By Tiana Putric
Inspired by the new-found popularity of Aria, which entered the popularity list in 2000 and now has risen to Number 31 (thanks to a presence on the TV show Pretty Little Liars), and other names like Melody and Lyric in the Top 300, I thought I would suggest some other musical possibilities, along with their meanings. None of the following have ever registered on the U.S. Top 1000; in fact they may be entirely new appellations or extremely rare ones.
Chaconne: Pronounced ‘sha-kon’ and having French roots, a chaconne was originally a 17th century dance. Musically it is a form consisting of a set of variations played upon repeated chords – Bach’s ‘Chaconne in D Minor‘ is one of supreme examples of the form. Chaconne could make an attractive girls’ name.
Vivace: Pronounced ‘vi-vah-chey’ or ‘vee-vah-che’, vivace is an Italian musical term meaning brisk, lively, and vivid. Compositions marked vivace are played in this energetic fashion. Vivace could join other rare male ‘v’ names such as Valentine, Vernon, and Virgil, or could be used for a girl with the nicknames Viva or Vivi.
Ballad: A ballad is a short story or poem, set to music, often about love, heroism, religion, or history. Although dating back to Medieval times, ballads continue to have a strong presence in contemporary music: pop ballads, power ballads, and rock ballads. If you like musical names like Bell or word names like Story, you just might be drawn to Ballad.
Cappella: As in ‘a cappella’, meaning to sing without the accompaniment of musical instruments. An alternate definition is ’in the manner of the chapel’. A cappella music was originally heard most commonly in churches. Cappella will no doubt remind you of much-loved appellations like Elle, Ella, and Ellie.
Harmonie: Harmonies are created when two or more notes are played simultaneously or sung in unison. Unlike the more familiar musical appellation spelled Harmony (which now ranks at 193, with Melody at 156 and Lyric at 271), Harmonie has never entered the U.S. Top 1000.
Madrigal: A madrigal is a song or short poem sung by many voices sans accompaniment. These songs or poems played a significant role in Renaissance era music. This is one of the most promising of the terms on this list: the familiar Maddie or Maggie would be fitting nicknames for Madrigal.
Operetta: An operetta is a lighter version of the dramatic opera. Full of song, dance, and dialogue it is said that the operetta influenced and inspired what we today know as musical theatre. Operetta, sharing its ‘etta’ ending with Coretta, Loretta and Violetta, would make a truly unique choice.
Ossia: In Italian ossia means ‘alternatively’ and was first spelt ‘o sia’. An ossia is a direction to play an alternative passage in a musical piece, sometimes simpler, sometimes more difficult than the original one. Ossia is similar in sound to names like Osanna and Oceana.
Serenade: A romantic term for a piece of music sung or played in the open air, typically by a man in the evening (sera) under the window of his sweetheart. Serenades, popularized in the Medieval era, are also known as serenatas—another possibility. Serenade is not so far in sound from rhyming cousins Adelade and Jade.
Could any of these musical expressions or appellations ever catch on enough to enter the U.S. Top 1000? Have any other musical names played their way into your heart?