A sonata is a piece of music for instru ments only : these are now chiefly for the piano-torte, either with or without aecompaniments for a flute, or violin, or a violoncello; or, eventually, with nume rous accompaniments. .
A cantata is a piece set to words, and is often interspersed with recitative ; some of these are medleys, and are very long.
A motetto is generally considered as church music, such as our anthems, hymns, &c. or any single pieces of a sa cred character.
An opera is a dramatic poem, in which many airs, of various descriptions, arising from the incidents of the piece, are sung to the accompaniments of a full orchestra. Such as are performed at our Opera House are throughout musical, being wholly a succession of recitative, airs, duets, choruses, &c. performed in cha racter. Opera also signifies a work ; as Opera VI.
.A burletta is a comic opera, in contra distinction to the serious.
A ballet is a dance in character, which, however ridiculous, is admitted .aod ap plauded, chiefly on account of the excel lence of the performance.
An oratorio, a sacred drama, of which the words are generally selected from the scriptures ; they are performed during Lent at Covent Garden Theatre.
A concerto is a grand piece of harmony, generally on some given subject, with full accompaniments, which join only in the choruses, though a select number of parts are allotted, to accompaoy the in strument which is intended to be display ed. The instrument on such occasions is termed the concutante, as violino principale, or fluto concutante.
A concutante is intended chiefly to dis play one instrument, but not without al lowing others to be brought into particu lar notice at times.
A voluntary is a piece of music usually resulting from fancy, an extempoie effu sion ; it is not a regular performance, and is neither fixed to any particular key, nor limited as to time; these are sometimes termed fantazias, capricias, ricatatas, tas taturas, &c.
A serenade, or fermata, was formerly meant to denote nocturnal music, but is sometimes prefixed to dramatic compo sitions, without any particular meaning ; the term is nearly obsolete with us, though it occasionally occurs in novels, &c.
A saraband is d piece in three-fourth time, generally played slow, and in a dancing stile ; it is nearly the same as our ball minuet.
A fugue is a piece wherein one or more subjects always appear to fly in some con spicuous manner, and to be followed by the several parts in succession. There are single, double, and counter fugues; the latter moving in an opposite direction to the others.
A canon is a fugue which always re turns to its sleet ; so that the several parts perform the same passages in suc cession : a canon may be kept up per petually.
A solo is a piece intended for the exer cise or display of some particular instru ment; though in its correct sense it is music in one part only, yet generally figured basses are annexed; and to a solo concerto, very full accompaniments are given ; in these we usually see the most diflicplt passages fur that violin, flute, &c. which leads throughout, and which should be supported with great delicacy and judgment.
A duo is a composition intended for two voices or instruments ; these are also called duets; when replete with brilliant passages intermixed in the two parts, they are dignified with the additional term of concutantes.
A trio is music composed in three parts, either for voices or for instruments ; it is also a designation given to a second or alternate minuet.
A quatuor, or quartet:, is music in four parts.
A quintetto is music in five parts.
A stiletto is music in six parts.
An overture is either incidental or peri odical; the former relates to those rich pieces, for a full orchestra, usually pre ceding the representation of musical en tertainments; the latter are intended for the same purposes, but not for any par ticular opera, and are suitable to grand entertainments, for the opening of acts, &c.