Musique   Music  

Most words of classical music come from Italian:
a capella ('in chapel [style]')
accelerando (faster)  Rapide: Fast
adagio (slow, easy)
allegro (joyous)  Joyeux: Merry
alto (high)  Haut: High
andante (going)  Aller: to Go
aria (air)
assai (very)
attacco (attack)  Attacher: to Fasten
basso (low)  Bas: Low
breve  Bref: Short
cantata (song), cantabile (singable)  Chanter: to Sing
capriccio (whim)  Chèvre: Goat
coda (tail)  Queue: Tail
crescendo (growing)  Croître: to Grow
diminuendo (diminishing)  Petit: Small
duo ('group of two')  Deux: Two
falsetto ('a little false')  Faux: Wrong
forte (strong, loud)  Fort: Strong
glissando (sliding)  Chute: Fall
intermezzo ('in the middle')  Inter: Between
largo (wide)  Large: Wide
leggero (light)  Léger: Light
lento (slow)  Rapide: Fast
libretto ('small book'):  Livre: Book
maestoso (with majesty):  Grand: Big
mezzo (middle, half)  Moitié: Half
obbligato (obligatory)  Lier: to Bind
opera (work):  Travail: Work
oratorio (praying)
ostinato (obstinate)
piano (slow, quiet)
pizzicato (plucked)
portamento (style)  Porter: to Carry
presto (fast)  Rapide: Fast
rallentando (slowing down)  Tard: Late
ritardando (slowing down)  Tard: Late
ritenuto (held back)  Tenir: to Hold
rubato ('stolen', freely)
scherzo (jest)
sempre (always)
senza (without)
solfeggio ('sol-fa')
sonata (played)
soprano ('upper', 'supreme')  Supra-: Over
sordino (mute)
sostenuto (sustained)
staccato (detached)  Attacher: to Fasten
tanto (so much)
tempo (time)  Temps: Time
tenuto (held)  Tenir: to Hold
toccata (touched)
tremolo (shaking)  Trembler: to Shake
trio ('group of three')  Trois: Three
troppo (too much)
vibrato (vibrated)
vivace (lively)  Vie: Life

Some Italian words reached English through French:
barocco ('irregular pearl') baroque
cadenza cadence  Chute: Fall
divertimento (entertainment) divertissement
fuga (flight) fugue  Fuir: to Flee
giga ('fiddle') gigue
interludio ('middle play') interlude
pasticcio ('paste', medley) pastiche
preludio ('preliminary play') prelude (prélude)
serenata ('night [song]') serenade

Some words are definitely French:
allemande (German)
aubade ('morning [song]')  Blanc: White
clef (key)  Clé: Key
counterpoint (contrepoint, 'point against point')  Pointu: Sharp
ensemble  Semblable: Same
entr'acte ('between acts [in a play or an opera]', entracte)
étude (study)
fanfare (a flourish of brass instruments)
impromptu ('without preparation')  Temps: Time
ligature (tie)  Lier: to Bind
minuet ('smallish', pretty, menuet)  Petit: Small
nocturne (nightly)  Nuit: Night
opéra comique ('comedy opera', opera with dialogues)
overture (opening, ouverture)  Ouvrir: to Open
quadrille ('[dance for] four couple')  Quatre: Four
reprise ('retake')  Prendre: to Take
suite (following)  Suivre: to Follow
unison ('one sound', unisson)  Un: One

Some are Latin:
magnificat ('[my soul] magnifies [the Lord]')  Grand: Big
opus (work):  Travail: Work
requiem ('[eternal] rest')
Te Deum ('[we praise] Thee God')

See also:

Musique: Music
Peinture: Painting
Chanter: to Sing
Dessiner: to Draw

© Renaud Bouret