Aria: An aria is the most elaborate type of piece for solo
voice; it expresses the emotions or thoughts of a given character
in the opera.
Duo: a piece for two singers.
Trio: a piece for three singers.
Quartet: a piece for four singers or instrumentalists.
Chorus: a group of singers who always sing together.
Ensemble: a piece in which 2 or more soloists sing
different melodies, often to different words simultaneously.
Pitch: the accuracy of the notes sung by a singer
or played by a musician.
Libretto: the written text for an opera.
Librettist: the writer who creates or adapts a text
before it is set to music.
Legato: (Italian: bound) an indication that notes
must be played smoothly together, in contrast to staccato, when the
notes are detached from each other.
Score: the music used by the conductor; it contains
all the notes to be played by the orchestra or sung by the singers.
Operetta: an opera in a light style, developed during
the 19th century, especially by Offenbach in France and Johann Strauss
(the Younger) in Vienna.
Opéra bouffe: French comic opera.
Opera buffa: Italian comic opera (early 18th century).
Opéra comique: French term for an opera with
spoken dialogue; originally comic, the genre later included more sentimental
Recitative: a form of singing used in some operas
and oratories, when text is presented using normal speech rhythms
and a light accompaniment.