backbeat: in soul or other western popular music, when the drummer or other musician emphasizes beats 2 and 4 instead of beats 1 and 3

ballad: a story set to music

cascara: Spanish for “shell”; the cascara is a rhythmic pattern played on the timbales

clave rhythm: a two-bar rhythmic pattern that is the foundation of Afro-Cuban music

claves: a pair of wooden sticks that are struck together to play the clave rhythm

composer: a person who writes their own songs or music

coro: the Spanish word for “chorus”

emotion: a feeling

guajeo: a repeated pattern of arpeggiated chords played on the piano

guitar: a stringed instrument that is played by strumming or picking the strings. A guitar has a long fretted neck and six or twelve strings.

inspiration: a person, place, thing, or thought that gives someone a creative idea

lyrics: the words in a song

medley: a piece of music compiled from parts of existing songs

melody: the main tune of a piece of music, made up of pitches that go up and down

modulation: in a song, when all the notes get higher or lower at the same time

pulse: a rhythmic beat or sound, like a heartbeat

rhythm: pattern of sound and silence over a steady beat

salsa: the name given to Afro-Cuban dance music as it is played in America

soul: a quality of music or other art that you can feel in your body, or that allows you to express your feelings in a bigger way than talking or writing

steady beat: the pulse in music

tempo: the speed of music

tumbao: a repetitive rhythmic pattern heard on the bass, congas, and piano in salsa music

verse: a musical section in a song where the melody stays the same but the lyrics change