Ballet: Artistic dance form which originated in the formal dances of French court entertainments, notably under Louis XIV. Dancing on the tip of the toes was introduces early in the early in the early 19th century, and modern ballet developed in the early 20th century, influenced by Russian dancer and choreographer Mikhail Fokine and Russian impresario Sergeio Hiaghilev.
Cantata: Musical composition for voice and instruments; normally a small scale oratoria for solo singers accompanied by a small chorus and orchestra. The master of this form was Bach, who composed more than 200 cantatas.
Baroque: In music, the term applied to the elaborate, much ornamented music of composers between 1600 and 1750. Baroque composers include Monteverdi, Purcell, Vivaldi, Bach and Handel.
Bass: Bass is the lowest range of the male singing voice. Also it is an abbreviation for the lowest stringed instrument, the double bass. The word is Italian for ‘low’.
Alto: Lowest range of the female singing voice- also called contralto – or the highest adult male voice apart from countertenor. The word is Italian meaning ‘High’.
Tenor: Highest normal range of the male voice, apart from Alto. Famous tenors include Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavrotti and Placido Domingo.
Swing: Style of jazz in the 1930s and 1940s characterized by a lively rhythm suitable for dancing. Swing was played in an organized fashion by big bands, as opposed to the improvised jazz played by smaller groups. The Swing Era had its heyday between 1935 and 1944 and featured the bands of CountBasie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.
Contralto: Lowest range of the female singing voice.
Aria: Aria song for a solo voice in an opera, oratorio or cantata, such as Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s opera Turandot. The word is Italian for ‘air’ or ‘tune’
Fugue: Instrumental or vocal composition in which individual tunes or voices are harmoniously interwoven. A fugue begins with a short tune which is sung or played alone. This tune is called the subject and recurs throughout as the main theme. As the first voice finishes the subject, a second voice picks it up in a different pitch, and this second entry of the subject is called the ‘answer’. While the second voice goes through the answer, the first voice continues with a new theme that combines with the answer. If third and fourth voices enter, they repeat the process, eventually creating a fourth part texture. The fugue continues in a similar manner. The greatest exponent of the fugue was Bach.