Italian Musical Terms

(by Tom Hurd on
In order to keep you abreast of the ever-developing world of musical terminology, we provide herewith the latest additions to the esteemed Harvard Dictionary of Music:
ADAGIO FORMAGGIO. To play in a slow and cheesymanner
ALLREGRETTO  When you’re 16 measures into the piece and realize you took too fast a tempo
ANDANTE  A musical composition that is infernally slow.
ANTIPHONAL  Referring to the prohibition of cell phones in the concert hall.
ANGUS DEI  To play with a divinely beefy tone
A PATELLA  Accompanied by knee-slapping
APPOLOGGIATURA  A composition, solo or instrument that you regret playing
APPROXIMATURA  A series of notes not intended by the composer, yet played with an “I meant to do that” attitude
APPROXIMENTO  A musical entrance that is somewhere in the vicinity of the correct pitch
BARLINE  What musicians form after a concert
CACOPHANY  A composition incorporating many people with chest colds
CONCERTO GROSSISSIMO  A really bad performance
CORAL SYMPHONY  A large, multi-movement work from Beethoven’s Caribbean Period
CORNETTI TROMBOSIS DISASTROUS  Entanglement of brass instruments that can occur when musicians exit hasitly down the stage stairs.
DILL PICCOLINI  An exceedingly small wind instrument that plays only sour notes
FERMANTRA  A note held over and over and over and over and …
FERMOOTA  A note of dubious value held for indefinite length
FIDDLER CRABS  Grumpy string players
FOG HORNOSO  A sound that is heard when the conductor’s intentions are not clear
FLUTE FLIES  Those tiny mosquitos that bother musicians on
outdoor gigs
FRUGALHORN  A sensible and inexpensive brass instrument
GAUL BLATTER  A French horn player
GOOD CONDUCTOR  A person who can give an electrifying performance
GREGORIAN CHAMP  The title bestowed upon the monk who can hold a note the longest
GROUND HOG  Someone who takes control of the repeated bass line and won’t let anyone else play it
KVETCHENDO  Gradually getting annoyingly louder
MALLADE  A romatic song that’s pretty awful
MOLTO BOLTO  Head straight for the ending
OPERA BUFFA  Musical stage production by nudists
POOCHINI MUSICAL  Performance, accompanied by a dog
PRE-CLASSICAL CONSERVATISM  School of thought which fostered the idea, “if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.”
SCHMALZANDO  A sudden burst of music from the Guy Lombardo band
THE RIGHT OF STRINGS  Manifesto of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Violists
SPRITZICATO  An indication to string instruments to produce a bright and bubbly sound, usually accompanied by sparkling water with lemon (wine optional)
TEMPO TANTRUM  What an elementary school orchestra is having when it’s not following the conductor
TINCANABULATION  The annoying or imitating sounds made by extremely cheap bells
TROUBLE CLEF  Any clef one can’t read: e.g., alto clef for pianists
VESUVIOSO  An indication to gradually build up to a fiery conclusion
VIBRATTO  Child prodigy son of the concertmaster