- Accelerando (it.) - Gradually increasing the speed.
- Adagio (it.) - Slowly. Also as a name for a piece written in that tempo.
- Agitato - In an agitated, exited or restless style
- Air - a tune, song or melody. Sometimes found in suites.
- Alegria (it.) - Joyful flamenco dance from the province of cadiz.
- Allargando (it.) - Growing broader, getting slower and louder.
- Allegretto (it.) - Just a "little allegro", slower than allegro.
- Allegro (it.) - Quick, fast, but not as fast as presto.
- Allemande (it.) - German dance in 3/4 time, 16th/17th, rather slow. Like a landler. Often the first dance in the classic suite.
- Amoroso (it.) - Amorous, loving, affectionately.
- Andante (it.) - Rather slow, at a moderate pace.
- Andantino (it.) - A little faster than andante. (Originally it meant just the opposite, slower than andante, but is no more interpreted like that.)
- Animato (it.) - Animated, with spirit, lively. (Originally it meant just the opposite, slower than andante, but is no more interpreted like that.)
- Aria (it.) - A melodic composition like an air, a song or a tune. Originally for a single voice with or without accompaniment. Often also an instrumental piece with a singable melody.
- Arietta (it.) - A small aria or air.
- Arpeggio (it.) - In the Style of a harp. The notes of a chord are struck consecutively one after the other.
- A tempo (it.) - In time, back to original tempo.
- Aubade (fr.) - a morning music, the opposite of a serenade.
- Barcarolle (fr.)/ Barcarola (it.) - Song in the style of the Venetian gondoliers.
- Berceuse (fr.) - A crade song, a lullaby.
- Bolero - Spanish dance in 3/4 time, 19th century. Also known as Cachuca.
- Bourree (fr.) - old French dance, quick, in double time, often part of suites of pieces
- Brillante (fr./it.) - In a bright, sparkling, brilliant manner.
- Cantilene (ger.) / Cantilena (it.) - A ballad or light popular song.
- Canzone (it.) - A song or folk song.
- Canconetta (it.) - A little song or folk song.
- Caprice (fr.) Capriccio (it.) Capricioso (it.) - a humorous fanciful composition with a somewhat irregular form.
- Cavatina - A melody of a simple form. A song without a second part or a "Da Capo" a humorous fanciful composition with a somewhat irregular form.
- Choro - A typical Brazilian music genre deriving from a mix of different European styles like polka, Scottish, tango and havanaise. Melodies emphasizing 16th notes. Choro means "crying".
- Courante (fr.) Corrente (it.) - From "running". Old French dance in AB-form and 3/2 time. The second dance in the classic suite. a humorous fanciful composition with a somewhat irregular form.
- Crescendo (it.) - Gradually getting louder. Abbreviated: cresc.
- Cueca - Chilian dance written in 6/8 time with the accompaniment in 3/4 time.
- Da Capo (it.) - The sign at the end of a piece saying to begin over from the beginning. Abbreviation: D.C.
- Da Capo Al Fine (it.) - The sign at the end of a piece saying to begin over from the beginning up to where it says "Fine".
- Deciso (it.) - Decided, energetic, with firmness.
- Delicato (it.) - Delicately.
- Diminuendo (it.) - Gradually getting softer. Abbreviated: dim.
- Divertimento (it.) - (1) A light composition, (1) A suite for instrument
- Decrescendo (it.) - Gradually getting softer.
- Dolce (it.) - Soft, sweetly.
- Doloroso (it.) - Sorrowful, sadly.
- Doppio movimento (it.) - Double the speed, twice as fast.
- Entree (fr.) - an introduction, a march-like piece played during the entrance of a dancing group, or played before a ballet. Usually in 4/4 time.
- Espressivo (it.) - With expression.
- Etude (fr.) / Study - a usually short composition meant to exercise some special difficulty or technique.
- Fandango (span.) - lively Spanish dance in triple time, beginning slow and getting faster.
- Fantasia (it.)/Fantasie (ger.)/Fantaisie (Fr.) - A compositions that is not in any of the regular forms.
- Fine (it.) - The End. This is where to end a piece after a repeat or partial repeat.
- Forte (it.) - Loud. Abbreviated: f
- Fortissimo (it.) - Very Loud. Abbreviated: ff
- Fortississimo (it.) - As loud as possible. Abbreviated: fff
- Fugue - A polyphonic composition with one or more short themes introduced first by a one voice and repeated by other voices in turn. All this happening with harmonization according to the rule of the counterpoint.
- Furioso (it.) - Furiously, wildly.
- Galop (fr.) - a lively round-dance in 2/4 time
- Gavotte (fr.) - French Dance in 4/4, 17th/18th century, still alive in the Bretagne, rather quick
- Gigue (fr.) - (Jig) lively Scottish or Irish dance in 6/8, 17th/18th century, often the last part in a suite (from English jig, Giga, Geige)
- Grandioso(it.) - Grand, noble, pompous.
- Grave (fr.) - Slow (the slowest tempo in music) or deep in pitch
- Grazioso (it.) - In a graceful style.
- Hornpipe - An old English dance in a lively tempo written in triple and later also in quadruple time.
- Landler (ger.) - A dance in 3/4 or 3/8 time and lively and graceful character. Popular among Styrian peasants.
- Larghetto (it.) - Rather slow, but not as slow as largo
- Largo (it.) - very slow, broadly.
- Legato (it.) - In a smooth, connected manner. Opposite of staccato
- Lento (it.) - Slow
- Maestoso(it.) - Majestic, stately, with dignity.
- Marcato(it.) - With emphasis.
- Maxixe - A Brazilian dance first introduced in Paris in 1912. It is in 2/4 time of rapid tempo with a slight syncopation.
- Mazurka - A lively Polish dance in 3/8 or 3/4
- Meno mosso (it.) - Less movement, slower.
- Menuet / Minuet (fr.) - Old French dance, in triple time, 17th/18th century, (from menu pas - small step)
- Mezzo forte (it.) - Half loud, medium loud. Abbreviated: mf
- Mezzo piano (it.) - Half soft, medium softly. Abbreviated: mp
- Milonga (it.) - 1.the peppy, cheerful dance milonga as part of the tango; 2.the 'milonga campera' or 'milonga surena', an Argentinean folk music form, often performed just by a singer with a guitar, and of very clear Hispanic influence. The Milonga rhythm is characterized through the division of the 4/4 time in 3+3+2.
- Moderato - Moderately, in a moderate time.
- Modinha - Brazilian dance in a sentimental mood, Brazilian love song.
- Molto (it.) - Much, very much.
- Moerendo (it.) - Dying away, fading.
- Musette(fr.) - (1) A small bagpipe or (2) a melody or dance written over a ground note to imitate a the sound of a bagpipe
- Passepied (fr.) - French dance in 3/8 or 6/8 time, sometimes in the German Suites.
- Passionato (it.) - With passion, with favor.
- Partita (it) - A Suite.
- Pavane - Slow solemn dance in duple (or sometimes triple) time, of Spanish origin; generally in three sections, each one repeated.
- Pianissimo (it.) - Very softly. Abbreviated: pp
- Pianississimo (it.) - As softly as possible. Abbreviated: ppp
- Piano (it.) - Softly. Abbreviated: p
- Piu mosso, piu moto (it) - More motion, quicker.
- Polacca / Polonaise (fr.) - A Polish dance in moderate 3/4 time reapearting different short motives.
- Polka - A dance in 2/4 time coming from Bohemia.
- Prelude (it) - A piece to be played as an introduction or opening piece but often also a single romantic piece, following no specific form.
- Presto (it) - Rapidly, very fast, faster than vivace
- Prestissimo (it) - As fast as possible.
- Rallentando (it.) - Getting gradually slower.
- Ritardando (it.) - Getting gradually slower.
- Ritenuto (it.) - Detained, held back, slowed down.
- Romance (fr.)/ Romanza (it.) / Romanze (ger.)- Romantic, sentimental melody.
- Rondo - from the French "rondeau". A piece where a main theme reappears in alteration with contrasting other themes. Most often in the form of ABABA or more modern ABACAB and coda.
- Sarabande (it.) - A dance of Spanish origin in 3/4 or 3/2 time. Often part of old suites. It has a steady pace and mostly two parts.
- Serenade (fr.) - An evening music. A composition for use in the open air at night.
- Siciliano (it.) Sicilienne (fr.) - - a soft, slow peasant dance in 6/8 or 12/8 time, often in a minor key. Rather similar to a Pastorale, usually in ABA form. It usually has a melody in dotted rhythms, with a broken chord accompaniment.
- Sonata (it.) - A composition for one or two instruments with several movements, each following specific forms and characteristics.
- Sonatina (it.) / Sonatine (fr.)- A short sonata, smaller, with less and shorter movements and the subjects not developed at length.
- Staccato (it.) - In a crisp, detached separated manner. Opposite of legato
- Stringendo (it.) - hasting the movement, becoming faster, pressing.
- Study / Etude - a usually short composition meant to exercise some special difficulty or technique.
- Suite (fr.) - A set or series of movements, each consisting of a dance form (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue, Gavotte, Menuet, Bourree, Passepied, etc.) and all in the same key. Often proceeded by a Prelude.
- Tango - A dance originated in the streets and salons of Buenos Aires, Argentine. It is characterized as very as passionate.
- Tarantella - A rapid Italian dance (supposed to cure the bite of a tarantula).
- Tempo (it.) - Time in the meaning of "rate of movement".
- Toccata (it.) - Brilliant, prelude-like composition.
- Tranquillo (it.) - Tranquilly, quietly, calmly.
- Valse(fr.) - See Waltz
- Variations - A theme repeated several times, each time with modifications in time, melody or harmony, but still staying recognizable as the original theme.
- Vivace (it.) - Lively, very fast.
- Waltz / Valse (fr.) / Valce (it.) / Walzer (ger.)- A dance form said to originate in Bohemia or the German landler. It is in 3/4 time. "Classical" waltzes are compositions in waltz-form but not for dancing.