O: The symbol for
Ober: (Ger.) Upper,
Oblique Motion: Two
melodic lines, where one voice remains stationary, while the other moves.
Obbligato: (also obligato) (It.) An instrumental part, typically distinctive in effect, that is integral to a piece of music and should not be omitted in performance.
Oboe: Originating from the
Shawn, it is a woodwind, having a conical bore and double
reed. It has a long history of refinements since the shawn of the
period. As music
developed in the Baroque period, the oboe was of integral
importance. Its initial harsh
tones and six finger holes were changed and
refined by Jean Hotteterre in the mid 1600's. Theobald Boehm later refined the
oboe we know today with its complex finger pattern. The
in C and can cover three
Oboe D'Amore: This member of the
oboe family is
in A and can play
alto parts. It is thought
to have a warm and intimate sound. The oboe
d'amore is prominently
heard in Ravel's Bolero.
Oboe da Caccia: Italian for hunting. In the
Baroque period, having evolved from the shawn,
it was the alto pommer that became the
oboe. It is tuned a 5th below the
O Carina: A type of
sometimes called the sweet potato
whistle. It can be made of
plastic, clay or porcelain. Bulbous in shape with eight finger holes and two
degrees above it. Two
octave apart have the same letter name, and
form the most
interval possible. Or to put it another way the eighth
above a given pitch, with twice as many vibrations per second, or below a given
pitch, with half as many vibrations.
Octet: A piece written
for eight instruments or voices, or the group that performs such a piece.
Octobasse: A huge
bass 12 feet high. Its three strings were stopped with levers
that were manipulated by pedals. The bow needed oarlocks for support. It is
played one octave below the
Offertory 1. A
part of the Roman Catholic Mass
following the Credo and sung during the offering.
Protestant church services, any music sung or played during offering.
Ondes Martenot: Invented by Maurice Martenot in 1928, this is his electronic
player can control its
either by the keyboard or by sliding metallic
ribbons that vary the
Open Fifth: A
triad that does not contain a
third, consisting only of a
and a fifth.
Open strings: Strings are not stopped,
fingered, or fretted.
usually entirely sung, making use of costumes, staging, props, sets, and
dramatic elements. Operas usually consist of two types of
musical elements, the
which primarily expresses a single idea or
theme, and the
which advances the story.
Opera Comique: French
that may not be entirely sung or for that matter comic as in
The Italians call this genre Opera Buffa.
Operetta: A light
Ophicleide: Invented in Paris in 1817, the ophicleide's parts are now played by the
Initial intentions were to play the lower members of the keyed bugles
family. It was made in
alto: very tall and narrow with a U-shaped
conical tube, flared bell, and cup mouthpiece.
Opus, Op: "Work".
With a number, used to show the order in which the works by a given
were written or published. Opus numbers are most often used for
catalogued their own works. e.g. Op. 1, Op. 2.
work without staging, sets, or elaborate costumes. Usually performed in a more
relaxed setting than a formal opera, and usually having a religious
The art of arranging, writing or scoring music for an orchestra.
Ordinary: In the
the parts that are used every day, as distinct from the
The ordinary consists of the Kyrie,
instrument dating back to 200 AD. To generate the large volumes of air
it requires, the organ was first powered by foot pedals, gravity and water. More
recently organs have been powered by steam, hydraulics, gas and electricity. The
essential components of the traditional organ are pipes, wind supply and wind
chest, key and stop actions, and case. The many sounds of the organ are
manipulated when the keyboard controlling the flow of air changes the air supply
to the pipes. Organs can be very complicated ranging broadly in
Also referred to as the street organ, it is portable and its player can hold
it on the knee while the other hand operates the bellows. Used in the
medieval times. It is shaped like a
but with only three strings.
Note or notes added to the
line for embellishment
and added interest.
embellishment, either written or improvised. Types of ornaments included
Ossia: "Or." Indicating an alternative
passage or version.
Ostinato: A repeated
rhythmic pattern, frequently appearing in the
Ottava alta: (8va) An
Ottave bassa: (8va or 8vb) An
almost inaudible higher tones
which occur with the fundamental
tone. They are the result of the vibration of small sections of a
string (instrument) or a column of air. Other general terms for overtones are
partials and harmonics.
introductory music for an
or oratorio. A concert overture is an independent work.