Musical Terms as Cocktail Names

Sonic cocktail-naming inspiration for bartenders working on new Spring menus

Most people will be familiar with the idea that sheet music is written on a 5 line stave, using notes with names like ‘quaver’ and ‘crotchet’. However, non-musicians might not know about the dictionary of musical terms used alongside these symbols to help the player understand how the piece should sound. Some of these terms equate to quite straightforward instructions like ‘speed up!’ or ‘play this bit loud’, but others are more esoteric, and attempt to help the musician express the mood or emotion the composer was conveying when they wrote the music.

Individual words or pithy phrases that convey a feeling or sensation can make for good cocktail names, as we have covered before, so below we have listed some of our favourite musical terms that could be pressed into service by anyone putting together a collection of new drinks for a Spring menu. And if the subject piques your interest, an exhaustive list of musical terms and words can be found here.

A collection of evocative music terms and their meanings

  • A Piacere – At your pleasure (play this bit as fast as you like)
  • Acceso – Ignited, on fire
  • Agitato – Agitated
  • Allegro – Lively, fast
  • Anima – Soul, with feeling
  • Brillante – With sparkle
  • Calore – With warmth
  • Capriccioso – Unpredictable, volatile
  • Col Legno – With the wood (to strike the strings of an instrument with the bow handle)
  • Dolce – With sweetness
  • Dolcissimo – Very sweet
  • Freddo – Cold
  • Fröhlich – Lively, joyful
  • In Dodo Di – In the style of…
  • Lamentoso – Sadly, mournfully
  • Legato – Joined together smoothly
  • Leggierissimo – Very light and delicate
  • Ma Non Troppo – But not too much…
  • Malinconico – Melancholic
  • Mezza Voce – Half voice, low volume
  • Omaggio – A homage to or celebration of something
  • Piatti – Clashed cymbals
  • Poco A Poco – Little by little
  • Posato – Settled
  • Sanft – Gently
  • Scatenato – Wild
  • Schneller – Faster
  • Segno – From the sign (means return to a determined point in the music)
  • Samplice – Simple
  • Senza Replica – Without repetition
  • Sognando – Dreamy
  • Una Corda – One string
  • Velocissimo – As fast as possible
  • Vivo – Lively, intense
  • Wenig – Not too much
  • Ziehen – To draw out, long