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  • B: German for B flat (also in Finnish, Icelandic and Danish); H in German is B natural
  • barbaro: barbarous (notably used in Allegro barbaro by Béla Bartók)
  • Bartók pizzicato: a term which instructs string performers to play a pizzicato note to pull the string away from the fingerboard so that it snaps back percussively on the fingerboard.
  • bass: the lowest of the standard four voice ranges (bass, tenor, alto, soprano); the lowest melodic line in a musical composition, often thought of as defining and supporting the harmony; in an orchestral context, the term usually refers to the double bass.
  • basso continuo: continuous bass; i.e., a bass part played continuously throughout a piece to give harmonic structure, used especially in the Baroque period
  • beat: (1) the pronounced rhythm of music; (2) one single stroke of a rhythmic accent
  • bellicoso: warlike, aggressive
  • ben or bene: well; in ben marcato ("well marked") for example
  • bend: jazz term referring either to establishing a pitch, sliding down half a step and returning to the original pitch or sliding up half a step from the original note.
  • beschleunigte (Ger): accelerated, as in mit beschleunigter Geschwindigkeit, at an accelerated tempo
  • bewegt (Ger): moved, with speed
  • binary: a musical form in two sections: AB
  • bird's eye: a slang term for fermata, which instructs the performer to hold a note or chord as long as they wish
  • bis (Lat): twice; i.e., repeat the relevant action or passage
  • bisbigliando: whispering; i.e., a special tremolo effect on the harp where a chord or note is rapidly repeated at a low volume
  • bocca chiusa: with closed mouth
  • bravura: boldness; as in con bravura, boldly
  • breit (Ger): broad
  • bridge: Transitional passage connecting two sections of a composition, also transition. Also the part of a stringed instrument that holds the strings in place and transmits their vibrations to the resonant body of the instrument.
  • brillante: brilliantly, with sparkle
  • brio: vigour; usually in con brio
  • brioso: vigorously (same as con brio)
  • broken chord: A chord in which the notes are not all played at once, but in some more or less consistent sequence. They may follow singly one after the other, or two notes may be immediately followed by another two, for example. See also arpeggio in this list, which as an accompaniment pattern may be seen as a kind of broken chord; see Alberti bass.
  • bruscamente: brusquely
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