Glossary

This is not an exhaustive list. But hopefully most of the things I’ve mentioned (and possibly a few I haven’t yet) are in here somewhere.

PPL – A UK organisation who collect money from TV and Radio stations, shops, bars, clubs and restaurants to pay to record companies and musicians for the use of their songs. No US equivalent

PRS/BMI/ASCAP/SESAC – UK and US organisations similar to above but they pay song writers and music publishers.

MCPS / The Harry Fox Agency – UK/US organisations who collect money from record companies, download services (iTunes, etc.) and streaming services (Spotify, etc.) to pay songwriters and music publishers for the use of their songs.

* Almost all countries have local equivalents of the above – you should join your local organisations only

Record Companies  – companies set up to exploit recordings of music (CDs. MP3s, etc.). They will get your music into shops and onto services such as iTunes and Spotify.

Music Publishers – companies set up to exploit a songwriters songs. Their aim is to get your songs used in as many places and as many ways as possible.

A & R – Artist and Repertoire – usually working for record companies – talent scouts who will be directly responsible for career of the talent they scout if it gets signed.

Manager – employed by the artist to manage their career and day to day activities. Often invest lots of money at the start.

Promoter  – person who puts on gigs, they are responsible for hiring venues, finding bands, and promoting and selling tickets

Agent – has a roster of artists, finds suitable gigs for those artists and negotiates fees.

Tour Manager – responsible for making sure personnel and equipment are in place ready for gigs to start and that the gig runs smotthly. Organises, transport, hotels, food, etc.

Distributer/Aggregator – physically moves your CDs, etc. into shops. They also put your songs online with music services.

Producer – employed either by artist or record company. Responsible for getting the best performances and recording in the studio at the agreed budget.

Sound Engineer – works in the studio with the producer. Does the technical stuff to get the sound the producer needs (in small studios they are generally the same person). Also at gigs for getting the best live sound.

Plugger – radio pluggers try to get your songs played on the radio. Song pluggers try to play your songs to music publishers or other industry people

Roadie – someone who moves all the heavy equipment into place and wires it up at gigs.

Remixers – Increasingly important – someone (usually a club DJ, these days) who makes an alternative version of a song from the original recordings.

Fan Club – a membership service which fans can join to get advance news and exclusive deals related to an artist

Merchandisers – make and sell non-musical merchandise such as T Shirts, cups, dolls, books, posters, etc.

Gigs – a live performance on a stage

Venues – places which put on live music.

Copyright – the ownership of a creative work – the right to use and copy.

Sound Cloud / Spotify – music streaming services, people can listen to music playing from the website.

Blog – a regularly updated website on a single topic – you’re reading one now, many music blogs help consumers find new music by new artists

Press Pack/Press Kit – a set of documents useful to people who want to know more about you and write about you

Press Release – a document sent to media organisations about a specific news event

Octave – 2 notes with the same name, 8 notes apart (e.g. F# to F#) – can also refer to all notes in-between

Semitone – the distance from a note to the very next note on the keyboard or fret on the guitar or bass e.g. D to Eb.

Tone – 2 notes or frets apart e.g. A to B

Scale – a series of notes going up or down following a given, fixed pattern

Key – a type of scale with 8 notes (minor scales can vary the notes they contain in use giving up to 10 notes), the first and last being the same note one octave apart– either major or minor – named after the first note of the scale and the type of scale e.g. C minor

Bars – rhythmic divisions in music – typically in pop/rock, 4 beats long – when people count music “1, 2, 3, 4” they are usually counting a bar length

Phrase – usually longer divisions of music than bars, typically 4 bars in length. A phrase is typically one line of lyric , or a piece of melody followed by a pause for breath. A verse or chorus typically consists of 4 or 8 phrases.

Accidental – a symbol (see immediately below) which raises or lowers a note by one (rarely 2) semitone (see above)

– sharp – raises a note one semitone

– flat – lowers a note one semitone

 – natural – cancels a preceding sharp or flat

Enharmonic – 2 notes with the same sound but different names – e.g. F# and Gb.

Interval – the distance between 2 notes

Chord – a group of notes which sound good together played at the same time

Arpeggio / broken chord – as above but notes played on after the other rather than together

Triad – a 3 note chord, typically consisting of a root note, another note a 3rd above and a final note a  5th above the root e.g. A, C. E

Ostinato – a pattern of notes, which is repeated over and over again

Pedal note – a note which is held constant or repeated constantly while chords change around it, often held through chords to which it does not belong, typically either a bass note or a very high note

Pedal ostinato – an ostinato (see above) which continues over changing chords where often many of the notes do not belong in the underlying chords

Hook – the part of a song which sticks in the listeners  head long after the song has finished – it “hooks” into their memory so they remember the song

Verse – repeated part of a song – each verse usually has different lyrics and hopefully moves the listener though the story

Chorus – repeated part of a song which typically contains the song title and repeats the same lyric each time – usually contains the main hook

Bridge / Middle 8 – a middle section put into the song for variety – could contain additional lyrics/new melody/new chords, an instrument solo, or a new instrumental section

Intro – Short for introduction, the opening section of the song

Coda – opposite of the intro, the closing section of the song

Bio – a biography of an artist – who, what, when, where, why

One Sheet – a one page promotional document – a highly condensed press pack

Backline – the things at the back of the stage in a gig – drum kit (often without cymbals), bass amps, guitar amps

 

 

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