While a number of pyrotechnics dictionaries and encyclopedias exist, they tend to fall into two categories: those aimed at enthusiasts and consumers, and those aimed at covering the entire field of pyrotechnics for professionals. Neither category is a good fit for people interested in designing shows. Dictionaries in the first category lack the necessary precision and comprehensiveness. Dictionaries in the second category tend to be overly broad, in essence too comprehensive. If you are designing shows, you need to know about firing systems and effect descriptions. Shell construction and chemistry are probably not subjects you'll need to look up on a regular basis. This dictionary attempts to cover the subjects of interest to professional choreographers, with just the right level of depth to be useful.
The firing system terms are based on learnings from script formats of some 25 different professional firing systems from all over the world. The firing systems themselves tend to have similar concepts but often different terminology. Some of them have design flaws that arise from imprecise terminology. This dictionary attempts to articulate precise definitions of the required firing system concepts. By mapping the terminology of any specific firing system to these concepts you can have a good understanding of what the firing system does or doesn't accommodate.
The effect definitions are based on 100,000 effect names from dozens of inventories of display companies and manufacturers. There is difficulty in defining effects, since professionals sometimes disagree on what an effect is called. What's more, manufacturers are inventing new effects all the time and even re-inventing existing effects and assigning new names for the marketing appeal. In many cases, a consensus on the meaning of a term simply does not exist. The definitions in this dictionary reflect an attempt to walk the line between being so accommodating of differences as be uselessly watered down, and being overly eager to arbitrate differences with a presumed authority that some would legitimately find offensive. In this regard we offer our apologies in advance: in cases where we've taken a side, we've done so in the spirit of providing the most useful reference we could for choreographers designing shows.
List of Terms
Abridgment A simulation term, the shortening of a duration by a random amount; expressed as a fraction 0-1, where 0 indicates no shortening and 1 indicates random shortening up to the entire duration.
Aeolian Bells (or Wind Bells or Mobiles) A soft breaking shell with slow falling, bright flamed inserts suspended by parachutes.
Angle Wipe (or Fan Wipe or just Wipe) Same as Wipe.
Aniseed (also see Kaleidoscope) A flower type with clusters of different colored stars breaking into arms in a Stained Glass pattern.
Bees (also see Flying Fish, Serpents) A self-propelled tube component used in small aerial shells which travels in a tightly curling path, typically leaving a short trail of sparks.
Bombard (also Bombardo, or see Modular Cake) An arrangement of tubes firing in rapid sequence, typically with a report or single color aerial effect or comet.
Bowtie A break pattern in which stars are thrown in opposing directions, making a conical bowtie shape.
Break Time (or View Time, Burst Time, Effect Time, or Display Time) Same as Effect Time.
Brocade A type of star composition that leaves a thin, glittery trail in gold or silver.
Burst Time (or View Time, Break Time, Effect Time, or Display Time) Same as Effect Time.
Cake A box-shaped device consisting of multiple, preloaded firing tubes fused and mounted together vertically or at firing angles, often incorporating multiple effects and designed firing patterns implemented using fuse delays between the tubes.
Center-Out A firing pattern for a cake in which every row of tubes is shot from the center out, repeatedly (compare with "Peacock" firing pattern).
Choreography Item A type of product that can be inserted into a show, or an instance of such; may be single device such as a cake or shell, or collection of devices such as a factory chain or field chain.
Chrysanthemum A hard breaking shell with stars that leave pronounced trails; or more generally a star composition that leaves a pronounced trail, as in "Red Chrys Mine." The stars of a Chrysanthemum shell expire before cresting down into a crown shape, resulting in a petal that is spherical for the full duration of the effect. The stars may or may not have a colored flame envelope; they are assumed to have a gold or silver trail, gold unless otherwise specified. For example, "Red Chrys" stars have a red flame envelope and a gold trail; "Red Tipped Silver Chrys" stars have a red flame envelope and silver trail.
Comet A star that leaves a bright, bushy trail, or more generally a launched star projectile with or without a trail, or just a bushy, energetic type of trail. A "Comet Shell" is shell that breaks into comet stars, whereas a "Comet" effect by itself is a star projectile launched from a mine, candle or independent mortar (with or without a trail). A "Comet Tail" is a bushy, energetic tail. Although launched star projectiles that do not leave trails are comets, the terms "Meteor," "Ball" and "Pearl" also apply, with less room for misinterpretation.
Computer Fire A system and procedure for firing a show automatically by computer, without requiring operator actions to complete electrical circuits.
Crackle (also see Spangle, Time Rain, Flower Rain) Exploding sparks in the trail of a star or in a small flower break, producing an audible sizzling sound.
Criss Cross (see Go Getter, Swinging Star) A shell type consisting of go getter inserts.
Crown Chrysanthemum A Chrysanthemum shell with longer lasting stars that expire after cresting down into a crown shape.
Crown Flower A shell type resembling a twinkling kamuro.
Cue A specific point in time at which an event occurs. For manual fire, the “event” is a single action of pressing one or more switches simultaneously to complete electrical circuits that apply voltages to pins. For computer fire, the “event” is a point in time at which the visual impacts (view times) of devices are synchronized with each other or with accompanying music. Since devices on the same cue may have different prefire times, in computer fire a single cue may correspond to multiple shots *at different times* resulting in breaks that occur simultaneously.
Cue Marker An object on a timeline marking a specific point in time. Cue markers can be created in audio editing software and imported from a WAV file or added manually with choreography software. For manual fire, cue markers represent the time of the earliest visual result of a set of shots scripted to occur simultaneously. For computer fire, cue markers represent a set of visual results scripted to occur simultaneously. Since devices can have different prefire times the result may correspond to multiple shots at different times.
Cycas A Dahlia shell with stars that leave pronounced trails for an initial phase but then transition to a bright colored flame envelope with no trail.
Cue Number The ordinal, or counting number, of the cues in the show, beginning with 1. Cue number has a different meaning for manual and computer fired shows because the cues refer to different events. For manual firing, cues refer to the events of the operator pressing a switch on a pin board; for computer firing, cues refer to synchronized view time events. To resolve the ambiguity, choreography programs generally define cue number to be the cue marker number, simply counting the cue markers.
Diadem A Crown Chrysanthemum shell, typically incorporating color changes or a contrasting pistil.
Dahlia A hard breaking Peony-like shell with fewer, brighter (and larger) stars.
Display Time (or View Time, Burst Time, Effect Time, or Break Time) Same as Effect Time.
Device A pyrotechnic object or package of pyrotechnic objects bound together non-trivially, i.e., by more than a fuse or tape. For example, a cake is a single device; a chain is multiple devices; and a candle is a single device. From the perspective of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a device is the smallest individual unit that could be stolen. A chain of shells represents multiple devices because they could be separated trivially and stolen individually. A chain can be a single choreography item, even though it represents multiple devices.
Dragon Eggs (also see Time Rain, Flower Rain, Happy Stars) A shell or mine containing stars that leave thick, gold trails with energetic crackle.
Ear A small bowtie break pattern in which stars are thrown in opposite directions from a tube insert in a cake or candle.
Effect Time (or View Time, Burst Time, Display Time, or Break Time) The time of perceived visual impact, such as the shell burst time or a slight delay after a ground effect launch; Effect Time = Ignition Time + Match Delay + Prefire.
Effect-Time Count (also see Ignition-Time Count) The ordinal count of unique effect times, starting with one for the earliest effect time. Multiple firing rows in a script with the same effect time have the same effect-time number. Effect-time count is sometimes called cue number, but so is ignition-time count, leading to some ambiguity in terminology.
Electric Fire (or Manual Fire) Same as manual fire.
Factory Chain An inventory item, assembled at the factory, that contains multiple shells connected by fuse. A factory chain is only a single inventory item even though it contains multiple shells. It may be a single piece or multiple pieces depending on the whether the manufacturer considers the chained shells to be inventory items themselves (see definition of piece). Unlike a field chain (see its definition), a factory chain can be represented by a single product identifier or SKU number. Both a factory chain and a field chain are individual choreography items. For purposes of importing inventory unambiguously, Finale choreography software always interprets the piece count of factory chains to refer to the number of chains, not the number of individual shells.
Falling Leaves A very soft breaking shell that contains slow falling inserts with bright flame envelopes and no trails, which flutter downward like leaves falling in the wind. The break is so soft that the inserts are released as if poured from cup.
Fan A firing pattern for a cake in which a row of tubes are shot simultaneously, angling outward from the center.
Fan Wipe (or Angle Wipe or just Wipe) Same as Wipe.
Field Chain An construction of multiple shells connected by fuse, assembled in the field. A field chain is not itself an inventory item since it is not assembled at the factory. It therefore does not have a product identifier or SKU number. In a sales order, a field chain would be represented as multiple pieces. Both a factory chain and a field chain are individual choreography items.
Firing System Unit The smallest addressable part of a firing system that contains the electrical terminals (pins) used to ignite matches. For some firing systems, the modules are the firing system units that contain the pins. For other firing systems, the slats or rails are the firing system units that contain the pins. The address of the firing system unit for slats or rails includes the address of the module to which the slats or rails are attached, e.g., module 10, slat A is an address of a specific firing system unit. If the firing system uses independently addressed modules without slats or rails, then the addresses of the modules are typically just a single number or letter.
Flame Envelope The flame produced by burning star composition.
Flitter (also see Glitter and Tremalon) A star composition that produces a sparkling trail consisting of discrete bright flashes.
Flower Rain (also Time Rain, Dragon Eggs, Happy Stars) A thick, gold star trail with falling crackle.
Flying Fish (also see Bees, Serpents) A self-propelled tube component used in an aerial shell, cake or mine, which emits a shower of sparks along a twisting path with intermediate tortuosity between that of bees and serpents.
Fuse Delay The duration of a device's pre-packaged fuse, such as the visco fuse on a cake; Fuse Delay = Launch Time - Match Time. The fuse delay is typically included in the device's prefire time since it contributes to the delay between the match time and view time.
Ghost A hard breaking peony-like shell with stars that undergo transitions timed according to their position from one side of the petal to opposing side, producing a phasing effect that wipes across the petal.
Glitter (also see Flitter and Tremalon) A star composition that produces a long lasting sparkling trail of branching sparks. The terms glitter, flitter, and tremalon can be used generally to denote a sparking trail, or more specifically to differentiate between types of sparkling trail effects. Regional preferences and non-specific usage make it difficult to rely on the specific meanings.
Glow Worm A diadem shell with a pistil of shuttle inserts.
Go Getter (also see Criss Cross, Swinging Star) A pyrotechnic component used as a shell insert, consisting of a tube of composition that vents from the end of the tube, propelling the tube along a twisting, anfractuous path while emitting a shower of sparks.
Hand Fire A system and procedure for firing a show by igniting matches to launch fireworks manually with a flare or torch.
Happy Stars (also see Time Rain, Flower Rain, Dragon Eggs) Same as dragon eggs.
Horse Tail A soft breaking shell, typically with long lasting Willow-like stars. A horse tail shell may break early, with the residual upward velocity causing the stars to trace out the path of a raised horse's tail.
Hummer A small tube component used as a shell or mine insert, the tube containing fast burning composition that exhausts through a vent drilled in the side of the tube, causing the tube to spin rapidly and create a humming sound; can emit a shower of sparks or can be sound only; similar to a tourbillion but shorter in duration and intensity.
Ignition-Event Count (also see Ignition-Time Count) The ordinal count of electrical impulses to a pin or set of pins wired together, starting with one. Simultaneous pins not wired together represent separate events. For example, a front consisting of five launch positions with five independent modules firing at the same time would have five ignition-events, counted one through five; the same front with five piggy-backed modules wired to fire together would have only a single event, representing the single signal sent to all five modules. Wireless firing systems often have constraints requiring a minimum time between ignition-events to broadcast the signals.
Ignition-Time Count (also see Ignition-Event Count and Effect-Time Count) The ordinal count of unique ignition times, starting with one for the earliest ignition time. Multiple firing rows in a script with the same ignition time have the same ignition-time number. Ignition-time count is sometimes called cue number, but so is effect-time count, leading to some ambiguity in terminology.
Insert An encased component included in the payload of a shell or mine, such as a tube of pyrotechnic composition that propels the tube with an interesting motion while emitting a shower of sparks, or a sub-shell.
Inventory Item (or Part or Product) Same as part and product (see definition of product).
Kaleidoscope (or Aniseed ) A flower type with clusters of colored stars breaking into arms in a Stained Glass pattern.
Kamuro A Crown Chrysanthemum-like shell with even longer lasting stars that expire after drooping into a deep bowl shape. Star trails are unpronounced, long strands in gold or silver.
Lantern A large, balloon type parachute with one or more white lances burning inside that cause the balloon to glow by the color of its cloth. The lantern typically occupies the entire payload of a shell.
Launch Time The time at which a device's lift charge or pyrotechnic composition is ignited, following any pre-packaged fuse delay such as the delay of a visco fuse on a cake; Launch Time = Match Time + Fuse Delay = Shot Time + Match Delay + Fuse Delay.
Lift Time The time between the launch of a device and the climax of its trajectory; does not include any delay from fusing that precedes the launch of the effect. For shells, the lift time is often the same as the prefire. For comets or mines, the lift time is unrelated to the prefire since the perceived visual effect is at the launch.
Manual Fire A system and procedure for firing a show electrically by pressing switches (or equivalently touching a probe to pin) on a pin board to complete electrical circuits that apply voltages to pins to ignite matches. Manual fire contrasts with hand fire (by flares) and computer fire (automatic by computer).
Match A disposable electrical part that ignites a fuse when a current is passed through it. The most common matches are made from a wire filament covered with a pyrogen compound, though non-pyrogen alternatives are becoming more popular for reasons of safety and ease of transport.
Match Delay The duration of any Pyroclocks or delay fuses separating a firing system pin from a device, including multiple such Pyroclocks or delay fuses in series. For example, a cake is single device with one match time; a chain is multiple devices with multiple match times; Match Delay = Match Time - Shot Time. The match delays in a chain are all the times from the pin's shot time to each device's match time, not the times between the devices' match times.
Match Time The time at which an individual device or its pre-packaged fuse is ignited. For example, a cake is a single device with one match time; a chain is multiple devices with multiple match times. If a chain has delays between its devices (shells), then the match times of the shells will all be different since they are ignited at different times; Match Time = Shot Time + Match Delay.
Meteor A bright star-like projectile with a large flame envelope and no tail, launched as part of a mine or candle or launched from an independent mortar; also commonly referred to as a "Pearl" in 1.4G effects or as a "Ball" if launched from a candle.
Midnight Snow A bright white star that leaves a thick silvery dross trail, or a shell type consisting of such stars.
Mine A ground launched spray of stars or inserts propelled into the sky from a mortar by means of a lift charge similar to that used to propel an aerial shell into the sky. Mines may come pre-packaged in disposable mortar tubes or may be shot out of the same mortars used for aerial shells. Though mines with diameters as large as 12" have been used, they are typically in the 3" to 5" range for commercial displays.
Mobiles (or Aeolian Bells or Wind Bells) Same as Aeolian Bells.
Modular Cake (also Single Effect Cake, or see Bombard) A cake consisting of one row of tubes all having the same effect.
Octopus (also see Kaleidoscope and Aniseed) A flower type with clusters of Willow-like stars breaking into arms in a Stained Glass pattern.
Part (or Inventory Item or Product) Same as product and inventory item (see definition of product).
Part Number An identifier for a part; each part has a unique part number in an inventory management system.
Peacock A firing pattern for a cake in which a row of tubes are shot from the center out, fanning out like a peacock opening his tail feathers. For Peacock cakes having multiple rows, alternating rows will open out from center and close back into center, resembling a peacock's opening and closing it's tail feathers (compare with "Center-Out" firing pattern).
Piece An inventory item that does not represent a collection of inventory items. Factory chains of multiple shells may or may not be pieces, depending on whether the chained shells are considered to be inventory items themselves. If a manufacturer considers chained shells to be inventory items, then a case of 72 shells containing 12 chains of 6 would be said to contain 72 pieces; however if the manufacturer does not consider the chained shells to be inventory items, then the same case would be said to contain 12 pieces. In both cases the case contains 72 devices, which is the figure of tracking for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. For purposes of importing inventory unambiguously, Finale choreography software always interprets the piece count of factory chains to refer to the number of chains, not the number of individual shells.
Pin Number The address of a single electrical terminal of a firing system unit (module or slat) used to ignite one or more matches attached in series or parallel. Pin numbers are typically numbers starting with 1, though they can start with 0 or any other offset, and they can be letters, depending on the firing system. For sequential manual fire, the pin numbers are equivalent to shot numbers, and correspond to the operator’s actions of pressing switches on a pin board.
Prefire The time between the ignition of a device or its pre-packaged fuse and the device's perceived visual impact; Prefire = View Time - Match Time. For shells, the prefire typically includes the fuse delay and the lift time, though sometimes choreographers consider shells with tails to have a visual impact shortly after launch when the tail becomes visible, rather than when the shell breaks. In those situations, the prefire is just a small delay, like 0.2 or 0.3 seconds. The prefire for ground effects, comets, and mines, is similar. Fuse delay is usually negligible except for cakes that have internal pre-packaged visco fuses, in which case it can be significant. For cakes, the prefire is the fuse delay plus the lift time of the first effect in the cake, if it is a shell, or plus a small delay like 0.2 or 0.3 seconds if the cake's first effect has a visual impact at launch.
Product (or Part or Inventory Item) A type of item in an inventory management system, or an instance of such. A product contains a unique part number, or stock keeping unit number (SKU). A product may be a single device, such as a shell, a collection of connected devices, such as a factory chain, or a collection of independent devices, such as a case of 72 shells. Products can consist of multiple sub-products, as the case of 72 shells illustrates. Same as part, and inventory item.
Product ID (Finale specific) A user-defined identifier of a choreography item. This value can be in any format, and is not guaranteed by Finale to be unique. It is typically used to hold the display company's part number representing this item.
Rising Effect Sparks or small breaks left in the path of a rising projectile by pyrotechnic components such as gerbs or small shells attached to the hull of the projectile.
Rising Tail (or Tail) Same as tail.
Scattering (also Swimming Star) A self-propelled component used in mines and cakes that abruptly propels itself after a delay in a straight line orthogonal to its motion at the end of the delay.
Sequential Manual Fire A manual fire show in which the cues are sequential pins. Sequential manual fire shows have the simple voice cue tracks because voice cue numbers are in sequence, allowing fast sequences to be represented by beeps alone (without articulating the numbers) and allowing the tens and hundreds digits to be elided to facilitate quicker instructions, e.g., 17, 18, 19, 20, 1, 2, 3..., 30, 1, 2, 3, etc... Firing systems with banks of pin numbers corresponding to different rails require voice cues with bank addresses or require jumping over sections of unused numbers. These scenarios are non-sequential.
Serpent (also Serpentine) A self-propelled tube component used in an aerial shell, cake or mine, which emits a shower of sparks along a windy, slightly twisting path.
Serpentine (also Serpent) Same as serpent.
Shell Of Shells (also Thousand Flowers) An aerial shell containing multiple smaller shells that break randomly, simultaneously, or in a designed order.
Shot (also see Cue) An electrical impulse on a pin or set of pins wired together or electrically configured to fire in parallel, as in the case of same-address or piggy-back modules or slats (first meaning); or (second meaning) the number of tubes in a cake or number of launches of a candle or chain. With regard to the first meaning, electrifying multiple pins simultaneously is possible and not uncommon. If the pins are wired together or electrically configured to fire in parallel, they constitute a single shot. If they are not wired together or electrically configured to fire in parallel but just happen to scripted to fire at the same time, the pins constitute multiple, simultaneous shots. Thus the number of shots can exceed the number of distinct time points at which events occur (cues).
Shot Number The ordinal, or counting number, of shots. Each shot is an electrical impulse on a pin or set of pins acting as if wired together. For sequential manual fire, the shot numbers correspond to the cues, or instructions for the operator to press a switch to complete an electrical circuit that applies a voltage to a pin. Thus for sequential manual fire, the shot numbers are the same as the pin numbers.
Shuttle A shell insert made of a tube with a star in each end that produces a crossette-like effect. Shuttles are typically dark out of the shell break until splitting into the stars, similar to a crossette with two arms.
Shot Time The time of the electrical impulse on a pin or set of pins wired together or electronically configured to fire in parallel, as in the case of same-address or piggy-back modules or slats.
Silver Flower A shell type resembling a silver crackling palm.
Single Effect Cake (also Modular Cake) Same as modular cake.
Spangle (also see Crackle) Exploding sparks in the trail of a star, producing an audible sizzling sound.
Spider A soft breaking willow-like shell that has few long lasting stars that nearly reach the ground before expiring.
Spike A shell petal or pistil consisting of short-lived comet-like inserts producing an effect similar to a comet shell with light dynamic motion on the stars.
Spin A simulation term, the rotation of a rocket or insert around its primary axis; in combination with tortuosity (see below), spin produces a helical trajectory such as a flying fish effect.
Stained Glass (also see Kaleidoscope and Aniseed) A roughly spherical break pattern consisting of ten to twenty clusters of stars, which may have colored flame envelopes (Kaleidoscope) or may leave trails (Octopus).
Star A burning projectile made of pyrotechnic composition that leaves a colored flame envelope or trail of sparks.
Sun Ring A shell petal consisting of two axis-aligned, concentric Chrysanthemum rings incorporating a star transition in the outer ring occurring at the same time the stars of the inner ring expire.
Swimming Star (also Scattering) Same as scattering.
Swinging Star (see Go Getter, Criss Cross) A weak go getter, or a shell type consisting of weak go getter inserts.
Tail (also Rising Tail) The trail of sparks or flame envelope of a rising projectile. The term tail is commonly also used to describe the trail of sparks behind a star from an aerial shell. The problem with conflating trail and tail is that if tail implies trail, then what term describes a rising colored flame envelope without sparks on an aerial shell or a mine's stars (e.g., "Red Peony w/ Blue Tail"), and how do you know whether the effect name "Red Peony w/ Gold Tail" describes a gold trail of sparks as a rising effect or as a further description of red stars. These problems are solved by disambiguating tail from trail, so it may be best not to use the terms interchangeably.
Thousand Flowers (also Shell Of Shells) The Chinese term for shell of shells.
Tiger Tail A projectile that leaves a thick trail of sparks. Originally, Tiger Tail was used to describe the effect produced by coating the surface of a shell with a primer composition that left a thick trail of sparks, but the term is now used more generally to apply also to stars that leave thick trails of sparks. Though sometimes used to describe the same effect as a comet trail, the term Tiger Tail more commonly applies to trails that are cloudier and less energetic than comet trails.
Time Rain (also see Flower Rain, Dragon Eggs, Happy Stars) A thick, gold star trail with falling crackle.
Tortuosity A simulation term, the curliness of a rocket or insert's trajectory based on the angle of the propulsion nozzle relative to the primary axis of the object; a tortuosity of zero causes a straight trajectory; a tortuosity of 120 degrees causes a tight rotation; the combination of tortuosity and spin (see above) produces a helical trajectory such as a flying fish effect.
Tourbillion A tube component used as a shell or mine insert, the tube containing fast burning composition that exhausts through a vent drilled in the side of the tube, causing the tube to spin rapidly, emitting a shower of sparks; similar to a hummer but longer in duration and intensity.
Trail The sparks left in the path of a projectile (shell or star, rising or aerial). Also see Tail for a discussion of the differences between the two similar sounding terms.
Transformation Shell A soft breaking aerial shell incorporating color changes between gold and silver and having glittering effects.
Tremalon (also see Glitter and Flitter) The Italian term denoting star composition that produces a sparkling trail similar to glitter and flitter.
Twitter-Glitter A shell type resembling a crown chrysanthemum with thick, short, crackling trails.
Variegated (also Varg) Having multiple colors; used most commonly to describe a shell with stars of varying color, as in "Variegated Peony." [Ed: Also the most frequently misspelled word in the pyrotechnics lexicon.]
Vendor ID (Finale specific) A second user-defined identifier of a choreography item (see Product ID). This value can be in any format, and is not guaranteed by Finale to be unique. It is typically used to hold the importer's or manufacturer's part number representing this item.
View Time (also Break Time, Burst Time, Effect Time or Display Time) Same as Effect Time.
Voice Cues Verbal instructions for the operator to press a switch to complete an electrical circuit that electrifies a pin. Voice cue articulations explicitly announce the address of the pin, including the pin number and optionally the address of the pin’s firing system unit. Typically manual fire shows use sequential pin numbers for simplicity, though more complex manual fire shows with multiple launch positions or with firing systems that use banks of pin numbers corresponding to different rails will require both a pin number and the address of the firing system unit (module , slat, rail, or bank). Voice cue articulations may be different from the cue marker numbers (see above) since voice cues articulate the individual pins being fired, whereas a single cue marker may correspond to multiple pins firing simultaneously or may even, in the case of computer firing, correspond to multiple pins firing at different times. In the common case of sequential manual firing, however, the voice cue articulations will correspond to cue marker numbers if all effects are on cue markers.
Waterfall A very soft breaking shell with long lasting stars leaving Willow-like trails, or a ground effect consisting of a drawn out, suspended string of gerbs emitting a cascading wall of sparks.
Wave A hard breaking, Chrysanthemum-like shell with stars that leave thick, pronounced trails; or more generally a star composition that leaves a thick, pronounced trail, as in "Red Wave Mine."
Willow A soft breaking shell with long lasting stars leaving charcoal-rich trails that nearly reach the ground before expiring, or more generally a star composition that leaves charcoal-rich, long lasting trails.
Wind Bells (or Aeolian Bells or Mobiles) Same as Aeolian Bells.
Wipe (or Fan Wipe or Angle Wipe) A firing pattern for a cake in which a row of tubes is shot in sequence from one side to the other, angling outward from the center. For cakes having multiple rows with a wipe firing pattern, each row will fire in the same direction, in contrast with Zipper or Z cakes in which the rows fire in a back-and-forth direction.
Zipper (or Z) A firing pattern for a cake in which rows of tubes are shot from one side to the other and back again, alternating directions each row. The tubes in a row generally angle outward from the center, producing a zig-zag pattern in the sky.
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