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The succession of the lowest notes in a passage (or composition) which ‘support’ the other parts and are mainly responsible for the harmonic progression. See Bass.

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Wordless singing with the mouth closed. See Bocca chiusa .

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Chants sung on certain feasts at Mass in the Mozarabic rite; see Mozarabic chant, §4, (vi).

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Contra  

An abbreviation for Contratenor .

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Flos  

Mary Berry

A species of vocal embellishment. Jerome of Moravia (late 13th century) gave this definition: ‘est autem flos armonicus decora vocis sive soni celerrima procellarisque vibratio’ – an ‘ornamental vibration of the voice, or a very rapid rippling of the sound’ – that is, a shake. He described three types of ‘flowers’: long, open and sudden. ‘Long flowers’ resemble a slow vibrato, taking the note a semitone above the note to be graced. ‘Open flowers’ are slow, taking the tone below. ‘Sudden flowers’ begin slowly and gradually gather speed, using the interval of a semitone. Describing these ornaments in connection with plainchant, the author warned against applying them indiscriminately. Five notes are singled out for embellishment: the first, last and penultimate notes to be graced with long flowers, the second note of the first syllable with open flowers, and the long plica with sudden flowers. Singers may insert several short notes between this ornamental plica and the next note ‘to make the melody more elegant’....

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Greer Garden

In Baroque vocal and instrumental music, an appoggiatura, particularly one that resolves upwards by a tone or semitone. Deriving from late 16th-century Italian improvisatory practice – Bovicelli's Regole, passaggi di musica, madrigali et motetti passeggiati (1594/R) contains written-out examples – it became one of the most important graces of French Baroque music. In France it was rarely printed before the late 17th century, but was left to the performer to add extempore. Bacilly explained in his ...

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John Rosselli

In the 17th century, Musico meant a professional singer or musician of either sex; it later came to mean a castrato. With the decline and then the disappearance of the operatic castrato after 1800, the practice of assigning a leading male part (primo uomo...

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John Caldwell

A voice or part pitched somewhat higher than the treble, occasionally designated quatriplex in polyphonic sources such as the Eton Choirbook ( GB-WRec 178). Here the usage is clearly related to the Latin quadruplum in its sense of a fourth voice, above the triplum, in a motet (Franco of Cologne: ‘Qui autem quadruplum vel quintuplum facere voluit’). In the ‘quatrebil syghte’ of improvised discant, as taught in Leonel Power’s ...

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John Caldwell

A voice or part apparently pitched even higher than Quatreble. But the 15th-century English treatises which refer to the quatreble do not mention the quinible; and although quintuplum can mean the fifth voice of a motet, or the five-part motet itself (Franco of Cologne: ‘Qui autem quadruplum vel quintuplum facere voluit’), the English word seems to be used only in the general sense of a high-pitched song or voice (Chaucer, ...

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Sextus  

A sixth part in vocal or instrumental polyphony, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, when such music was published in partbooks. See Partbooks and Quintus.