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  • Robert Donington
  •  and Peter Wright


(1) In mensural notation, the introduction of coloured notes (especially red and, later, black) as a regular method of indicating a change in rhythmic values. The term refers mainly to the use of full notes, but also to the use of void notes. Coloration can perform a variety of functions, the most common of which is to reduce the normal value of a note by one third (thus, for instance, facilitating the notation of hemiola groups). The practice of coloration originated in the early 14th century, continuing well into the 16th century and beyond. ...

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