Half-diminished seventh chord | A chord consisting of a diminished triad plus a minor seventh. (See also diminished seventh chord.)
Half note | A note with half the duration of a whole note, or a time value of two quarter notes. (Also minim.)
Half rest | A rest with half the duration of a whole rest, or a time value of two quarter rests. (Also minim rest.)
Half step | (See semitone.)
Half-tone | (See semitone.)
Hammered dulcimer | An musical instrument with strings stretched over a trapezoidal sounding board or box; played by being struck with hand-held hammers. (See also Appalachian dulcimer.)
Hammer-on | A playing technique on a stringed instrument (especially a guitar) performed by quickly and forcefully pressing a string against the fingerboard; the opposite of a pull-off.
Hard disk drive | (Abbreviation: HDD) In sound recording, a digital device that stores audio signals by encoding data on rapidly rotating platters with magnetic surfaces.
Harmonic | A term that means ‘of, relating to, or characterized by musical harmony.’ Also a tone that vibrates at a frequency that is a multiple of a fundamental tone. Also, on a stringed instrument, high-pitched, whistling tone, made by lightly touching a vibrating string at a certain point. (Also overtone or partial.)
Harmonica | A small rectangular wind instrument with a row of metal reeds along its length, held against the lips and moved from side to side to produce different notes by blowing or sucking. (Also harp, mouth organ or tin sandwich.)
Harmonic interval | The musical distance between two pitches sounded simultaneously (as in a chord). (See also melodic interval.)
Harmonic progression | (See chord progression.)
Harmonic rhythm | The rate of change (fast or slow, steady or irregular) between the chords in a piece of music.
Harmonize | The process of adding chords to a melody.
Harp | (See harmonica.) Also a stringed instrument, roughly triangular in shape, consisting of an upright frame that supports a series of parallel strings which are played by plucking with the fingers; often includes pedals that retune the strings to different keys.
Hawaiian guitar | (See lap steel guitar.)
Headset | (See headphones.)
Hemidemisemiquaver | (See sixty-fourth note.)
Hemidemisemiquaver rest | (See sixty-fourth rest.)
Heptatonic scale | A seven-note scale.
Hertz | (Abbreviation: Hz) The unit of measure for the frequency of a pitch, where one hertz is one cycle per second (cps).
Heterophony | A musical texture created when performers play or sing the same melody simultaneously, but in different ways; generally considered a subcatagory of either monphony or polyphony.
Hi-fi | (See high fidelity.)
High fidelity | (Abbreviation: hi-fi) The reproduction of sound with little distortion, producing a result that is very similar to the original; as opposed to low fidelity.
Hi-hat | A pair of cymbals mounted on a stand that are clashed together using a foot-operated pedal; part of a standard drum kit.
Hold | (See fermata.)
Homophony | A musical texture of a single melody supported by chords; the most common texture in tonal music.
Horn | (See French horn.)
Hurdy-gurdy | A stringed instrument that produces sound by turning a handle attached to a rosined wheel that vibrates a set of strings; some strings are stopped with small wooden levers to produce tones, while other strings are left open to create a droning sound. (Also wheel fiddle.)
Hybrid picking | A guitar playing technique that involves plucking strings with a pick and fingers at the same time; the pick is held between the thumb and index finger while the remaining fingers are used for fingerpicking.
Hymn | A simple religious song that includes several verses; typically sung in a church service by the congregation.