music dictionary : W - We

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Wafter the catalogue of music by Georg Christoph Wagenseil (1715-1777) prepared by Helga Schölz-Michelitsch
after the catalogue of music by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) prepared by John Deathridge, Martin Geck and Egon Voss (b.1937)
also Wq, after Alfred Wotquenne (1867-1939), the cataloguer of music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
reference to Gérard Zwang's catalogue of the secular cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
referring to the catalogue prepared by Chappell White of music by Giovanni Battista Viotti (1755-1824)
referring to the catalogue prepared by Monika Willer of the concertos by Johann Gottlieb Graun (1703-1771)
referring to the list of works in the appendices to the book about Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) by David P. Appleby
referring to the catalogue prepared by Alexander Weinmann of the works of Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739-1813)
Wabbreviation of Werke (German: work, piece), 'west', 'western'
W.abbreviation of 'Wednesday', 'west', 'western'
w.abbreviation of 'warm', 'week', 'weight', 'white'
WAabbreviation of 'Western Australia'
Wafrom Burma, castanets held together by a metal hinge. The player's thumb and index finger pass through the leather cords connected to both halves of the castanet. This instrument forms a pair with the si. The singer holds the si in the right hand and the wa in the left playing opposing rhythms. Weak beats are sounded on the si, and strong beats on the wa
  • Wa from which this extract has been taken
Waage(German f.) scales (for weighing)
waagebalken(German m.) balance rail
[entry supplied by Michael Zapf]
waagerecht(German) horizontal, horizontally
Waarde(Dutch) value
Waardestreep(Dutch) beam
WABreferring to the catalogue prepared by Renate Grasberger of music by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
Wabe(German f.) honeycomb
wach(German) awake, alert
Wache(German m.) guard, sentry, guard duty, watch (at sea)
Wache halten(German) keep watch
wachen(German) to be awake
wachen über(German) to watch over
Wache stehen(German) stand guarad
wachhund(German m.) guard-dog
Wacholder(German m.) juniper
Wachposten(German m.) sentry
Wachs(German n.) wax
wachsam(German) vigilant, vigilantly
Wachsamkeit(German f.) vigilance
wachsen(German) to grow, to wax
wachsend(German, literally 'growing') increasing, crescendo
Wachsfigur(German f.) waxwork
Wachstuch(German n.) oil-cloth
Wachstum(German n.) growth
Wachstumring(German m.) a growth ring
Wachte(German) see custos
Wachtel(German f., literally 'quail') an instrument imitating the bird-cry of the quail
Wachtelpfeife(German f.) see wachtel
Wächter(German m.) guard, keeper, attendant
Wächterlied(German n.) watchman's-song, one of the Minnesinger counterparts of the alba of the Provençal toubadours and one form of the Tagelied of the German Minnesinger, all of which depict the separation of two lovers at the break of day. Specific to the Wächterlied, the trusted watchman warns the knight to depart
Wachtmeister(German m.) (police) constable
Wachturm(German m.) watch-tower
wach werden(German) to wake up
wackelig(German) or wacklig, wobbly, rickety, shaky (person)
Wackelkontakt(German m.) loose contact
wackeln(German) to wobble, to shake, to totter
wackligsee wackelig
Wa-daiko(Japanese) Japanese drum
Wade(German f.) calf (part of the leg)
Wadexabbreviation of 'word and author index'
Wadi(Arabic) a dry water-course, a gulley
Wadmelor hodden, a coarse cloth made of undyed wool, formerly much worn by the peasantry of Scotland
Waffe (s.), Waffen (pl.)(German f.) weapon, arms (plural form)
Waffel(German f.) waffle, wafer (with ice-cream)
Waffenruhe(German f.) cease-fire
Waffenstillstand(German m.) armistice
Wagemut(German m.) daring
wagemutig(German) daring, daringly
Wagen(German m.) cart, carriage, coach, pram, car
wagen(German) to risk
Wagenheber(German m.) (car) jack
Wagenseil-Verzeichniscatalogue of the orchestral works of Georg Christoph Wagenseil (1715-1777) prepared by Helga Schölz-Michelitsch
Waggon(German m.) wagon
waghalsig(German) daring, daringly
Wagnerian rocka musical genre that was created by Jim Steinman due to his love for the music of Richard Wagner and Phil Spector. The genre is a merger (almost a musical hybrid) of twentieth century Rock & Roll and nineteenth century Opera reminiscent that of Wagner's and Spector's, and not to say the least, with a major distinctive touch of Steinman's own musical skills. The genre can be argued to be a subform of Rock opera
Wagner tubaWagnertuba (German f.), tuba wagneriana (Italian f., Spanish f.), Waldhorntuba (German f.), tuba ténor (French m.), tuba Wagner (French m.), tuba wagnérien (French m.)
brass instrument invented by Richard Wagner (1813-83) derived from the French horn although looking like a baritone horn
available as a B-flat tenor and an F bass, and usually played by members of the horn section
Wagnertuba (s.), Wagnertuben (pl.)(German f.) Wagner tuba, tuba wagneriana (Italian f., Spanish f.), Waldhorntuba (German f.), tuba ténor (French m.), tuba Wagner (French m.), tuba wagnérien (French m.)
Wagnis(German n.) risk
Wagon(French m.) carriage (for passengers), wagon (for goods)
Wagon-lit(French m.) a sleeping-coach on a Continental train
Wagonwheelone of the big circle figures danced by all couples in one large circle facing the centre which are traditionally associated with square dancing
Wagonghua Korean harp with thirteen strings attached diagonally to a soundbox
Wagon-lit(French m.) sleeping-car (train)
Wagon-restaurant(French m.) dining-car (train)
Wahine tuningsslack-key guitar tunings based on a major-seventh
Wahl(German f.) choice, election, ballot
wählen(German) to choose, to elect, to vote, to dial (telephone)
wahlfrei(German) optional
Wähler (m.), Wählerin (f.)(German) voter
wählerisch(German) choosy, fussy
Wahlfach(German n.) optional subject
wahlfrei(German) optional
Wahlkampf(German m.) election campaign
Wahlkreis(German m.) consistuency
Wahllokal(German n.) polling-station
wahllos(German) indiscriminate. indiscriminately
Wahlrecht(German n.) right to vote
Wählscheibe(German f.) (telephone) dial
Wahlspruch(German m.) motto
Wahlurne(German f.) ballot-box
Wahlverwandtschaft (s.), Wahlverwandtschaften (pl.)(German f.) a natural sympathy and intuitive understanding between two persons
Wahn(German m.) delusion, mania
wähnen(German) to believe
Wahnsinn(German m.) madness
wahnsinnig(German) mad, insane, crazy, terrible
wahnsinnig werden(German) go mad, terribly
Wahnsinnige (m.), Wahnsinniger (f.)(German) maniac
Wahnvorstellung(German f.) deception, delusion
wahr(German) true, real
wahren(German) to keep, to safeguard
währen(German) to last
während(German) during, while, whereas
währenddessen(German) in the meantime
wahrhaftig(German) really, truly
Wahrheit(German f.) truth
wahrheitsgemäß(German) truthful, truthfully
wahrnehmbar(German) perceptible
wahrnehmen(German) to notice, to take advantage of, to exploit, to look after
Wahrnehmung(German f.) perception
wahrsagen(German) to predict
Wahrsagerin(German f.) fortuneteller
wahrscheinlich(German) probable, probably
Wahrscheinlichkeit(German f.) probability
Währung(German f.) currency
wahr werden(German) to come true
Wahrzeichen(German n.) symbol
Wah-wah(English, German m.) in jazz, an onomatopoetic term that describes the undulating sound produced by alternatingly dampening, then restoring, a portion of a tone, for example, on brass instruments by muting, on electric guitars through the use of an electronic device, placed on the floor and operated with the player's foot
Wah-Wah muteor 'plunger mute', used on brass instruments, a mute shaped like a 'plumber's helper', used to create wah-wah sounds as it is held and moved in front of the instrument's bell while a note is being played
Wah-wah pedala foot operated device used by an electric guitarist and bassist which modulates the output by removing low frequencies and boosts high frequencies producing the characteristic wah-wah effect
Waiata(Maori, literally 'singing') songs that were not first written down until early in the 20th-century
Waila musicsee 'chicken scratch'
Wailingpiangendo (Italian), klagend (German), plaintif (French m.), plaintive (French f.)
Waise(German f.) orphan
(German f.) an unrhymed line in poetry, which, in German poetry, when marked the rhyme scheme, would be indicated with a small x (the rhyming lines would be marked with small a, b, c, etc.)
Waisenhaus(German n.) orphanage
Waisenkind(German n.) orphan
Waista narrowing in the middle of the body of an instrument, resulting in a shape like an hourglass, typically found in string instruments, and on some drums
(of a bell) the middle area of the bell wall
Waitalso 'wayte' or 'wayghte', a medieval salaried musician who originally acted as a town watchman, equivalent to the German Stadtpfeifer
waits originally seem to have been watchmen or sentinels in camps, castles, and other fortified places, including towns, and to have played some kind of horn as an alarm or signal. By the fifteenth century towns were becoming the characteristic employers of waits, and in some towns waits were coming to be regarded as musicians primarily and watchmen secondarily. By the end of the sixteenth century the transition was general if not complete: waits were then municipal musicians, who had traditional but relatively unimportant guardian functions. Well before this time the waits of London had achieved musical importance because they were, except for the King's Musick, the only permanent, secular musical organization in London, and because they may have been the only organization in England regularly giving public concerts
[from Musicians In English Society From Elizabeth To Charles I by Woodfill]
a street musician who performed songs and music as part of Christmas celebrations
old name for a shawm
Waji(Afghanistan) arched harp
  • Waji from which this information has been taken
Wakaor yamato uta, a genre of Japanese poetry closely related to the tanka, consisting of alternate five- and seven-syllable lines. The primary difference seems to be that the word waka dates back to the sixth century BC, while the more familiar terms tanka and uta date back to an eighth-century CE poetry anthology, the Manyoshu
Waka-pinkullusAndean single-register mouthpiece flutes
Wakesoriginally the celebration of the feast day of a particular saint, usually the parish church's patron saint, Wakes became local holidays, with village sports, dancing and other communal pastimes taking place on the saint's day and for several days afterwards
Wal(German m.) whale
Walberswick Artists Colonyestablished in about 1880 as a 'seaside' artists colony. Early residents included Charles Keene and Phillip Wilson Steer. Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife lived here (1914/15) but were forced to return to London suspected of espionage after letters were found in their house from the Austrian Successionist painters
Wald(German n.) wood, forest
Waldensianssect organised in the 12th century in Lyons; the founder became a mendicant preacher and expounded against the worldliness of the established church; the sect survives today
Waldesgespräch(German n.) conversation in the woods
Waldflöte(German) shepherd's flute
(German f., literally 'forest flute') or Waldflute, in an organ, a full-toned open metal flue pipe at 4 ft. and 2ft. pitch
Waldhorn(German n., literally 'forest horn') valveless hunting horn, winding-horn, French horn, corno (Italian m., Spanish m.), Horn (English, German n.), cor (French m.), cuerno (Spanish m.)
(German n.) bugle
Waldhorntuba (s.), Waldhorntuben (pl.)(German f.) Wagner tuba, tuba wagneriana (Italian f., Spanish f.), Wagner-Tuba (German f.), tuba ténor (French m.), tuba Wagner (French m.), tuba wagnérien (French m.)
waldig(German) wooded
Waldteufel(German m.) bull-roarer, thunder stick, friction drum
Waldzither(German f.) a term that came into use around 1900, in order to distinguish citterns from zithers
Wa let-hkokfrom the Burmese classical orchestra, the saing waing, a split bamboo clapper
Waliwork dances that are quite popular in the regions of Guinea in West Africa. It is performed in two sections, koukou and triba. Koukou is a Malinke dance from the Guinean highlands, and is a work dance for young men and women. Triba is shared with the Landouma of mid-Guinea; it is performed to celebrate their rice harvest
Waliser(German m.) Welshman
walisisch(German) Welsh
Walkaroundalso spelled 'walk-around' or 'walk around', or called a 'horay', a dance from the blackface minstrel shows of the 19th century. The 'walkaround' began in the 1840s as a dance for one performer, but by the 1850s, many dancers or the entire troupe participated
Walkdownor 'curtain call', when, at the end of a performance, the actors come to the front of the stage to take their bows
Walking bass(English, German m.) a bass line that moves steadily in a rhythm contrasting to that of the upper parts
in jazz, a 'walking bass' usually moves by steps played on bass or piano, with each note usually having the duration of a crotchet (quarter note)
walking rhythm(jazz term) a moving, four-beat rhythmic pattern, usually said of the bass line
Walking stick flutea flute elongated to the length of and finished to look like a gentleman's walking stick. Other wind instruments, e.g. flageolets, harmonicas, were similarly incorporated into gentlemen's walking sticks
Walking stick violinlike the walking stick flute above, an instrument designed to be portable when disguised as a walking stick
Walking tunein Scandinavia, walking tunes have been used for marches or promenades for generations. More recently, walking tunes have also served as music for the pivot dance, snoa
Wall(German m.) mound, rampart
Wallfahrer (m.), Wallfahrerin (f.)(German) pilgrim
Wallfahrt(German f.) pilgrimage
Wall of Sounda phrase used to describe the effect created by the music production techniques of legendary record producer Phil Spector
Wallon (m.), Wallonne (f.)(French) Walloon
wallon (m.), wallonne (f.)(French) Walloon
Walnuß(German f.) walnut
Walnut(German Walnuss, French Noyer, European Species: Juglans regia, American Species: J. nigra (Black walnut): Average Weight: 38 to 48 pounds per cubic foot) walnut was in use as a furniture wood in England from the Tudor period and from at least the 14th century on the continent. The statute of 1371 that formed the Paris Joiners' Guild mentions armoires of walnut as one of the guild's products. Walnut was the predominant furniture wood of the Renaissance in France and Italy. Walnut is reasonably strong, while still being workable. American Walnut is a close replacement, although a fair amount of "American" walnut is apparently really J. regia or a European/American hybrid
Walpurgisnacht(German f.) the Eve of St.Walburga, the night before 1st May, when according to German belief witches and spirits are aboard to exercise their powers, hence, a witches' sabbath
Wals(Dutch) waltz
Wals (cylinder)(Dutch) barrel or cylinder (inside a barrel organ)
Waltzvalzer (Italian), Walzer (German), valse (French)
The waltz (Walzer) is derived from the old German Ländler (c. 1750), and was danced in slow 3/4 and 3/8 time by couples in clogs or hobnailed boots on the lawn in front of the village inn or in the town square. In the early 19th-century the waltz moved to cities and became popular among Vienna's bourgeoisie. The ballroom waltz was faster with long, smooth steps and more flexible figures. This was possible thanks to the light shoes and dress worn by dancers, as well as to the waxed floor. The waltz has only one accent, on "one", the remaining beats in the bar are light and equal in length, this pattern repeated from bar to bar. The dance generally has an introduction, a number of different melodies, before finishing with a coda. There are a number of variations in the form:
Viennese waltzfeatures a slight anticipation of the second beat (called the Atempause) which gives a characteristic lilt to its performance
French waltzplaces the major emphasis on the first beat of the bar (or measure)
'English' or 'Boston' waltzplaces even emphasis on all three beats of the bar (or measure)
Chopin's surviving 19 waltzes (five he wrote as a child), along with his mazurkas and polonaises, were clearly not intended to be danced to. They marked the adoption of the waltz and other dance forms as serious composition genres
Walz(German) barrel or cylinder (inside a barrel organ)
Walze(German f.) an ascending or descending turn-like figure
(German f.) in the 18th-century, a term used for musical figures such as the Alberti bass
(German f.) the roll in a player piano
(German f.) crook, corps de rechange
(German f.) roller
Walzeisen(German n.) rolled iron
wälzen(German) to roll, to pore over (book), to mull over (problem)
Walzenorchestrion(German) barrel orchestrion
Walzenorgel(German) barrel organ
Walzer(German m.) waltz
Walzer tanzen(German) to (dance a) waltz
Walzertempo(German n.) waltz-time
Walzsonga song in waltz rhythm
Wande(German f.) wall, partition, side, face
Wandel(German) change
wandelbar(German) changeable
wandeln(German) to stroll
Wanderbewegung(German f., literally, 'trecking movement') a movement popular in post-World War I Germany, that promoted guitars, mandolins, and recorders as part of their cultural philosophy devoted to 'German' music, songs, and poetry. The lost war, the collapse of the monarchy, and the bloody street fighting that followed disgusted many young people at the time. They retreated into their own world by literally "heading for the hills." Drawing upon German romantic tradition, they thought that they could recapture the essence of German culture through a retreat to nature. Feeling betrayed and bewildered, they rejected their present world in search of what they thought would be more genuine, simpler values and traditions to be found in nature. In 1933 Hitler banned all independent youth groups in 1933. Germany had, and still has, many regional folk traditions of music and dance. Much of the 20th century, however, has seen German culture appropriated by the ruling powers (who fought "foreign" music at the same time). More recently, the East German regime promoted folk music as long as it was what they saw as an expression of pure German tradition, and a tool for spreading party propaganda. In both East and West Germany, folk songs called volkslieder were taught to children; these were popular, sunny and optimistic, and had little relation to authentic German folk traditions
Wanderjahre(German n. pl.) the years of wanderings, the years spent by a journeyman travelling from one workshop to another to gain knowledge and experience
in literature, a period in a character's life during which he or she is absent from their normal routine, engaged in thought, travel, and a quest for novel experiences or insight
Wanderlust(German f.) fondness for travelling, an urge to see the world
Wandervogel (s.), Wandervögel (pl.)(German m.) a young person exploring the countryside or visiting foreign countries, usually in a simple, inexpensive way
WandindiKenyan guitar
Wandler(German m.) transformer
Wandschoner(German m.) wall covering
Wanggaa musical genre of the Indigenous Australian people near the South Alligator River
Wanhamsee wolgeum
wankend(German) hesitating, wavering, shaking
Wannajor zannaj, the Arabic harp, the name a loose phonectical prounciation from Syriac-Greek dialect word for 'phoenix'
Wapa(Bonaire) a graceful, rhythmic, shuffling dance that mimics the movements used in planting and harvesting
see seú
Wa patala(Burmese) wooden xylophone
War.abbreviation of 'Warsaw', 'Warwickshire'
Warblesing, yodel
Warblersinger (colloquial)
War dancesdances associated with preparations for war, in imitation of the acts of heroes, to celebrate the festivals of the gods of war, etc.
Wardenhead of a custody, or subsection of a province, within the Franciscan order
(in medieval cooking) a hard pear with blackish bruises, prepared by baking or stewing
Wardrobecostumes, or the people responsible for them
Wardrobe Masterthe person in charge of the costume department
Wardrobe Mistressthe person in charge of the costume department
Warks.abbreviation of 'Warwickshire'
Warlekkoke(Burmese) bamboo clappers
Wärme(German f.) warmth
Warm upexercise that prepares a player or singer, particularly designed to limber up the muscles
Warpipesthe chanter has eight holes and plays a distinctive 'pipe scale' to which is added one tenor drone, tuned an octave below the chanter, and a bass drone tuned a further octave lower
Warsaw ConcertoRichard Addinsell (1904-1977) has had the perhaps unfortunate fate of not only being eclipsed by a piece of his music, but by the name of a piece of his music. Say "Richard Addinsell" to people and they will ask, "Who?" But say Warsaw Concerto to them and they can probably hum it - at least they can if they are over about 50, listen to Classic FM, or are Spike Milligan fans. Warsaw Concerto was the Rachmaninov-like musical highlight of the film Dangerous Moonlight (1941) in which Polish piano virtuoso Stefan Radetzky escapes from Warsaw only to return to the war to fight
WasaabiJapanese horseradish, that has an unusual fluorescent green flesh, it has a very strong taste and is used greatly in Japanese cuisine
Waschbrett(German n.) washboard
Wash.abbreviation of 'Washington'
Washboard(English, French m., German n.) ) originally used to scrub laundry by hand and consisting of a wooden board or frame that holds a metal plate with a corrugated surface, the washboard has a musical use as a percussion instrument to add a "raspy" or scraping sound to the rhythm of a composition, a sound similar to that produced by a güiro
Washi (Japanese) or Wagami (Japanese), a type of paper made in Japan. Washi is commonly made using fibres from the bark of the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub (Edgeworthia papyrifera), or the paper mulberry, but also can be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat
  • Washi from which this extract has been taken
Washintan Ethiopian end-blown bamboo flute with four finger holes, similar to the foodhir and ney
Washtub bassor 'gutbucket', a folk instrument made from an overturned washtub (the resonator), broom handle (the neck), and a single string, the tension on the string being provided by pulling back and forth on the handle
Wasla (s.), Waslat (pl.)suites of instrumental and vocal pieces, a feature of urban-based performances of Arab music at the beginning of the 20th-century
Waslialso referred to as wasli paper, a type of paper used specifically for painting miniatures. It was devised in India, in the 10th century, and figures widely in Mughal-era painting
Wasouloualso wassoulou, wasoulou or wasulu, named for the Wasoulou region in southern Mali, a musical style from Mali, typified by a strong Arabic feel, practised by the jelis, the music-making caste whose hereditary role as 'praise singers' and musicians has, since the thirteenth century, been at the heart of professional Malian music. Today that monopoly has been broken and today wasoulou features also a new generation of (mostly female) artists referred to themselves as kono ('songbirds')
Wassail(from Anglo-Saxon for 'good health') a drinking festival, often mentioned in Christmas carols, associated particularly with the West Country of England, and with Twelfth Night and cider apple orchards. The West Country Wassail traditionally takes place on 17th January, the modern equivalent of the date of Twelfth Night of the Julian calendar (which was replaced with the Gregorian calendar in 1752). Accounts of the wassailing of fruit trees were recorded in St Albans in 1486 and Kent in 1586, while the 17th-century diarist John Aubrey wrote of the practice of toasted slices of bread being placed in the cider apple trees. Cecil Sharp recorded a wassail song on his early 20th-century study of English folk music
Wasserklappe(German f.) water key, chiave dell'acqua (Italian f.), clé d'eau (French f.), llave de agua (Spanish f.)
Wassermusik(German f.) water music
Wasserorgel(German f.) see hydraulus
was soll ich anziehen?(German) what shall I wear
Wassoulousee wasoulou
Waste palleta valve in the organ bellows which allows superfluous air to escape
Wasulusee wasoulou
Watcha watchathe first genre of Malagasy pop music, a benga-inspired electric dance music from the northwest coast of the island
Wate(Fiji, Pacific Islands) or dele, a women's dance in which they sexually humiliated the corpses and captives
Water drummingor liquindi, percussion created by men or women who plunge, slap and beat their hands in the river to create a variety of rhythmic and melodic sounds for example, the Baka forest people of southeast Cameroon; West African drums made from large gourds, cut in half, scraped clean and carefully dried, before being filled with water (if the drum is large) or being placed cut-side down in the water (if the drum is smaller)
Waterleafsee 'sizing'
Water gongthis is the name given to the effect of dipping a vibrating gong or small tam-tam into water. As the gong begins to submerge a downward glissando is produced and conversely as the gong is raised from the water, an upward glissando
Water keychiave dell'acqua (Italian f.), Wasserklappe (German f.), llave de agua (Spanish f.), clé d'eau (French f.), a convenient outlet for condensation and other moisture which collects in wind and brass instruments
Waterleafa carved design for column capitals of simple sinuous foliate designs
Water-gildingthe application of gold leaf to a wood substructure that has been prepared with layers of gesso and clay. The binder in this technique is traditionally rabbit skin glue. This technique offers the most brilliance possible in a gold finish. It is the most manipulable gold finish available, having the widest range of possibilities between matte and brilliant. A burnish water-gilt surface is the most reflective finish possible
Watermarkidentifying design, indented in paper, that distinguishes one paper-type from another
Water organsee hydraulus
Waterphonea percussion instrument with a bulbous body and a small funnel through which water is poured. There is are steel prongs welded around the outer edge. When the prongs are bowed or scraped with the finger nail, etc., the instrument produces an eerie, ethereal sound
Waterside Cottagesestablished in Drayton St Leonard, Oxfordshire, in the 1880s, by C.R. Ashbee, as holiday cottages run by the Guild of Handicraft for its workers
Watsa-watsapopular Malagasy dance rhythm influenced by music from Mozambique and Congo
wattierter Schlägel(German m.) padded stick
Watts, Dr.see 'Dr. Watts'
Waulking songa traditional Gaelic song form, waulking is a process for fulling Harris tweed (making it more airtight). The word waulking is a Scots word from the 14th century meaning the same as "full" in English. The waulking process not only fulls the tweed but also shrinks it slightly. The term waulking was coined by a non-Gaelic speaker who saw a waulking done by the feet and modified the word 'walking'. Waulkings were done by both hand and foot, but more usually by hand. The Gaelic name for waulking songs is Orain Luaidh, luaidh translates to 'full'. In Scotland, waulking was done exclusively by women whereas in Cape Breton both men and women did it - waulking is often seen in Cape Breton at "milling frolics"
Wau-wau-Dämfer(German m.) wah-wah mute
WAVa standard format for digital sound, developed by Microsoft. WAV files produce extremely high sound quality but take up more space than MP3s
Waveforma sound wave generated by an oscillator to produce notes with different timbres, for example, sine, pulse, sawtooth, square
Waveform generatorsee 'signal generator'
Wavelengthsymbolically, the Greek lower-case lambda (λ) - the distance between one peak (or crest) of a sine wave and the next corresponding peak (or crest). The wavelength of any frequency may be found by dividing the speed of sound by the frequency. The lengths of the sound waves (wavelengths) we can hear range from one inch to 40 feet. High frequency sounds have short wavelengths (and are more directional), low frequency sounds have long wavelengths (and are less directional). In lighting terms, blue light is short wavelength, green is medium and red is long wavelength. Beyond visible light are the short wavelength 'ultra violet' light and the long wavelength 'infra red' light. Wavelengths of light are measured in Angstroms or metres
Wave organan acoustic sculpture constructed on the shore of San Francisco Bay by the Exploratorium. Through a series of pipes, the wave organ interacts with the waves of the bay and conveys their sound to listeners at several different stations. The effects produced vary depending on the level of the tide but include rumbles, gurgles, sloshes, hisses, and other more typical wave sounds. The structure incorporates stone platforms and benches where visitors may sit near the mouths of pipes, listening
Waveringtremolando (Italian), zitternd (German), tremblant (French)
Wavya type of damage on a card where it can no longer lie flat, the wavy surface having been caused by water damage. Because of paper's organic properties, it absorbs water and expands when wet. If left to dry without tension applied, the paper's fibres will lose moisture at different rates and shrink unevenly producing a wavy surface
Wax paperor waxed paper, a kind of paper that is made moisture proof through the application of wax. It is used in arts and crafts and in cooking
Wayang(Javanese) sophisticated shadow theatre from Java in which music is provided by a gamelan orchestra. There are three main types
wayang kulitshadow puppet theatre
wayang orang or wayang wonghuman dance-drama theatre
wayang golekthree dimensional wooden puppet theatre
Wayang purwaone type of wayang kulit theatre that makes use of the purwa repertoire, the oldest stories about cosmic events and divine will . The Javanese word purwa means 'beginning' or 'first' and derives, probably, from the Sanskrit parwan, a word used to denote the chapter of the Mahabharata
Wa ya zoLakota (Native American, also known as Sioux) word for the flute or whistle
Wayghtessee 'Waits'
Waylachoor hualaycho, a smaller, higher pitched, charango that is the same as or similar to the maulincho
Way of the Cross, The(Latin) also called Stations of the Cross, Via dolorosa or Via crusis, a devotion performed in succession in front of each of the fourteen representations of episodes in the Passion of Christ
Waytean old name for the hautboy or shawm
Waytessee 'Waits'
Waznin Arab music a wazn (plural, awzan) is a rhythmic pattern or cycle, literally translated as "measure" (also called darb, mizan, and usul)
  • Wazn from which this extract has been taken
wdabbreviation of 'warranted', 'wood'. 'word', 'would'
Wd. Bl.abbreviation of 'wood block'
WDRin 1953 Westdeutscher Rundfunk (West German Radio) officially opened the first electronic music studio in Germany
wdthabbreviation of 'width'
w/eabbreviation of 'week ending', 'weekend'
Weakdebole (Italian), schwach (German), débile (French)
Weak declensionin linguistics, a Germanic/Teutonic noun or adjective that changes little from one declension to another. The consonant [n] is prominent in this declension
Weak endingin poetry, another term for a feminine ending, in which the last syllable of a metrical line is unstressed
Weak verbin linguistics, a Germanic verb whose principle parts require the addition of a dental suffix - i.e., typically a /d/ or a /t/
Weanalied (s.), Weanalieder (pl.)(German n.) song sung in the Viennese dialect
Weapingpiangendo (Italian), weinend (German), pleurant (French)
Weary Blues, Thethe literary career of James Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was launched in 1926 with a volume of jazz poems, The Weary Blues, written for performance with musical accompaniment in the famous Harlem clubs of the era. It captured both the 'Opportunity Prize' and the prestigious 'Spingarn Award' and financed for Hughes the completion of his university education at Lincoln, PA
Weave a Basketone of the big circle figures danced by all couples in one large circle facing the centre which are traditionally associated with square dancing
Weaver, John
a dancer and choreographer who is commonly known as the father of English pantomime
Weave the Ringone of the big circle figures danced by all couples in one large circle facing the centre which are traditionally associated with square dancing
Webpaper manufactured for use as a roll, for the printing of large volume items. Webs were invented in England by Thomas Crompton in 1820. A printing press that utilises paper from rolls is sometimes referred to as a web press
Weber-Fechner lawthe Weber-Fechner law attempts to describe the relationship between the physical magnitudes of stimuli and human perception of the intensity of stimuli. Ernst Heinrich Weber (1795-1878) was one of the first people to approach the study the human response to a physical stimulus in a quantitative fashion. Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-1887) later offered an elaborate theoretical interpretation of Weber's findings, which he called simply Weber's law, though his admirers made the law's name a hyphenate. The relationship between stimulus and perception is logarithmic. This logarithmic relationship means that if the perception is altered in an arithmetic progression (i.e. add constant amounts) the corresponding stimulus varies as a geometric progression (i.e. multiply by a fixed factor). The point is that this logarithmic relationship is valid, not just for the sensation of weight (which was one of Weber's experiments), but for other stimuli as well. The perception of loudness gives rise to a logarithmic scale known as the decibel scale of sound intensity. And yet another is pitch. In the case of perception of pitch, humans hear pitch in a logarithmic or "geometric" ratio-based fashion. For instance, the "pitch distance" between 100 Hz and 150 Hz sounds the same as 1000 Hz and 1500 Hz. The frequency of corresponding notes of adjacent octaves differ by a factor of 2. For notes spaced equally apart to the human ear, the frequencies are related by a multiplicative factor
Web-fedthe method by which a cylinder or rotary press is fed paper in a continuous manner from a large roll. Presses fed by webs can often print on both sides of a paper roll simultaneously at high speeds. They cannot produce the quality printing of sheet-fed presses but are very economical for high volume newspaper printing or other work that requires large press runs
'Web' music'Cathedral' is among the first interactive works of music and art on the web. Created by William Duckworth and Nora Farrell, online since 1997, it consists of three primary components: a website featuring a variety of interactive musical, artistic, and text-based experiences; a group of virtual instruments that allow listeners to participate actively and creatively; and an internet band that gives periodic live performances and offers listeners focused moments in which to come together and play music in an online community
  • Cathedral from which this information has been taken
Web offset
reel-fed offset litho printing, of which there are three main systems of presses:
blanket-to-blanketin which two plate and two blanket cylinders per unit print and perfect the web of paper or board
three-cylinder systemin which plate, blanket and impression cylinders operate in the usual manner to print one side of the paper or board
satellite or planetary systemsin which two, three or four plate and blanket cylinders are arranged around a common impression cylinders to print one side of the web in several colours
Wechseldominante(German f.) the secondary dominant V/V (i.e. dominant of the dominant), 'five of five'
Wechselgesang (s.), Wechselgesänge (pl.)(German m.) antiphony, antiphonal songs
Wechselläuten(German n.) or Variationsläuten (German), change ringing
[information provided by Michael Zapf]
wechseln(German) to change, to shift
Wechselnote (s.), Wechselnoten (pl.)(German f.) changing note(s), passing note(s), appoggiatura(s)
wechseltónig(German) bisonoric
[entry provided by Michael Zapf]
Weckruf(German m.) reveille
Wed.abbreviation of 'Wednesday'
Wedgea diacritical mark used in some Eastern European countries. It indicates a sound like the digraph <ch> in checkers
the sign for staccatissimo, where the note's sounding duration is reduced to a quarter of its written length
sometimes used as an alternative for 'hairpin'
Wedge fuguenickname of J.S. Bach's organ fugue in E minor (BWV 548), composed between 1727 and 1736, and so called because of shape of the fugue's subject
Weeksee 'days of the week'
Week-end(French m.) weekend
Weekend pianosee orphica
w.e.f.abbreviation of 'with effect from'
weg(German) away, off
wegnehmend(German) taking away, togliendo (Italian), en ôtant (French)
Wehmut(German f.) sorrow, sadness, melancholy
Wehmuth(German f.) sorrow, sadness, melancholy
wehmüthig(German) sorrowful, melancholic
Wehmüthigkeit(German f.) sorrow, sadness
wehmütig(German) sorrowful, melancholic
Wehmütigkeit(German f.) sorrow, sadness
Wehrwirtschaft(German f.) war-time economy
weibliche Endung(German f.) feminine ending, feminine cadence
weiblicher Reim(German m.) feminine rhyme
weich(German) delicate, soft, mellow, tender, light, weak
(German) minor
Weicheisen(German n.) soft iron
weicher Einsatz(German m.) soft attack
weicher langer Beckenschlag(German m.) soft long cymbal blow
Weichlot(German n.) soft solder, solder
Weightthe quality created in a syllable of verse in which that syllable both (a) has heavy stress and (b) has a long vowel that stretches out the duration of time necessary to pronounce that syllable
Weight of windthe wind-pressure used in an organ
Weight, withpesante (Italian), ponderoso (Italian), gewichtig (German), avec poids (French), pesant (French)
Weihnachtshistorie(German f.) the Nativity
Weihnachslied(German n., literally 'Christmas song') Christmas carol, Christmas song
Weihnachsmusik(German f.) Christmas music
Weihnachts-OratoriumJ. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio BWV 248
Weihnachtsspiel(German n.) Nativity play
Weimara city in Germany. It is located in the Bundesland of Thuringia (German: Thüringen), north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 64,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899. Weimar was the capital of the Duchy (after 1815 the Grand Duchy) of Saxe-Weimar (German Sachsen-Weimar). In the 20th century, the city gave its name to the Weimar Republic
  • Weimar from which this extract has been taken
weinend(German) weeping, wailing
Weinlied(German n., literally 'wine-song') drinking song
Weinstube (s.), Weinstuben (pl.)(German f.) an inn, a small drinking-house
WeinWVreferring to the catalogue prepared by Wolfgang G. Haas of music by Stanley Weiner (1925-1991)
Weiß-Blech(German n.) tin
Weissenote(German, literally 'white note') minim
weißes Rauschen(German n.) white noise
weiße Taste(German f.) white key
Weißleim(German m.) PVA glue (a wood glue)
weite Harmonie(German f.) extended, or dispersed, harmony, as distinct from close harmony
weite Lage(German f.) open position or harmony
weites Intervall(German n.) compound interval
Weitmelodik(German f.) music using compound intervals
Weitschweifigkeit(German f.) giro di parole (Italian m.) circonlucozione (Italian f.) circumlocution, Umschreibung (German f.), circonlocution (French f.), circunloquio (Spanish m.)
weit umher(German) all around
Wekelijks(Dutch) weekly
Wel.abbreviation of 'Welsh'
Welkincelestial sphere, the apparent surface of the imaginary sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected, the celestial abode of God or the gods, the upper air
often used poetically, for example in 'made the western welkin blush' (a reference to sunset) or 'make the welkin ring' ('to make a very loud sound')
Wellben (Italian), bene (Italian), gut (German), bien (French)
Wellblech(German n.) corrugated sheet iron
Welle(German f.) wave (as in sound wave)
(German f.) lid (for example, of a piano)
Wellenform(German f.) waveform
Wellenlänge(German f.) wave-length
Wellenrauschen(German n.) roar of the waves
Well-made playsee pièce bien faite
Wellpapperohpapier(German n.) containerboard
[entry by Michael Zapf]
Well temperamentalso circular or circulating temperament, a type of tuning described in twentieth-century music theory. The term is modelled on the German word wohltemperiert which appears in the title of J.S. Bach's famous composition, Well-Tempered Clavier. The phrase wohl temperiert also occurs in the works of Bach's predecessor, the organ tuner and music theorist Andreas Werckmeister. The German usage is gute Temperatur, literally 'good temperament', but 'well temperament' has become ingrained, despite its being ungrammatical and, hence, avoidance by some authors
Well-temperedsee 'equal temperament'
Well-Tempered Clavieralso called 'The 48', see Wohltemperierte Klavier, Das
welluidend(Dutch) musical
Welly boot dancean African dance, which is performed by dancers wearing gumboots (which in England would be called 'Wellington boots' or 'Wellies'). Some believe it to be a forerunner of the tap dance. The boots are embellished with bells, so that they ring as the dancers stamp on the ground
Welsh harpa celtic harp
Welsh singinga mode of singing in which the harper plays a melody, and the singer chants an accompanying part, chiefly on the dominant, both contriving to finish together
Welsh step dancingsee clogging
Weltanschauung (s.), Weltanschauungen (pl.)(German f., literally 'world view') the philosophy of an individual, an artist, or a group of like-minded individuals, especially the philosophy concerning one's relationship to civilization
Weltansicht(German, 'world-sight') the general attitude toward life and reality an individual or character demonstrates
Weltbürger (s./pl.)(German m.) a cosmopolitan, a citizen of the world
Welte-Mignona company that produced quality musical instruments from 1832 until 1932, and particularly orchestrions and the famous Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos and later a similar system, the Welte Philharmonie-Orgel, for organs. The last project of Edwin Welte was an electronic organ provided with photo-cells, the Lichttonorgel or Photo tone-Organ. This instrument was the first ever which used analog sampled sound. In 1936, a prototype of such an organ was demonstrated in a concert in Berlin
Welterstaufführung(German f.) world première
Weltgeist(German m.) the spirit of the world, the immanent spiritual quality of things
weltlich(German, literally 'worldly') secular (i.e. not religious)
weltliche Musik(German f., literally 'worldly music') secular music
Weltmeistertitel(German m.) world title
Weltmusik(German f.) world music
Weltpolitik(German f.) world politics, international politics
Weltschmerz(German m.) sentimental pessimism expressing the sorrow, disillusionment, and discontent one feels and accepts as a part of existence
Weltverbesserungswahn(German m.) the illusion of progress, a mistaken belief that things get better and better
Wên and Wuthe two main classes of traditional Chinese drama: civil (wên) and martial (wu). The "script" of these plays is more like a roughly outlined scenario than an actual dramatic text as westerners understand drama. The plays include dialogue in prose and verse, dancing, mime, operatic singing, and acrobatics. Conventionally, the action takes place on a square stage. The subject-matter deals with traditional legends and historical events. The narrative points to a moral, and their setting seems to be a timeless amalgamation of various Chinese periods blended together. There are four types of character in Chinese drama: shêng (general male characters), tan (general female characters), hua-lien (strong vigorous male characters with faces painted like masks), and ch'ou (comedians)
Wende(German f.) change
Wendekreis(German m.) (in geography) tropic
Wendeltreppe(German f.) spiral staircase
wenden(German) to turn
Wendepunkt(German m.) turning point (figurative), an unexpected turn of events (a feature associated particularly with the Novelle)
wendig(German) nimble, manoeuvrable (vehicle)
Wendung(German f.) a phrase (grammar)
however, Tonsatz (German: musical phrase)
wenig(German) little, slightly
weniger(German) less
weniger bewegt(German) less fast
weniger schnell(German) less fast
wenn nichts dazwischenkommt(German) if all goes well
wer(German) who, someone, anyone
Werbeabteilung(German f.) advertising department, publicity department
Werbeagentur(German f.) advertising agency
Werbefilm(German m.) advertising film, promotional film
werben(German) to recruit, to attract
werben für(German) to advertise, to canvass for
werben um(German) to try to attract, to court (attention)
Werbespot(German m.) commercial
Werbung(German f.) advertising
Werckmeister-Stimmung (s.), Werckmeisters Stimmungen (pl.)(German f.) Werckmeister temperament, any of the tuning systems described by Andreas Werckmeister in his writings
werden(German) to become
werdend(German) becoming
Werea Muslim style of music performed most often as a wake-up call for early breakfast and prayers during Ramadan celebrations
Wergeldan alternative spelling for wergild
Wergild(Anglo-Saxon, literally 'man-gold') the legal system of many Germanic tribes, including the Anglo-Saxons. This tradition allowed an individual and his family to make amends for a crime by paying a fine known as wergild to the family of another man whom he had injured or killed. The price varied depending upon the nature of the injury and the status of the injured man
Werk(German n.) work, movement
(German n.) factory, mechanism, action (in the sense of mechanism)
Werkel(German) barrel organ, street organ, hand organ
Werken(German n.) handicraft
werken van enn componist(Dutch) works of a composer
Werk ohne Opuszahl(German n.) work without opus number
Werktreue(German f.) fidelity to the composition (an element considered essential in an historically-informed approach to performance)
Werkunterricht(German m.) handicraft
Werkverzeichnis(German n.) catalogue of works
Werkzeug(German n.) tool, engine, organ, puppet, artefact (archeology), instrument, utensil
(German n.) medium, vehicle, means
(German n.) tools, implements, kit (toolkit)
Werner Icking Music Archiveoften abbreviated WIMA, a web archive of public domain sheet music. WIMA continues the defunct GMD Music Archive and is named after its founder, the late Werner Icking. At present the archive is held by Christian Mondrup
Wernicke's areaa section of the superior-posterior temporal lobe that is thought to be responsible for language comprehension and possibly storage of phonological representations of sounds and words
Wert(German m.) denomination, value
werten(German) to rate
Wertgegenstand(German m.) an object of value
Wertgegenstände(German m. pl.) valuables
Wertlegen auf(German) set great store by
wertlos(German) worthless
Wertminderung(German f.) depreciation
Wertpapier(German n.) security (commerce)
Wertsacken(German f. pl.) valuables
wertvoll(German) valuable
Wesen(German n.) nature, being, creature
Wesendonckin 1852, Richard Wagner (1813-1883) made the acquaintance of a wealthy silk-merchant Otto Wesendonck (1815-1896) and his wife Mathilde (1828-1902). The former placed at the disposal of Wagner, and his wife Christine Wilhelmine (Minna), a small cottage, the Asyl (German, literally 'asylum'), on the Wesendonck estate near Zürich. This setting inspired Wagner to produce some of his finest music. The close association between Wagner and Mathilde soon developed into love, which they were forced to renounce. Their romance eventually found expression, however, in Wagner's passionate score of Tristan und Isolde (1857-59). From this period also are the Wesendonck Lieder, settings for voice and orchestra or piano (1857-58) of five poems by Mathilde Wesendonck
wesentlich(German) essential (in the sense of a component part of a chord), fundamental, considerable
wesentliche Note(German f.) an essential note
wesentliche Septime(German f.) dominant seventh
weshalb(German) why
Wespe(German f.) wasp
wessen(German) whose
west.abbreviation of 'western'
West Coast bluesa type of blues music characterized by jazz and jump blues influences, strong piano-dominated sounds and jazzy guitar solos (which originated from Texas blues players relocated to California)
West Coast coolsee 'West coast jazz'
West Coast hip hop
West Coast jazz(English, Westcoastjazz (German m.)) or 'West Coast cool', a form of jazz music that developed around Los Angeles at about the same time as hard bop jazz was developing in New York City, in the 1950s and 1960s. West Coast Jazz was generally seen as a subgenre of cool jazz
westdeutsch(German) West German
Weste(German f.) waistcoat, vest (U.S.)
Westen(German m.) west
a literary and cinematic genre marked by numerous conventions
Western art musicin an attempt to distinguish between what has, in the West, been termed 'classical music' and classical music traditions of other cultures, academics have introduced the term 'Western art music'. Within this description lies the music of Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schoenberg, etc., but excludes jazz, pop or folk musics
Western concert flutealso called 'concert flute' or 'C flute', the main flute in a modern symphony orchestra, a member of the family of transverse flutes
Western mouth organsee 'harmonica'
Western music
Western promenade dancesa form of partner dance traditionally danced to country-western music, and which are stylistically associated with American country and/or western traditions
West Square Electronic Music Studioa major centre for electronic music, founded in Kennington, London in 1971 and directed by New Zealand-born composer Barry Anderson (1935-1987)
Western square dancealso called 'Modern Western square dance', 'contemporary Western square dance', or 'modern American square dance', has, as its basis, a form established during the 1930s and 1940s by Lloyd Shaw, who solicited definitions from callers across the country in order to preserve traditional American folk dance
Western swingin the late 1920s and 1930s East Coast musicians described territory bands from the Midwest as 'western swing', but the term mainly came to refer to big bands in country music influenced by jazz, popular from the mid-1930s to early 1950s and still influential today. Unlike some other forms of country music, which may or may not be danced to, Western Swing was conceived of as dance music
West Germanica sub-branch of the Germanic family of languages including Dutch, English, and German, in contrast with the North Germanic sub-branch (including Old Norse, Norwegian, and Icelandic) and the East Germanic sub-branch (which included the now extinct language of Gothic)
Westminster chime tunethe world's most common chime tune for striking the quarter-hours. It was originally the Cambridge Quarters, the chime at Great St Mary's, Cambridge, where a new clock was installed in 1793. The Revd Dr Joseph Jowett, a law professor, was asked to compose a chime but it is usually supposed that the composition was by his pupil, William Crotch (1775-1847). Crotch was a child prodigy and at the age of 11 was assistant organist at King's College, Cambridge. The tune of the chime is said to be based on a phrase from Handel's aria I know that my Redeemer Liveth. Its association with London's Westminster Palace began in 1859 when Lord Grimthorpe chose Crotch's tune for the new clock and bells in the Palace of Westminster
these words have become attached to the chime:
Lord through this hour,
Be Thou our guide
So, by Thy power
No foot shall slide
in the Westminster Chime, the notes E, D, C, G are heard a quarter after the hour, followed successively by two phrases of eight notes, three of twelve, and four of sixteen - all on the same bells in different sequences reminiscent of change ringing
see 'Big Ben'
West Saxonthe Old English dialect spoken in Wessex
Wet Spotsa type of damage suffered by hand coloured cards when exposed to water. If a drop of water reaches the surface of such a card, the colourant would dissolve and move toward the droplet's edge. After it dried a light spot bleached of colour with a dark ring around it is left behind
Wet tuningon a free-reed instrument, tuning paired reeds which sound for a single note some small interval apart to create an audible beat or vibrato. Thus, if two reeds sounding at once are tuned 4 Hz apart, there will be a 4 Hz 'vibrato' or 'beat' between the two
WeVreferring to the catalogue which is in preparation of the music of Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826)
WewetowahNorth-American frame drum
Wexf.abbreviation of 'Wexford'