Today is the birth date of musician Louis Armstrong, who became one of the most influential people in the genre of jazz music. His career spanned over five decades and he remained popular even as the genre shifted numerous times to encompass all kinds of different musical styles, tones, and characteristics.
He was a pivotal figure in the world of jazz as a trumpet player, a vocalist, and a composer, and his gift for improvisation won him fame and success across America and the rest of the world. Armstrong began as a cornet player, switching to the trumpet in the mid-1920s, and worked as a bandleader, accompanist, soloist, composer, singer, actor, and comedian throughout his career.
So, in honour of Louis Armstrong, we thought we’d take a look through a few of the musical names that our customers have requested.
Derived from the Italian musical term “allegro”, which indicates that a particular section of music should be played at a quick and lively tempo (speed).
An expressive melody, typically a self-contained piece for a single voice (usually a singer performing with or without orchestral accompaniment) that is part of a larger work (generally an opera, although vocal arias also feature in oratorios and cantatas).
A sequence of musical elements (notes, chords, or rhythmic patterns etc) that creates a strong sense of resolution, finality, or pause and is used to indicate the momentary or final conclusion of a phrase, section, or piece of music.
A musical instrument (also known as a steam organ or steam piano) that makes a sound by sending a gas (originally steam although compressed air became the norm) through large whistles; they were popular forms of entertainment on riverboats and in travelling fairs and circuses.
A style of music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago and is often associated with Carnival; it is a type of folk song and usually features witty and satirical lyrics that target topical political and social themes and events (with lyrics often improvised on the spot). It has a syncopated (off beat) rhythm and often makes use of call and response.
Another name for “capriccio”, which is a piece of instrumental music that is composed in free form (i.e. doesn’t conform to the rules set out for any particular musical form) and is lively in tempo and style.
Derived from the Old French word “carole” (which was a medieval circle dance accompanied by singers), the carol began as a dance song and was later used as a processional song for festivals and an accompaniment for religious mystery plays. Over time, the form has gained a strong connection with religious contexts (although carols are not necessarily “religious songs”); carols are joyful and festive songs (or hymns) that are usually centred around a particular subject, season, or celebration (e.g. Christmas, Advent, Easter, harvest etc).
Another name for a “celesta”, which is a musical instrument made up of a set of graduated metal plates or bars (usually steel) that are hit by key-operated hammers; it produces a delicate bell-like sound and so was named for the French word “celeste” meaning “heavenly”.
The name of former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, whose parents created the name based on the Italian musical term “con dolcezza”, which means “with sweetness”.
A simultaneous combination of musical notes (to produce a pleasing sound); also the structure of music in terms of the arrangement and progression of chords.
A musician (particularly a folk musician) who plays a harp.
A genre of music that originated in New Orleans around the beginning of the 20th century, which is characterised by strong and intricate rhythms, improvisation, and syncopation (off beat rhythms).
Derived from “lyre”, a stringed instrument that was extremely popular in ancient Greece; the constellation “Lyra” is said to represent the lyre of Orpheus (from Greek mythology).
A Greek word referring to a song that is suitable to sing with the accompaniment of a lyre (lyric), the words that make up a song (lyrics), having the form and musical quality of a song (lyrical), a form of poetry that expresses personal emotions or feelings (lyric poetry), and the classification used to refer to a singing voice that has a light, clear quality and is melodic in style.
A Hawaiian word for chants, songs, or poems.
A sequence of single notes that are arranged into a musically satisfying phrase or whole; also the principal part in a harmonic composition.
A musician who plays a pipe (any wind instrument that consists of a single tube) or the bagpipes.
Used in woodwind instruments to produce a sound via vibration; reeds are thin strips of material and may be made from Arundo Donax (“giant cane”), synthetical materials, or metals. Instruments have single reeds (as in the mouthpieces of clarinets and saxophones), double reeds (used in oboes, bassoons, and bagpipes, usually without a mouthpiece, where the two reeds vibrate against one another), or quadruple reeds (with two reeds on top and two on the bottom).
A musical composition for an instrumental soloist (with or without a piano accompaniment) that usually includes three or four movements of contrasting forms and keys. A short or simplified sonata is called a “sonatina”.
A musical composition for a full orchestra (between 50-120 musicians) made up of several movements, generally four, at least one of which is traditionally a sonata.
An instrument from the violin family (made up of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass); the viola is slightly larger in size than the violin, has four strings, and is tuned a perfect fifth below the violin, which gives it a lower and deeper sound.
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