Ever wondered what a musical term means? Wondering what a word used by industry people means? Look no further! We're on a mission to demystify these terms. Many of these words are used in hip-hop, rap, pop, rock and many other types of music. Check out our glossary below.

Beats Per Minute. This is a measure of the tempo from pieces of music. It is used as a musical term describing the pace, or speed of music in question.


An advance is a loan, basically temporary income for the artist or musician. Overall, this can be viewed as money to help support an artist before they begin generating royalties and other income. The label is fronting some of their expenses by investing in them. Some advances include funds for expenses such as recording, beats, engineering, equipment, and so on. These types of advances are meant to further support an artist before royalties begin coming in. Advances are not free money! An artist is expected to pay this money back to the label via a process known as recoupment.

Carbon Microphone

A transducer type of microphone that converts sound waves to an electrical audio signal. It contains two metal plates with carbon granules in between. As the sound waves hit the carbon, the resistance between the plates changes and creates a varying electric signal.

Similar to: Button Microphone, Carbon Transmitter, Carbon Button Microphone


The process of creating a "compilation" track by piecing together portions of multiple takes of the same recording (for example, a guitar solo or a vocal).


The abbreviation stands for Digital Audio Workstation and refers to any device or computer program used to digitally record and edit beats and other audio. Some of the more popular DAWs used by producers and musicians today include Ableton Live, Apple Logic Pro, FL Studio, PreSonus Studio One, AVID Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase, Bitwig Studio, and Cockos Reaper.


An audio compressing tool that can decrease the levels of sibilant sounds and frequencies, particularly the letter "S," hence the name De-esser.


This is an audio processor that can amplify or reduce the volume of specific frequencies within a beat by applying filters. Originally used to balance the frequency, equalizers can also be used to modify sounds in more creative ways.


The term refers to any modification to an audio that results in changing its sound. It is accomplished by adding something to the audio signal, including sound effects such as rain, sirens, etc.

Similar to: Sound Effects


Refers to the gradual decrease (fade-out) or increase (fade-in) of the level of the audio, for example, at the end or at the beginning of a recording.


Different types of media, both physical and digital, that can be used to store and replay audio. Physical media include CDs, vinyl records, cassette tapes, and other obsolete formats. Digital audio file formats include mp3, WAV, WMA, AIFF, and a number of less popular options.