Music Glossary F

Music Glossary F

Music Glossary F is a collection of music industry terms, words, and phrases, that begin with the letter “F”, from fader to fsk sync.

Music Glossary F

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Music Glossary F Terms


This is a linear Mixing Desk control capable of providing adjustment of audio signal level.

Fair Use (USA)

Fair use is a music copyright term in use within the USA. See Fair Dealing (UK) for a comparison with the closest U.K. legislation.

Fair Use is where, under certain circumstances, a copyrighted work can be used without seeking permission from the copyright owner. Uses include using for an educational purpose, to present a parody, comment upon or criticise the copyrighted work. Fair use includes quoting a copyrighted work or using an excerpt.

In US law, four key factors are relevant in determining fair use:

  1. The nature of the copyrighted work
  2. The purpose and character of the use
  3. The amount of and how substantial what has been used from the copyrighted work
  4. The effect of using the copyrighted work has upon the potential market for the copyrighted work

Fair use is a broad and flexible way to use the work, no matter where the original work was created.

Fair Use vs Fair Dealing

Fair Use, as defined in US legislation, can roughly be described as general in nature. By comparison, Fair Dealing, as defined in UK legislation is very specific when defining UK copyright exceptions.

Fair Dealing

The UK (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) terminology for exceptions to copyright law.

Exceptions outline specific purposes for which a reproduction of a work is permitted, without requiring the copyright owner’s permission.

According to UK legislation, an individual has not infringed copyright if the use is based on fair dealing where it is for:

  1. Non-commercial research or private study
  2. Reporting current events
  3. Criticism or review
  4. Illustration for instruction, quotation, parody, caricature or pastiche

Featured Artist

The featured artist on a recording is the artist signed to the record label. Performers on the recording who are not the artist, such as session musicians, work under different contracts and paid in different ways from the artist.


Feedback is the screeching or howling sound caused by feeding the output of an audio system back to its own input, for example pointing a microphone at the speakers that are the output of the microphone signal. This causes amplification of the already amplified signal in an endless loop resulting in an overload of the audio circuitry.


There are several different kinds of filter:


This is a low-pass filtered used in digital audio equipment.

Band Pass

Passes a band of frequencies between two limits.

High Pass

Passes frequencies above a threshold frequency.

Low Pass

Passes frequencies below a threshold frequency.


Passes frequencies above and below a chosen band of frequencies. i.e. it cuts frequencies within the chosen bandwidth.

See our Filters reference article by following the link below. Songstuff Filters Article


A fingerprint is a way of imprinting digital files with a pattern embedded within their data. The fingerprint code can be read by special software. The fingerprint is used to identify a variety of track details including the track title and artist name.

Artist/Band - Songstuff Music Community Join

Shazam uses special algorithms to identify music on a cellphone using the fingerprint.

Firm Album

An album that the Label is contractually obligated to:

  • Allow the artist to record under his recording agreement
  • Pay for the cost of recording, normally subject to a Pay or Play clause

First Use (USA)

Under the U.S. Copyright Law, the songwriter and their music publisher have control over the first version of a new composition to be recorded and released, in other words, a license for it’s “first use”.

After a recording of the composition has been authorised for release to the general public, in any format, on condition that the mechanical royalties are paid to the writer and publisher, any other recording artist has the right to record and release that composition.

Artists who write their own songs often have a clause in their publishing contract stating that first recording and release permissions cannot be given to another artist without their approval.

First Use (UK)

In some UK licenses, there is a clause concerning first use, but it has nothing to do with compulsory mechanicals.

Within the U.K., “First Use” refers solely to the right of the owner of a copyrighted work to decide which artist should be the first to record a new song. In a Publishing Agreement, it is not uncommon for the songwriter to have the right to approve the “first use” of a song.


A fixer is a type of agent who puts together groups of musicians for recording sessions and live performances.


Ogg Free Lossless Audio Codec. It is a format of music file used for digital downloads and digital music players. FLAC files can be played back at the original quality, while the files are roughly half the size of the original file.

Ogg FLAC is a Xiph.org open standard.


Used to create a ‘flanging’ effect. Flanging is commonly done using an electronic processing device to filter an input signal. This treatment introduces harmonically related notches in the filter response.

Flat Fee

In a recording agreement, a flat fee is a specified amount of money, paid to a Record Label by a Licensee, instead of the royalty rate associated with the license.


This is an audio feed sent to the performer using speakers or headphones to allow them to monitor the sounds they are producing.

Free Goods

Under the terms of a Recording Agreement, no Artist Royalties and no Mechanical Royalties (or a percentage of Mechanical Royalties) are payable by the Label for any free goods.

Three groups of records are considered to be free goods:

1. True Free Goods:

Promotional copies of Records. They are distributed to radio stations, music critics and other music journalists etc. True free goods not for sale or re-sale. Such records are stamped “For Promotional Use Only”, or a similar. That way they cannot become “returns”.

2. Real Free Goods:

Records distributed as Discounted Records. This may be a bulk purchase discount offered by a Distributor to their customers, or a similar incentive. Artists commonly try to limit numbers of discounted records as the discount usually accounts for the artist’s royalty. Record labels are happy to encourage higher numbers as it incentivises the distributor and their customers, while barely impacting Record Label income. Artists try to impose limitation through clauses within the Recording Agreement, which Record Labels then try to find ways to get around the limitations.

3. Fake Free Goods:

Records designated as non-royalty producing within the terms of a record deal where labels account to artists using a Royalty Base Price that is linked to the SRLP. In such a system, fluctuations in wholesale price do not impact the calculation of artist royalties. Alternatively, artist royalties can use a royalty base price linked to the wholesale price, giving the artist a percentage of net sales.

Freewheel Sync

A.K.A. Flywheel Sync. Using tape sync there were frequent timecode dropouts. Freewheel synchronization will interpret corrupted values.


This is the ratio of the wavelength of a waveform to time. In particular, it is the measure of how many times a waveform will repeat in 1 second.

Frequency = Wavelength * Time

Frequency Modulation (FM)

Frequency Modulation is the alteration of the frequency of one oscillator, controlled by the amplitude of a modulating signal.

Basically, the amplitude of the modulating signal dictates the amount of deviation from the carrier frequency, and the frequency of the modulating signal dictates the rate at which the deviation occurs.

Frequency Response

This is the variation of the gain of a device or system with audio frequency.


Metallic strip typically made of nickel-silver. Mounted on the fretboard, a fret marks the position on the guitar neck where a guitar string will create a specific pitch when pressure is applied behind the fret to shorten the guitar string length.

Fret Board

The face of the guitar neck, directly under the strings. The guitar frets are mounted on this board.

FSK Sync

An old form of clock sync. Commonly used with the early Atari sequencers and drum machines.

Making Suggestions

All suggestions are very welcome. We ask that when you suggest a term, you also suggest a description for that term. As a regular contributor, we ask that you follow the instructions on becoming a contributor set out below. You are also welcome to make suggestions in our music community forums.

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Contributors Wanted

Are you a qualified entertainments lawyer? Or perhaps you have in-depth knowledge about tour management? Are you an experienced band manager? Or perhaps a booking agent? You could be a studio Engineer or a music producer. Would you be interested in helping musicians to build their skills and understanding by contributing definitions to the Songstuff Music Glossary? We rely upon musicians, and people working within the music industry, being willing to contribute to our knowledge base.

As well as contributions to our music glossary, we feature contributions to our music library, in our site blogs and social media portals.

In particular, we add video contributions to the Songstuff Channel on YouTube.

Please contact us and we can explore the possibility of you joining our contributors asap.

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