word definition
improvisation Spontaneous composition; composing the music as you are playing; extemporaneous soloing; “musical conversing.”
inland waterway A canal, river or lake that can be used by boats, barges or ships.
intonation The degree of adherence to correct pitch by a given instrument; good intonation suggests close approximation of the pitch; poor intonation implies the opposite (horn players, unlike pianists, have the ability to adjust their intonation by pushing in or pulling out their mouthpieces as well as by adjusting their embouchure).
intro The introductory section of a tune prior to the theme statement, or head.
intuition The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes.
intuitive; intuitively Of, relating to, or arising from intuition; subconsciously; reflexively; (e.g., in the same way people converse, most jazz musicians improvise more intuitively than cognitively).
jam Musician's slang for a session of improvising.
jam session An informal gathering and performance of musicians, stressing improvisation.
jazz A music originating in America. Characteristics include syncopation, improvisation, and strong expressions of emotion.
jazz waltz Medium to up tempo swing groove in 3/4 time, i.e., a feeling of three beats to the bar (please note that a tune does not necessarily have to be written in 3/4 to be played as a jazz waltz; for example, Footprints is written in 6/4 but is generally played with a jazz waltz feel, i.e., each 6/4 bar feels like two bars of 3/4); tunes in the standard jazz repertoire usually played as a jazz waltz include All Blues, Black Narcissus, Bluesette, A Child is Born, Emily, Footprints, How My Heart Sings, My Favorite Things, Someday My Prince Will Come, Up Jumped Spring, Valse Hot, West Coast Blues, and Windows.
Jim Crow laws Laws of segregation.
jitterbug A lively dance for couples, usually done to swing music.
jukebox An automatic phonograph that plays recordings when money is inserted into a coin slot.
Latin Catchall term used by jazz musicians denoting any straight-eighth groove that incorporates bossa and/or samba rhythms (or other Latin dance rhythms including Afro-Cuban, baion, beguine, calypso, cha-cha, conga, guaguanco, mambo, merengue, paso doble, rumba, salsa, and songo).
Latin percussion instruments Musical instruments often played by ensembles in Latin American countries such as bongos, congas, cow bells, etc.
lead sheet Sheet of music indicating the basic melody and chord symbols (i.e., head and changes) of an entire tune (e.g., the way each tune is written in the Aebersold play-along books - or any fakebook - is considered a lead sheet)
Lindy Hop See "jitterbug."
looping The continuous repetition of a musical phrase manipulated by electronic means; in acid jazz, the accompaniment portion of old records are often sampled then looped, providing the background for new recordings (over which are placed other synthesized sounds, raps, and/or jazz improvisations).
lynching Putting an accused person to death, usually by hanging without a lawful trial.
mainstream Originally a term that embraced certain music (particularly small bands) which extended the swing jazz tradition into the present; an umbrella term that includes all post-bebop acoustic jazz except that which is considered free or avant garde jazz; jazz reflecting hard bop sensibilities.
megaphone A large funnel-shaped horn used to increase the volume of the voice.
melisma a group of notes sung to one syllable of text
microphone An instrument for magnifying sound.
modal jazz Jazz tunes that stay on one mode (and thus on one chord) for a long time, usually at least four bars per mode (in contrast with most standard jazz repertoire which changes chords far more frequently).
modal tune Type of tune that is harmonically based on a small number of modes (scales), each lasting a long time (four or more bars) rather than a progression of rapidly changing chords; examples of modal tunes include Impressions, Maiden Voyage, and Cantaloupe Island.
mode A particular series of notes that are derived from a "parent" scale beginning and ending with a note other than the parent scale's root, resulting in a different set of intervals and tonal center thus creating a different mood, e.g., the second mode of the Bb major scale (Bb C D Eb F G A Bb) is C Dorian (C D Eb F G A Bb C).
moving assembly line A row of workers and machines along which work is passed until the product is made.
multiphonic Technique in instrumental music in which a monophonic instrument (one which generally produces only one note at a time) is made to produce several notes at once.
mute The device brass players insert in the bell of their instrument to diminish the loudness of their instrument and create various effects.
New Deal The policies and measures proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a means of improving economic and social conditions during the 1930s.
New Orleans style jazz Early instrumental jazz band music; Dixieland.
nonet A band, ensemble, combo, or unit consisting of nine musicians.
out-head The last chorus of a tune when the music returns to the original theme, or head.
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