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Site Seeing - Music GlossariesMusic Glossaries

In principle, the net makes a wonderful medium for glossaries and dictionaries - they can be interactive and can use multimedia techniques. The diversity of the on-line world gives us many highly specialised collections, produced by both experts and novices. New terms can be added when appropriate, and those using the facility can feed information back to the compilers very easily, so that corrections can be made as soon as discovered, and everyone can work with the latest definitions. (In some cases, users can add new terms themselves.) Available technology can give users a searchable window on various huge databases, and soundex type algorithms can be used to match terms when the spelling is incorrect.

In practice, most glossaries are simple static pages, and are quite small, but useful to browse if you know that the term you seek is, for example, an early music term or a computer music term. The bigger search engines (e.g. Altavista) should show you the definitions, anyhow, in any glossary in which they're mentioned, and for seldom-used entries, you probably won't need to search through many pages before reading a relevant glossary entry. Try also OneLook Dictionaries (see below). The main problem is that the information available is currently very patchy, as can be seen from the selection of glossaries listed below.

Copyright © Keith Bramich, March 23rd 1999.


Common but frequently misunderstood sheet music terms's On-line Dictionary

E-mu glossary of Electronic Music Terms  

The Folk File - a collection of terms related to folk music 

Glossary for Iolanthe  

Mediaeval music glossary

MIDI and Computer Music Glossary  

Multilingual dictionary of musical terms  

Musical Instruments Abbreviation List - Includes standard italian terms 

Music Dictionary - includes dynamic symbols and tempo terms 

Music technology glossary

Music technology terms

Rap Dictionary  

Der Salsaholic - a glossary of Latin Music Terms  

Solomon's glossary of technical musical terms  



Lists of glossaries

  • OneLook Dictionaries - a system which indexes other dictionaries, so that look ups can be made from one place. Also has links to other dictionaries.

  • Online Dictionaries, Glossaries and Encyclopaedias is a big list of links to glossaries of all types. It seems to have been abandoned for about three years, and so some of the links are now out of date.

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