The Musician’s Urban Dictionary

You probably know all of your typical music lingo – adagio, cantabile, dolce, sostenuto. Here are all the musical terms you didn’t know you needed!


  • Restimate: to not accurately count during a rest, thus having to guess your next entrance
    “I got lost in that 33-measure rest, so I had to restimate.”
  • Stage frightmare: a unique nightmare specific to musicians; usually involves being late to recitals, last-minute repertoire changes, or other anxiety-inducing musical situations
    “I had a stage frightmare that I had to play the Nielsen concerto from memory tonight!”
  • Subzoned: when you are vying for a permanent position with a group but cannot escape the sub list
    “I’ve performed all of Mahler’s symphonies with that orchestra, but it looks like I got subzoned.”
  • Tourmance: a relationship that develops on tour or other temporary musical situation which rarely survives long-term
    “When I was at Aspen, I had a tourmance with a cellist.”
  • Metronope: deciding to not use a metronome against all better judgement
    “The sonata was in 13/8 time, so it’s a metronope!”
  • Pracrastinate: to avoid practicing, usually with social media
    “I’m pracrastinating by watching YouTube videos of cats.”
  • Ampitchous: to have high tuning expectations
    “The ampitchous oboist set the tuning standards high for the orchestra.”
  • Trillolo: an unnecessarily long trill (inspired by the viral trololo video)
    “What was the composer thinking when he added that trillolo?”
  • Bowlo: taking a risk by completely disregarding the bowing instructions of your principal
    “I skipped the last rehearsal, so I had to bowlo during the concerto.”
  • Practice shaming: to passive aggressively compare daily hours spent practicing with the intent of showing off
    “At band camp, all the section leader did was practice shame the flutes.”
  • Playcation: when a musician uses vacation time to practice instead of relaxing and/or traveling
    “What did you do during the holidays?” “I have auditions soon, so I had a playcation.”
  • Loldition: when an audition is so bad the only recourse is to laugh
    “I squeaked on Beethoven 6, got spit in my keys, and couldn’t tongue on the Scherzo-that was such a loldition!”
  • Afterclap: the final few claps heard after the general applause has ended
    “The afterclap was so late that the next piece had nearly begun.”
  • Homosectional: a musician who dates exclusively within their section
    “After dating only cellists for six years, she finally realized she was a homosectional.”
  • Accidontal: ignoring sharps, flats, or naturals
    “The Schoenberg piece had no key signature, so I’m sure I’ll have lots of accidontals.”
  • Boleroop: a repeated melody à la Ravel’s Bolero
    “That composer had a real Boleroop with the identical 26 measures of eighth notes.”

What other words should every musician have in their vocabulary? Leave a comment below!

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