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Owen Jander and Tim Carter

In music, the relation between verbal stress and melodic accent in the setting and delivery of a text. Clear and appropriate text setting, measured by quantity or quality, was extolled by humanist thinkers in the Renaissance on the basis of classical precedent, and it was central to the emergence of recitative and the ‘new music’ in Florence during the late 16th century. Throughout the Baroque period, the notion of the musician as orator, persuading and moving an audience, depended on proper declamation. The subject was often discussed by theorists, particularly as clear declamation became threatened by the more musical demands of the aria. J.G. Walther (...


William C. Holmes

(1) In the 17th and 18th centuries a passage or cadenza inserted into a piece by a performer.

(2) In the same period, an epilogue inserted into a stage work (opera or play) in honour of a patron’s birthday or wedding, or for some other festive occasion. This usually consisted of recitatives and arias but choruses were sometimes included. The ...


Julian Budden and Ellen T. Harris

An operatic role played by a member of the opposite sex. The term is most commonly applied to men who sing female roles; for women playing male roles, Breeches part is more usual. Such parts, often depicting elderly, amorous women and having an inherently comic or derisive element, are frequent in early Venetian opera: for example, the Nurse (alto or high tenor) in Monteverdi’s ...


Martin Kirnbauer

A designation for an instrument, known only from a stage direction in Peri’s Euridice (Florence, 1600): ‘Tirsi Viene in scena sonando la presente Zinfonia con un Triflauto, e canta la seguente stanza’. The score at this point comprises a ritornello on three staves, all with soprano clefs. The top two parts (e′–e′′) are written predominantly in parallel thirds, while the lowest is a drone alternating between only four notes....