You are viewing the included help system in NoteWorthy Composer Version 2.75a

FAQ: Music terminology

The music terms in this glossary are available for use when notating with NoteWorthy Composer 2. Each term can be found in the Insert menu of NoteWorthy Composer 2 under the command matching the heading below. For example, Pianissimo is defined under the heading Dynamic. To use a Pianissimo symbol (pp) in NoteWorthy Composer 2, you would select the Dynamic command from the Insert menu.


Dynamics are terms or symbols that define the level in which the music is to be played. The dynamics listed below are in order from soft to loud.

Dynamic Notated Performed as
Pianissimo pp Very soft
Piano p Soft
Mezzo Piano mp Moderately soft
Mezzo Forte mf Moderately loud
Forte f Loud
Fortissimo ff Very loud

Dynamic Variance

Dynamic Variances are terms or symbols indicating change from soft to loud or loud to soft.

Name Notated Performed as
Crescendo cresc. Gradually play louder
Decrescendo decresc Gradually play softer
Diminuendo dim. Play to diminish (decresc)
Rinforzando rfz Play to reinforce
Sforzando sfz Play forcibly

Flow Direction

These terms are used to indicate the direction, or flow of play.

Name Performed as
Coda Tail/Marker for al Coda redirections
Segno Sign/Marker for Dal Segno redirections
Fine End play after a redirection
To Coda Go to the Coda
Da Capo (D.C.) From the beginning
D.C. al Coda Play from the beginning to the Coda
D.C. al Fine Play from the beginning to the Fine
Dal Segno From the Segno
D.S. al Coda Play from the Segno to the Coda
D.S. al Fine Play from the Segno to the Fine

Performance Style

Performance style is the manner in which music is played. NoteWorthy Composer 2 does not generally change its play back style based on performance styles, except in the case of Legato/Tenuto.

Style Name Intended Performance Change
Ad Libitum Improvise as you wish
Animato Animated
Cantabile Allow for singing
Con brio Animated
Dolce Sweetly
Espressivo Expressive
Grazioso Gracefully
Legato Smooth and connected
Maestoso Majestically
Marcato Marked
Meno mosso Slower, less lively
Poco a poco Little by little
Pił mosso Faster, more lively
Semplice Simply
Simile Similarly
Solo Alone
Sostenuto Sustained
Sotto Voce Toned down voice
Staccato Short and disconnected
Subito Suddenly
Tenuto Hold for full value
Tutti All
Volta Subito Turn quickly


Tempo terms designate the rate or speed to play the music. The terms below are in order from slow to fast.

Name Intended Tempo
Largo Very slow
Larghetto Slow, but not as slow as largo
Adagio Slow
Lento Slow
Moderato Moderate
Andante Walking speed
Andantino A bit faster than andante
Allegretto Moderately fast
Allegro Fast, cheerful
Vivace Lively
Presto Fast
Prestissimo Very fast

Tempo Variance

These terms and symbols denote a change in speed from slow to fast or fast to slow.

Name Intended Change
Breath Mark Pause, take a breath
Fermata Hold longer
Accelerando Increase speed
Allargando Slow down
Rallentando Decrease speed
Ritardando Gradually play slower
Ritenuto Hold back
Rubato Freely
Stringendo Hurry up

Copyright © 2024 NoteWorthy Software™, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.