Understanding French and German Musical Terms
As a pianist, you’ll most commonly see sheet music with Italian musical commands. This is because the modern western style of notation is derived from a system used by Roman Catholic monks around the 8th century.
But, many classical composers did not adapt their music to the traditional Italian style, and some modern interpretations have retained the original language, especially in the works of Claude Debussy.
Use the following glossaries to understand French or German sheet music, and compare musical terms and phrases to their Italian equivalents: