocarina Like Definition of ocarina on Facebook
  1. (music) A woodwind musical instrument that is closed at both sides to produce an enclosed space, and punctured with finger holes.
octave Tweet Definition of octave Like Definition of octave on Facebook
  1. (music theory) An interval of eight tones on a diatonic scale, representing a doubling or halving in pitch.
The melody jumps up an octave at the beginning, then later drops back down an octave.
The singer was known for astounding clarity over her entire five-octave range.
  1. (music theory) The pitch an octave higher than a given pitch.
The bass starts on a low E, and the tenor comes in on the octave.
  1. (fencing) The eighth defensive position, with the sword hand held at waist height, and the tip of the sword out straight at knee level.
octuplet Tweet Definition of octuplet Like Definition of octuplet on Facebook
  1. one of a group of eight babies born from the same mother during the same birth, (i.e. one of eight twins).
offbeat Tweet Definition of offbeat Like Definition of offbeat on Facebook
  1. (music) The beats not normally accented in a measure.
The congregation clapped along on the .
  1. Unusual, unconventional, not ordinary.
He has such an sense of humor that hardly anyone finds his jokes amusing.
op. Tweet Definition of op. Like Definition of op. on Facebook
  1. opus
  2. operation
  3. operator
  4. A detective
  5. Operator"s license, usually ops
  6. Opportunity, as in photo op
opera Tweet Definition of opera Like Definition of opera on Facebook
  1. (music) a theatrical work combining drama, music, song and sometimes dance
  2. (music) the score for such a work
  3. A building designed for the performance of such works; an opera house
  4. A company dedicated to performing such works
  5. (plural of, opus)
operatic Tweet Definition of operatic Like Definition of operatic on Facebook
  1. Of, related to, or typical of opera.
The politician's address was so flamboyant as to be
operetta Tweet Definition of operetta Like Definition of operetta on Facebook
  1. (music): A lighter version of opera with a frivolous story and spoken dialogue
opus Tweet Definition of opus Like Definition of opus on Facebook
noun (opuses, pl2=opera)
  1. A work of music or set of works with a specified rank in an ordering of a composer's complete published works.
Beethoven's opus eighteen quartets are considered by many to be the beginning of the Romantic era.
  1. A work, especially of art.
The painter's last was a dedication to all things living, in a surprising contrast to all of his prior work.
oratorio Tweet Definition of oratorio Like Definition of oratorio on Facebook
  1. (music) a musical composition on a religious theme; similar to opera but with no costume, scenery or acting
orchestra Tweet Definition of orchestra Like Definition of orchestra on Facebook
  1. (music) A large group of musicians who play together on various instruments, usually including strings, woodwind, brass and percussion; the instruments played by such a group.
  2. The area in a theatre or concert hall where the musicians sit, immediately in front of and below the stage.
  3. A semicircular space in front of the stage used by the chorus in ancient Greek theatres.
orchestral Tweet Definition of orchestral Like Definition of orchestral on Facebook
  1. relating to an orchestra or to music played by an orchestra
orchestrate Tweet Definition of orchestrate Like Definition of orchestrate on Facebook
verb (orchestrat, ing)
  1. to compose or arrange orchestral music for a dramatic performance
    • Sergio Leone orchestrated The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
    • To arrange or direct diverse elements to achieve a desired effect
organ Tweet Definition of organ Like Definition of organ on Facebook
  1. The largest parts of an organism that are composed of tissues that perform similar functions.
  2. (musici) A musical instrument that has multiple pipes which play when a key is pressed.
  3. An official magazine, newsletter, or similar publication of an organization.
ornament Tweet Definition of ornament Like Definition of ornament on Facebook
noun (plural ornaments)
  1. An element of decoration.
  2. A Christmas tree decoration
  3. Music. a musical flourish that are unnecessary to the overall melodic or harmonic line, but serve to decorate or "ornament" that line.
Orpheus Tweet Definition of Orpheus Like Definition of Orpheus on Facebook
proper noun 
  1. A Thracian musician and poet; failed to retrieve his wife from Hades
orphic Tweet Definition of orphic Like Definition of orphic on Facebook
  1. having an import not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence; beyond ordinary understanding
eg. "mysterious symbols"; "the mystical style of Blake"; "occult lore"; "the secret learning of the ancients"      
ostinato Tweet Definition of ostinato Like Definition of ostinato on Facebook
noun (plural: ostinatos)
  1. A piece of melody, a chord progression, or a bass figure that is repeated over and over as a musical accompaniment.
ottava Tweet Definition of ottava Like Definition of ottava on Facebook
  1. (music) One octave higher. Marking indicates a passage to be transposed up one octave. Abbreviation: 8va.
oud Tweet Definition of oud Like Definition of oud on Facebook
  1. A north African musical instrument resembling a lute.

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