Quick Fix Friday

Quick Fix Friday: Use A Dictionary


You’re working on a new piece of music. Life is good. You know all the right notes. Rhythms? Piece of cake! Accidentals? Got it covered! But what about those extra-musical words?

It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll look those up…tomorrow. You’re doing yourself a huge musical disservice by ignoring the text. After all, there’s quite a difference between dolce and con fuoco!

Quick fix? Buy and use a musical dictionary. Use your smartphone (which is turned off or in another room, right???). You can even take the lazy way out and use the camera function of the Google translate app to save your precious fingers from typing these unfamiliar words. It doesn’t matter how you look up the definitions. Just do it! (This post is not sponsored by Nike).

Most musical terms are in Italian, but they can appear in French, German, Russian, or any other language. Don’t let all your hard work on the music be for naught – grab a dictionary and start translating!

Here are some of my favorite words I’ve seen in music (definitions purposely not included):

Spumante (wine connoisseurs should know this one)
Con garbo (hint: not “with Greta Garbo”)
Any of Erik Satie’s instructions. Always absurd, nonsensical, and humorous

Happy Friday, and happy translating!

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