Guitars Glossary: M

major chord: A chord built on the unaltered first, third, and fifth notes of a major scale.

major pentatonic scale: A five-note scale based on a major scale, but without the fourth and seventh notes.

measure; bar: A basic unit of musical time containing a specific number of beats.

melodic minor scale: As its name suggests, this scale is used for melodic, as opposed to harmonic, content. Ascending, the melodic minor scale is the same as a major scale but with the third note lowered one half-step; descending, it's the same as a natural minor scale with a lowered third, sixth, and seventh scale step.

metronome: A mechanical or electronic devices that emits clicks or beeps at regular, precise time intervals; used to help practicing musicians maintain a constant tempo.

microtonal: Referring to sounds that exist between consecutive half steps.

mini-barre: Fretting two or three strings, but not all of them, with a single finger.

minor chord: A three-note chord in which the second note is three half-steps above the first note (the root of the chord), and the third note is four half-steps above the second note — the unaltered first, third, and fifth notes of a minor scale.

minor pentatonic scale: A five-note scale based on a minor key.

motive: A short musical phrase that you repeat.

music theory: A way to explain and describe the music we hear.

musical figure: An independent and self-contained musical phrase, sort of like a sentence when you’re speaking.

musical notation: A written form of music used to convey the music we hear in a way that can be repeated by musicians.

musical scale: A series of notes within a single octave that follows a specific pattern.

muting; dampening: A silencing effect created by touching strings to prevent them from ringing out clearly.

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