Which is the fastest tempo – andante, allegretto, or adagio?
Is fortissimo a title given to a high-ranking officer?
Does libretto refer to the words or the music?
Which requires more than one note, a crescendo or an arpeggio?
Which indicates musical skill – bravura, intaglio, or imbroglio?
adagio – slowly, in music. The plural, adagios, refers to a slow movement in music or a slow ballet dance requiring skillful balancing.
andante – moderate in tempo. This is a musical direction faster than adagio but slower than allegretto. A slightly faster tempo is given the diminutive andantino.
arpeggio – the playing of the tones of a chord in rapid succession rather than simultaneously.
bravura – in music, a florid passage requiring great skill and spirit in the performer; a display of daring; a brilliant performance (used as a noun and as an adjective).
contralto – the lowest female voice or part, between a soprano and a tenor; a woman having such a voice.
crescendo – a gradual increase in the volume or intensity of sound; a music passage played in crescendo. Crescendo is also used as a verb.
falsetto - a typically male singing voice, the result of artificially produced tones in an upper register that go beyond the voice’s normal range.
fortissimo – a very loud passage, sound or tone. The word is also used as an adverb.
imbroglio – a confused or difficult situation; a confused heap or tangle. The original Latin word describes the situation best – inbroglio (“entangled in a bush”)
intaglio – a figure or design cut beneath the surface of a hard metal or stone; the art of carving in this manner; a gemstone carved in intaglio. Intaglio is in contrast with cameo, where the design is raised and differs in color from the background.
largo – in a slow, solemn manner (a direction in music); a slow, broad movement (noun).
libretto – the text of an opera or other dramatic musical work. It is the Italian diminutive of libro (“book”).
salvo – a simultaneous discharge of firearms; a sudden outburst of cheers or the like. It is not surprising to find that words like salutation, salutary, salve, and salvation are related to salvo since the Latin salve (“hail”), and salvus (“safe or well”), form the ancestry of both strands of meaning.
staccato – music performed with a crisp, sharp attack to simulate rests between successive tones; composed of abrupt, distinct, emphatic parts or sounds. This word is from the Old French word destachier(“detach”) and is contrasted with legato.
vendetta – blood feud; a prolonged feud marked by bitter hostility. This is the Italian word for revenge and is related to vindicate, our meaning for which is “to avenge.”
I. Which Word Comes to Mind?
In each of the following, read the statement, then circle the word that comes to mind.
A musical direction
(largo, falsetto, contralto)
A volley of rockets
(salvo, adagio, andante)
An embarrassing situation
(fortissimo, libretto, imbroglio)
A scrawny boy seeking to get even with a bully
(vendetta, bravura, arpeggio)
(crescendo, intaglio, staccato)
I’m going to get you for that
(largo, vendetta, fortissimo)
The story of Carmen
(libretto, arpeggio, falsetto)
Sudden loud music drowned out our conversation
(fortissimo, staccato, andante)
A female singer with a surprisingly deep voice
(bravura, falsetto, contralto)
A carved gemstone
(imbroglio, intaglio, adagio)
II. True or False?
In the space provided, indicate whether each statement is true or false.
____ 1. A contralto has a higher-pitched voice than a soprano.
____ 2. If the direction read andante, the music should be played slowly.
____ 3. A man singing in falsetto has probably hit a wrong note.
____ 4. An intaglio design is cut below the surface.
____ 5. A participant in a vendetta tends to harbor unreasonable hatred.
____ 6. A sergeant barked out his commands in staccato fashion.
____ 7. With a salvo of fireworks, the celebration ended.
____ 8. I requested a largo tempo because the music was too slow and solemn.
____ 9. Applause for the winning candidate reached a crescendo.
____ 10. Parents were called to school to settle the imbroglio that had developed between