Glossary G


Gamut | The range of notes in a piece, from the lowest to the highest; the same as a ‘palette’ in painting.

Garage rock | A style of unpolished energetic rock music associated with suburban amateur bands; developed as a byproduct of the rock and roll explosion of the late 1950s and 1960s and the relative cheapness of musical equipment at that time.

G-clef | (See treble clef.)

Genre | A general type or kind of music, such as pop, rock and roll, reggae, soul, jazz, etc.

Gig | A live performance by a musician or group playing jazz or popular music; the term is mainly used by smaller bands (the term may become ‘show’ or ‘concert’ as the band’s popularity increases).

Gig bag | A soft, light, and often cheap padded bag used to carry brass, woodwind, and stringed instruments, but most commonly a guitar or bass guitar.

Giocoso | (See scherzando.)

Giusto | A tempo marking that means ‘in exact time or at the proper speed.’

Glam rock | A style of rock music first popular in the early 1970s, featuring (typically male) performers wearing flamboyant clothes and makeup. (Also glitter rock.)

Glee club | A choral group that specializes in singing short songs.

Glissando | (Abbreviation: gliss) A continuous slide upward or downward between two notes.

Glitter rock | (See glam rock.)

Glockenspiel | A percussion instrument consisting of tuned metal bars mounted in a frame that are struck with small mallets to produce a bright metallic sound. (See orchestral bells.)

Gong | A percussion instrument consisting of a flat metal disc that is typically suspended in a frame and struck with a heavy mallet. (Also tam-tam.)

Gospel music | A type of religious popular music that developed in the twentieth century; characterized by dominant vocals (often with a strong use of harmony); the precursor of soul music.


Grace note | An extra note added as an embellishment and not essential to the harmony or melody; often printed in small type in music notation.

Grandioso | A general term that means ‘grandly.’ (Also maestoso.)

Grand opera | A style of opera focusing on serious, historical plots with huge choruses, crowd scenes, elaborate dance episodes, ornate costumes, and spectacular scenery.

Grand piano | A large, full-toned piano that has the body, strings, and soundboard arranged horizontally in line with the keys and is supported by three legs.

Grand staff | The treble clef and the bass clef combined (often joined together by a vertical line and brace; commonly used to notate keyboard music. (Also great staff.)

Grave | A tempo marking that means ‘very slow and solemn.’

Grazioso | A general term that means ‘gracefully.’

Great bass recorder | The second lowest recorder tuned to C; less common because of its greater size and cost.

Great staff | (See grand staff.)

Gregorian chant | An old style of singing or chanting in unison without strict rhythm; the main musical style of the Middle Ages. (Also plainchant or plainsong.)

Groove | A rhythmic pattern in jazz or popular music that has a special ‘feel’ or ‘swing.’

Ground bass | A short bass pattern that is repeated continually as the other parts of the music vary. (Also basso ostinato.)

Grunge music | A style of rock music characterized by a harsh guitar sound and lazy vocal delivery; a hybrid of punk rock and heavy metal.

Guitar | A stringed instrument with a fretted fingerboard, typically incurved sides, and six or twelve strings; played by plucking or strumming with the fingers or a plectrum.

Gusto | A general term that means ‘enjoyment or zest.’


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