Continuation from Music Terminology – Part 2 (A-L)


Naturals, Sharps, and Flats: E to F and B to C are natural halftones/steps and everything else are both sharps and flats. For example, F sharp is G flat and G sharp is A flat, etc.


Meter/Metre: The pattern of beats by which a piece of music is measured and is also known as the time signature.


Open Chords: Chords that have both open and closed notes.

Open Notes: Notes that occur without having to press down on any strings.


Palm Muting: Quieting the strings to where there is little or no tone at all ringing out

Percussion: On the guitar, percussion can be done by muting the strings with your pick or note-playing hand and strumming at the same time, which when done heavily enough produces a very percussive sound.

Pick Scaping: Hold the pick against one of the strings and move it either down or up the guitar neck.

Picking: Strumming all the notes in a chord or playing an individual note with the pick hand in a downward or upward direction.

Pull-offs: Doing a pull-off is the flip side of doing a Hammer-on in that you would play the E note on the fifth string seventh fret with your ring finger and pull off to the D note on the fifth string fifth fret which is played with your index finger. Note, Pull-offs can be done with any combination of fingers from the note-playing hand.


Range: The notes that an instrument or voice is capable of reaching, from the lowest to the highest.

Register: A part of the range of an instrument or voice that is different from other parts.

Rests: A time of musical silence when no note/chord is played. Keep in mind that there are different durations for rests.

Rhythm: Music that is organized accordingly to the timing of the long and short note values.


Scales: Similar to arpeggios, scales are played one note at a time, but in a non-rhythmic fashion ascending and descending on all six strings, and begin with a given note and end on the same note. Two good examples of this are C major pentatonic with notes C, D, E, G, A, C and A minor pentatonic with notes A, C, D, E, G, A.

Sequential/Coil Pattern: Notes that repeat within a scale, arpeggio or chord.

Sight Reading: The reading of musical notation.

Slurs: In music, slurs can be indicative of hammer-on and pull-offs if the notes involved are on the same string, but it also means that notes are to be played without separation.

Staccato: In Italian is means detached and when it is written above or below a note it signifies that the duration of the note with a staccato marking is separated from the note(s) that may follow by silence.

String Bending: taking a note on any given string/fret and bending it up a halftone or whole tone instead of moving up the fretboard to a halftone or whole tone on a particular string.


Tablature: A group of lines representing the six strings of the guitar with numbers on them which tell the guitarist what frets to play the given notes on.

Ties: A good way to learn to understand ties is say you have two-quarter notes of the same pitch, which for each get one beat. In 2/4 time for example, when two-quarter notes are tied together they become equal in value to one-half note. Meaning that you would play the note once, but count it twice.

Time Signature: The sign used after the clef and key signature at the beginning of a piece that indicates the meter of the piece. It can be placed anywhere throughout the piece should the meter change.

Trills/Reverse Trills: Trills are a hammer-on that is speedily and repeatedly played. The flip side of trills is reverse trills which are pull-offs that are speedily and repeatedly played.

Two-handed Technique: Playing notes as normal and bringing in the use of one or more fingers from the picking hand to incorporate notes that are difficult to reach with the note-playing hand.


Unison: Notes that are exactly the same.


Variations: In music, if the notes being played the first time through are C, E, G then one way to create a variation would be to play them as C, C, E, G the next time through.

Vibrato: using just enough movement to cause a waving sound in the note without changing its pitch.


Whole Note: A note equal to the length of two half notes.

Whole Rest: A rest equal to the length of two half rests.

Whole Tone: Two half steps; the interval of a major second; a whole step.

Whole-tone Scale: A scale made up of only whole tones.


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