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Christopher Fox

A designation associated primarily with the serial music written in the 1950s by Nono, Maderna, Stockhausen, and Boulez and promoted by them in the 1950s at the Darmstadt summer courses. The term was coined by Nono in his 1957 Darmstadt lecture, ‘Die Entwicklung der Reihentechnik’ (‘the development of serial technique’). The lecture presented analyses of the serial practice in Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra op.31 and Webern's Variations op.30, before going on to a briefer consideration of new developments in recent works by Boulez (the first movement of Structures I), Maderna (his 1955 string quartet), Stockhausen (Elektronische Studie II and Zeitmasse), and Nono himself (Incontri).

Nono explicitly located the new serial techniques within the historical development of musical modernism, claiming direct lineage from the Second Viennese School. He also drew parallels between the work of the Darmstadt School and that of the Weimar and Dessau Bauhaus in the 1920s and 30s. In the work of the new generation of composers, Nono argued, the series no longer has any thematic function; instead the series, together with its various permutations, had become the basis for the entire composition, determining not only pitch but also tempo, duration, register, dynamic, and articulation. These ideas find their most explicit, but also richest and most complex, articulation in the works of the years immediately before Nono’s ...


Stephen E. Hefling

Rhythms in which long notes alternate with one or more short notes, so called because the long notes are usually written with the aid of the dot of addition (see Note values). Dotted rhythms are found in mensurally notated music of all periods; this article, however, deals mainly with music of the 17th and 18th centuries, in which it was customary to alter certain sorts of written rhythmic values in performance (see also Notes inégales; for notational meanings of the dot before 1600 see Notation, §III). The principal issue is the degree to which such rhythms sounded uneven, rather than the specific manner of their notation (e.g. the dot may be replaced by a rest or tie).

Dozens of contemporary theoretical and pedagogical sources indicate that the dot was ordinarily equal to one half the value of the note or rest preceding it, just as it is today. But the treatises also present various exceptions. The dot could stand for a tie (...



Murray Campbell and Mary Térey-Smith

The repetition of sound after a short time interval. In addition to the applications discussed below the term is used for a signal-processing device (also known as a delay) that produces a slightly delayed playback of sounds either by a tape loop or by digital delay; see Electric guitar §2 .

See also Organ stop .

Natural echoes arise from the reflection of a sound wave by a solid surface, such as a wall or cliff. For the echo to be perceived as distinct from the original sound, the extra path length travelled by the reflected sound wave must have a minimum value of around 17 metres, corresponding to a minimum time interval of 50 milliseconds between direct and reflected sounds.

The reverberant sound field in a concert hall is created by multiple reflections of sound waves. In a well-designed hall, the direct sound reaching a member of the audience is followed by a series of reflections within a time interval of around 35 milliseconds. These ‘early delayed arrivals’ are not heard as separate echoes; because of the ‘precedence effect’ they are perceived as a reinforcement of the direct sound. Subsequent reflections blend smoothly into the reverberation. A concave surface, focussing sound waves into a particular part of the hall, can give rise to an audible echo; a ‘flutter echo’ can arise from successive reflections between parallel walls....


Claus Bockmaier

(Ger., from Lat. colorare: ‘to ornament’)

To introduce Coloration. A term used in German-speaking lands during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance to describe the use of commonplace melodic figures to generate musical textures. During the 15th century, standardized coloration formulae were the starting point for many compositions, especially those which elaborated upon a cantus firmus (see Tactus, (2)); during the 16th century, the term ‘kolorieren’ was applied especially to the art of ornamenting intabulations at the organ. Practitioners (‘Koloristen’) included Bernhard Schmid the elder, E.N. Ammerbach and Jakob Paix.

During the first decades of the 20th century, German musicologists controversially applied the term Kolorierung to several late-medieval vocal repertories, including early 15th-century mass settings and the repertory of English Ordinary tropes, in the belief that such works had been composed from a storehouse of pre-existing melodic formulae.

A. Schering: ‘Das kolorierte Orgelmadrigal des Trecento’, SIMG, 13 (1911–12), 172–204 R. Ficker: ‘Die Kolorierungstechnik der Trienter Messen’, ...


Scott Gleason

Group of composer-theorists collected around Milton Babbitt at Princeton University starting in the mid-1950s. A principal source of high-modernist music and theory, the Princeton School’s approach was instrumental in establishing a rigorous style in the American academy by 1963, when Joseph Kerman coined the term.

The school’s formal programme included the analysis of Schoenbergian 12-note composition and the recasting of Schenkerian theory as an axiomatic system and compositional theory. Compositional techniques developed included combinatoriality, arrays, rhythmic serialization, structures modelled on Schenkerian layers, and invariance. The uniqueness of each composition was central, thus analysis was concerned less with style critique and historical context and more with understanding each composition’s methods and effects. Critique of musical structure followed Babbitt’s teacher and Princeton professor Roger Sessions’s lead by promising an empirical grounding in musical experience.

Some aspects of the school’s institutionalization were the establishment of the graduate programme in music composition (with the first PhD in music composition at Princeton awarded to ...


(Ger. Reminiszenzmotiv, Erinnerungsmotiv)

A theme, or other coherent musical idea, which returns more or less unaltered, as identification for the audience or to signify recollection of the past by a dramatic character. It is an important ancestor of the Leitmotif .

The systematic use of motifs for dramatic purposes first developed in France and Germany in late 18th-century opera, though earlier examples may be found (for example where one character quotes another’s music allusively). With the weakening of the closed aria form, greater importance began to pass to arioso, recitative and scena; and the association of motifs with characters and events began now to provide not only a useful system of illustration but, gradually, the means of applying formal control through quasi-symphonic techniques. An early formulation of the principle of associating a musical idea with a character occurs in Lacépède’s La poétique de la musique, ii (1785): a chapter on ‘Des caractères des personnages considérés relativement à la tragédie lyrique’ proposes for the musician that, in ‘chaque morceau qu’il composera, il comparera ce sentiment qu’il aura, pour ainsi dire, créé, avec celui que le morceau devra montrer et faire naître’ (‘in each piece that he composes, he shall match this feeling that he will have, so to speak, created, with the person whom the piece is to show and bring to life’)....