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21st Century Tempo Markings and other Musical Atrocities

  • Adagio formaggio: To play in a slow and cheesy manner.
  • Al dente con tableau: In opera, chew the scenery.
  • AnDante: A musical composition that is infernally slow.
  • Angus Dei: A divine, beefy tone.
  • Antiphonal: Referring to the prohibition of cell phones in the concert hall.
  • A patella: Unaccompanied knee-slapping.
  • Appologgiatura: An ornament you regret after playing it.
  • Approximatura: A series of notes played by a performer and not intended by the composer, especially when disguised with an air of "I meant to do that."
  • Approximento: A musical entrance that is somewhat close to the correct pitch.
  • Bar line: What musicians form after a concert.
  • Basso continuo: The act of game fishing after the legal season has ended
  • Basso profundo: An opera about deep sea fishing.
  • Brake drum: The instrument most used to slow the tempo in an orchestra.
  • Concerto grosso: A really bad performance.
  • Coral Symphony: (see: Beethoven-Caribbean period).
  • Cornetti trombosis: Disastrous entanglement of brass instruments that can occur when musicians are not careful exiting the stage.
  • D.C. al capone: You betta go back to the beginning, capiche?
  • Dill piccolo: A wind instrument that plays only sour notes.
  • Diminuendo: The process of quieting a rumor in the orchestra pit.
  • Eardrum: A teeny, tiny tympani.
  • Fermantra: A note that is held over and over and over and...
  • Fermoota: A rest of indefinite length and dubious value.
  • Fiddler crabs: Grumpy string players.
  • Flute flies: Gnat-like bugs that bother musicians playing out-of-doors.
  • Fog horn: A brass instrument that plays when the conductor's intentions are not clear.
  • Frugalhorn: A sensible, inexpensive brass instrument.
  • Gaul blatter: A French horn player.
  • Good conductor: A person who can give an electrifying performance.
  • Gregorian champ: Monk who can hold a note the longest.
  • Herbert von Carryon: A conductor who never rides in the cargo hold.
  • Kvetchendo: Gradually getting annoyingly louder.
  • Mallade: A romantic song that's pretty awful.
  • Molto bolto: Head straight for the ending, but don't make it seem rushed
  • Opera buffa: Musical stage production at a nudist camp.
  • Pipe smoker: An extremely virtuosic(k) organist.
  • Poochini: When singing, to be accompanied by your dog.
  • Pre-Classical Conservatism: School of thought which fostered the idea, "if it ain't baroque, don't fix it".
  • Prelude: A cue, found in some of the earlier oratorios, instructing those singing the roles of the wicked to pray in an offensive or profane manner. (Pray lewd?)
  • (The) Rights of Strings: Manifesto of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Bowed Instruments.
  • Spinet: Politician's order.
  • Spritzicato: Plucking of a stringed instrument to produce a bright, bubbly sound, usually accompanied by sparkling water with lemon (wine optional)
  • Status cymbal: An instrument to be played at inaugurations and socialite balls.
  • Tempo tantrum: What a young orchestra is having when it's not keeping time with the conductor.
  • Timpani Alley: A row of kettledrums.