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Bonnie J. Blackburn


(b Florence, c1480; d after 1545). Italian theorist and composer. Nothing is known of Aaron’s early training, his teacher, or his career before 1516. He claims to have had ‘the greatest friendship and familiarity’ with Josquin, Obrecht, Isaac, and Agricola in Florence (most likely between 1487 and 1495, and not necessarily at the same time). By 1516 he was a priest in Imola, where he wrote his first book, Libri tres de institutione harmonica, translated into Latin by the humanist Giovanni Antonio Flaminio. A contemporary poem by Achille Bocchi praises Aaron for rescuing music ‘from squalor and dismal neglect’. By March 1520 he was a singer in Imola Cathedral and from the next year a chaplain; he was also paid by the city to teach music to those who wished to learn. His career in Imola ended abruptly in June 1522 when he was wounded in a factional uprising and his chapel in the cathedral destroyed (Blackburn, forthcoming). By ...


George J. Buelow

Ger. Affektenlehre

In its German form, a term first employed extensively by German musicologists, beginning with Kretzschmar, Goldschmidt and Schering, to describe in Baroque music an aesthetic concept originally derived from Greek and Latin doctrines of rhetoric and oratory. Just as, according to ancient writers such as Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian, orators employed the rhetorical means to control and direct the emotions of their audiences, so, in the language of classical rhetoric manuals and also Baroque music treatises, must the speaker (i.e. the composer) move the ‘affects’ (i.e. emotions) of the listener. It was from this rhetorical terminology that music theorists, beginning in the late 16th century, but especially during the 17th and 18th centuries, borrowed the terminology along with many other analogies between rhetoric and music. The affects, then, were rationalized emotional states or passions. After 1600 composers generally sought to express in their vocal music such affects as were related to the texts, for example sadness, anger, hate, joy, love and jealousy. During the 17th and early 18th centuries this meant that most compositions (or, in the case of longer works, individual sections or movements) expressed only a single affect. Composers in general sought a rational unity that was imposed on all the elements of a work by its affect. No single ‘theory’ of the affects was, however, established by the theorists of the Baroque period. But beginning with Mersenne and Kircher in the mid-17th century, many theorists, among them Werckmeister, Printz, Mattheson, Marpurg, Scheibe and Quantz, gave over large parts of their treatises to categorizing and describing types of affect as well as the affective connotations of scales, dance movements, rhythms, instruments, forms and styles....




Maurice J.E. Brown

revised by Kenneth L. Hamilton

(Ger. Arabeske)

A term, apparently introduced into Europe during the Moorish conquest of Spain, first applied to architecture and painting to describe an ornamental frieze or border, whose elaborations, foliate and curlicued, have their counterparts in music in ornamentation and complex figuration. In music the term has been implied in, if not applied to, three musical devices: (1) the contrapuntal decoration of a basic theme, e.g. the obbligato to the chorus ‘Jesus bleibet meine Freude’ in Bach’s Cantata no.147, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben; (2) an elaboration by gruppetti, scale figures and so on, of the theme itself which was to lead to the variation techniques of the 19th century – an excellent example is Schubert’s Andante in A d604; (3) a rapidly changing series of harmonies that decorate, without furthering, a point in the progress of a composition, such as is found in, for example, the nocturnes of Field and Chopin....


Nors S. Josephson

(Lat.: ‘more subtle art’) The highly refined musical style of the late 14th century, centred primarily on the secular courts of southern France, Aragon and Cyprus. The term was introduced to musicological vocabulary by Ursula Günther and derives from references in (?)Philippus de Caserta's Tractatus de diversis figuris to composers moving away from the style of the Ars Nova motets ‘post modum subtiliorem comparantes’ and developing an ‘artem magis subtiliter’ as exemplified in the motet Apta caro (CoussemakerS, iii, 118); similarly Egidius de Murino referred to composition ‘per viam subtilitatis’ in his Tractatus cantus mensurabilis (CoussemakerS, iii, 127). The development of the idiom (chiefly encountered in grandes ballades) may be traced in successive, roughly chronological stages. Of these, the post-Machaut generation – De Landes, Franciscus, Grimace, Pierre de Molins, Solage, Susay (A l'arbre sec) and Vaillant – was largely engaged in developing the classical ballade style of Machaut....


Paul M. Walker

(Gk.: ‘raising’, ‘lowering’)

In measured music, the terms used respectively for unstressed and stressed beats or other equidistant subdivisions of the bar. Originally they referred to raising and lowering the foot in ancient Greek dance. Later they were applied to the unaccented and accented parts of a poetic foot, and hence acquired their association with weak and strong beats. For music since the 17th century they mean much the same as, respectively, Upbeat (or Off-beat ) and Downbeat ; the directions ‘up’ and ‘down’ remain associated with them by their respective functions in conducting.

In 1558 Zarlino coined the expression fuga per arsin et thesin to refer to imitative counterpoint in which the answering voice inverted the theme stated by the leading voice. Although this is in reality a misapplication of the original Greek terms, most musicians of the late Renaissance and Baroque who were familiar with Zarlino’s work, including Morley and J.G. Walther, accepted the association with imitation by inversion. Marpurg (...


Harold S. Powers

(from Gk. authentos, Lat. authenticus or authentus)

Any of the church modes whose Ambitus, or range, includes the octave lying immediately above Final. The term is thus applied to the four odd-numbered modes of Gregorian chant (1, 3, 5 and 7), whose Greek-derived names are Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian; the ambitus of each of these modes is about a 4th higher than that of its corresponding even-numbered Plagal mode, the term with which ‘authentic mode’ is contrasted.

The earliest definition of the term is given in Hucbald’s De musica (?c880; GerbertS, i, 116): ‘Every authentic tone [i.e. mode] rises from its final up to the 9th [above]. It descends, moreover, to [the tone] next to it, and sometimes to the semitone or to the [minor] 3rd’. Later, the lower limit of the ambitus of an authentic mode was restricted in theory to the subfinal, which lies a tone below the final in the modes where it is available (1st, 3rd and 7th). The contrast between authentic and plagal was extended to the ...


Horst Brunner

(Ger. Barform)

A term denoting in musicology the three-part form AAB. The sections are called first Stollen (pes; A), second Stollen (pes; A), together forming the Aufgesang (frons), and Abgesang (cauda; B). German terms are normally retained because the concept of bar form was first introduced into musical terminology through Lorenz’s investigations into the form of Wagner's works. It is based on an incorrect use of the word ‘Bar’ in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. In Act 3 scene ii Walther von Stolzing sings the first stanza of his Prize Song, which has AAB form. Hans Sachs then sings: ‘Das nenn’ ich mir einen Abgesang! Seht, wie der ganze Bar gelang! … Jetzt richtet mir noch einen zweiten Bar’. Bar here means ‘a tripartite stanza’. In this Wagner was not in full accord with the terminology of the German Meistersinger of the 15th to 18th centuries from whom the word comes....


Petr Macek

(b Šternberk, 22 April 1964). Czech musicologist. He studied musicology with Jiří Vysloužil, Jiří Fukač, and Miloš Štědroň at Brno University. Then he worked at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague where he taught and researched until 1999. Between 1991 and 2002 he also taught at the Palacký University, Olomouc. In 1998 he started working at the Masaryk University, Brno (head of the Institute of Musicology, 1999–2004; vice-rector 2004–11; rector starting in 2011).

Bek’s scholarly specializations include music sociology, history of music after 1750, and music analysis. He is a co-director of the online Český hudební slovník osob a institucí (‘Czech Music Dictionary of Persons and Institutions’), and co-ordinator of RIPM for the Czech Republic (2001–3). He also participates actively in the international musicological colloquia that form part of the international music festival, Moravian Autumn, each year in Brno.

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Lawrence E. Bennett

Member of Bononcini family

(b Montecorone, nr Modena, bap. Sept 23, 1642; d Nov 18, 1678). Composer and theorist. He probably left his provincial home while still a boy to study in Modena with Marco Uccellini, who in 1641 had initiated an important tradition of Modenese violinist-composers (antedating the more famous Bolognese school by about 15 years). As to his other training, Bononcini himself reported in his treatise Musico prattico that he studied counterpoint with Padre Agostino Bendinelli. However, he was never a pupil of Colonna in Bologna, nor did he serve in the orchestra at S Petronio or as maestro di cappella at S Giovanni in Monte, as has sometimes been stated; these posts were held by his eldest son, (2) Giovanni. The confusion seems to have originated with a letter of 1686 from Giovanni to Colonna, which appears in the first volume of La Mara's Musikerbriefe aus fünf Jahrhunderten...


Murray Campbell

(Pierre Maxime)

(b Paris, Nov 16, 1866; d Toulouse, Nov 15, 1953). French physicist and acoustician. He studied physics at the Sorbonne (1883) and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (1885–8). After teaching at the Collège de France and the Lycée at Agen, in 1892 Bouasse joined the staff of the University of Toulouse and obtained his doctorate in mathematics. In 1897 he gained the degree of doctorate in physical sciences and was appointed to the physics chair at Toulouse, where he remained for the rest of his academic career. Retiring in 1937, he continued to work in his laboratory until two years before his death. His research interests ranged widely and he made many discoveries of great importance to musical acoustics. In particular, his studies of woodwind and brass instruments provided the essential foundation for the modern understanding of how sound is generated in these instruments. Bouasse's work has been unjustly neglected outside France, partly because he published little in conventional journals. Instead, he wove his own theories and experiments into a 45-volume library of textbooks on classical physics, the ...


Brian Trowell

A term used by Besseler in an attempt to explain the invention of the term Fauxbourdon (c1425–30). He posited a special use of ‘bourdon’, by then established in French usage as meaning a drone bass, a low note or organ pipe, and in English as the lowest voice in a three-part composition. Besseler isolated a group of low contratenor parts by Du Fay and others, many of which were written on a six-line staff and apparently composed for instrumental performance, and argued that the word ‘bourdon’ referred either to contratenors such as these or to the parts of a lower voice that functioned as a bass. A ‘faux’ (false) bourdon was therefore so designated because it was a contratenor which throughout its course lay above the tenor.

No contemporary evidence has yet been found to support this special usage and, if Besseler was right, it is surprising that such words as ‘bourdon’, ‘burdo’ or ‘bordunans’ are not found among the many new terms coined during the 15th century to describe the ...


Murray Campbell


(b London, August 26, 1933). English physicist and acoustician. He obtained a BSc in physics from Imperial College, London, later gaining the doctorate there with research into high-amplitude stress waves. After holding a research fellowship at the electronic music laboratory of the Canadian National Research Council in Ottawa, he worked for five years in the acoustics section of the UK National Physical Laboratory, where he carried out research on the psycho-acoustic perception of short duration and very low frequency sounds. In 1966 he was appointed to a lectureship in acoustics at the University of Surrey, where, in collaboration with colleagues in the US, Europe, Israel and Australia, he established a group which became noted for its research into the acoustics of wind instruments and their subjective assessment. He played a major part in the establishment there of the Tonmeister course in music and applied physics. An accomplished trombonist, his most notable research has been in the acoustics of brass instruments, where he supplemented and elucidated physical measurements by applying psychological testing procedures to the assessment of brass instrument tone quality. He developed a non-invasive technique which allows the bore of an instrument to be reconstructed by injecting acoustic pulses into one end and recording the reflections....



Owen Jander

(It.: ‘skill, bravery’)

The element of brilliant display in vocal or instrumental music that tests the performer’s skill. The term was particularly common in the 18th century with the aria di bravura, also known as the aria d’agilità. John Brown (Letters on Italian Opera, 2/1791) remarked that such arias were ‘composed chiefly – indeed, too often – merely to indulge the singer in display’; and Mozart said of the aria for Constanze, ‘Ach, ich liebte’ in ...


Bonnie J. Blackburn

[‘Auritus’ (‘Big Ears’)]

(fl ? c1450). Italian theorist. He is the otherwise unknown author (possibly from Bizzolano, a quarter of Canneto sull’Oglio west of Mantua) of a short treatise for boys, Introductiones artis musice (incomplete in I-Vnm lat.Cl.VIII.85 (3579), ff.61 v–67 v, copied in Mantua and Bozzolo in 1463–4). Book 1 treats letters, notes, hexachords, avoidance of the tritone, and intervals in summary fashion. Book 2, on the species of intervals, is copied largely verbatim from Book 2 of Johannes Ciconia’s ...



David Fallows

[burthen, burdoun]

(1) A refrain. This is the standard modern English word for any repeated sections in hymns and songs of the 15th and 16th centuries. In particular, the presence of a burden structurally independent of the verse is the prime distinguishing characteristic of the Carol (see Bukofzer, 153ff). The medieval term, according to Richard Hill’s Commonplace-book (Balliol College, Oxford, MS 354), seems to have been ‘fote’ (foot).

(2) A drone or pedal note, particularly on a bagpipe. This usage is found in both English and French music from the 13th century onwards.

(3) A shawm. Presumably this meaning is related to the preceding one: the 15th-century chronicle of St Albans describes the reception of a new abbot to the Te Deum with bells and ‘shawms which we call burdones’ (sonantis chalamis quos burdones appellamus; see HarrisonMMB, 206).

(4) In 1338 Robert Manning of Brunne used the word to describe the bottom line of a three-voice texture in his ...



Denzil Wraight

(Fr. archiquier, eschaquier, eschiquier; Ger. Schachtbrett; Lat. scacarum, scacatorum; Sp. eschaquer, scaquer)

The earliest term used in archives and other writings to denote a string keyboard instrument. Its exact meaning is still the subject of debate and research, but it is probable that most references are to a clavichord. There appears to be no Italian equivalent of the name; Farmer suggested that it is derived from the Arabic ‘al-shaqira’ and tentatively identified this as a virginal, but there is no supporting evidence. Some writers identified the chekker as an upright harpsichord (i.e. a Clavicytherium), since a letter written to Juan I of Aragon in 1388 referred to ‘an instrument seeming like organs, that sounds with strings’, but the instrument was not named. Galpin (Grove4, suppl.) believed that the Dulce melos described by Arnaut de Zwolle (c1440) was identical with the chekker. However, instruments with hammer action, such as the dulce melos, appear to have been rare, whereas the name ‘chekker’ appears frequently, and there is no evidence to support this identification. Galpin further suggested that the chekker’s name was derived from the fact that the action was ‘checked’, in the sense that the motion of its keys was stopped by a fixed rail; this is unconvincing and could in any case apply to a clavichord, a harpsichord or a virginal. These suggestions can therefore be disregarded....


C. Truesdell

revised by Clive Greated

(Florenz Friedrich)

(b Wittenberg, Nov 30, 1756; d Breslau [now Wrocław], April 3, 1827). German acoustician. He studied law at Leipzig University before turning to scientific studies. He invented two instruments, the ‘euphon’ and the ‘klavizylinder’, both of which were variants of the glass harmonica. However, he owes his fame to his celebrated experiments on the nodal patterns and corresponding frequencies of vibration plates. He showed that the vibration patterns, often called Chladni figures, could be made visible by sprinkling sand on the plate. The sand is thrown up on vibrating areas and collects around nodal lines. Chladni travelled through Europe playing on his instruments and demonstrating his experiments before many persons and institutions; he encountered Goethe, Lichtenberg, Olbers, Laplace, Napoleon and other notable men of the period. Chladni's experiments stimulated much early work on the vibration of plates and bars and indeed so impressed the Académie des Sciences, Paris, that it offered a prize for a successful explanation of his sand figures and the motion of elastic surfaces in general. His work helped to form the foundation of modern theories, capable of predicting precise vibration patterns for violin and guitar top plates and the soundboards of keyboard instruments....