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Music terminology in Finnish

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Music is a universal language, but the terms we use to describe it can vary greatly from one language to another. Learning music terminology in Finnish is not only useful for musicians but also enhances the vocabulary of any language learner. Here are some essential music terms in Finnish and their definitions.

Meaning “note” in English, sävel is the pitch of a sound in music.
Voisitko soittaa tuon sävelen uudelleen?

This translates to “musical note” and refers to the written symbol representing the pitch and duration of a sound in music.
Lue nuotit huolellisesti ennen kuin aloitat soittamisen.

Tahti means “measure” or “bar” in music, a segment of time defined by a given number of beats.
Tämän kappaleen tahti on melko nopea.

This term refers to “time signature,” indicating the number of beats in each measure and the note value that gets the beat.
Voit tunnistaa tahtilajin nuottikirjoituksesta.

As the verb “to play” an instrument, soittaa is what every musician does.
Hän osaa soittaa pianoa, kitaraa ja viulua.

Laulu translates to “song” in English, a piece of music with vocals.
Tämä on minun suosikkilauluni.

Meaning “sound” or “voice,” ääni is what we hear in music, either from an instrument or a singer.
Laulajan ääni on erittäin kaunis.

This is the Finnish term for “composer,” someone who writes music.
Sibelius on tunnettu suomalainen säveltäjä.

Harmonia refers to “harmony,” the combination of different musical notes played or sung simultaneously.
Tämän kappaleen harmonia on monimutkainen.

Rytmi means “rhythm,” the pattern of sounds and silences in music.
Rumpali piti yllä tasaisen rytmin koko kappaleen ajan.

Translating to “melody,” this is the sequence of musical notes that is musically satisfying.
Viulun melodia tuo kappaleeseen syvyyttä.

Meaning “chorus,” kertosäe is the part of a song that is repeated after each verse.
Kertosäe on tarttuva ja jää helposti mieleen.

The Finnish word for “verse” in a song, this is where the lyrics often change between repetitions.
Toinen säkeistö alkaa samalla melodialla kuin ensimmäinen.

Understanding these basic music terms can enhance your appreciation for Finnish music and make learning the language through music more enjoyable. Whether you’re in a music class, chatting with Finnish-speaking friends, or simply indulging in the country’s rich musical landscape, this vocabulary will be music to your ears.

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