1-20 of 49 results  for:

  • Musical Concepts, Genres, and Terms x
  • Music Theory and Analysis x
Clear all

Article

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....

Article

Article

Article

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....

Article

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....

Article

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 (...

Article

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 ...

Article

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....

Article

Article

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 ...

Article

Bravura  

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 ...

Article

Burden  

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 ...

Article

(Gk.)

The temporal unit of ancient Greek music (see Greece §I), as defined by Aristoxenus; it could not be divided into smaller values, and all larger temporal values were multiples of it. No absolute value is known to have been associated with it; in most modern transcriptions it is rendered as a quaver....

Article

Clos  

Article

Edwin M. Ripin

revised by Martin Renshaw

Article

Article

Article

Article

Dorian  

Harold S. Powers

The common name for the first of the eight church modes, the authentic mode on D. Originally ‘Dorian’ was an ancient Greek tribal name that was used to designate one of the harmoniai, as mentioned in Plato's Republic or Aristotle's Politics, along with the names Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian and some others. The 2nd-century Hellenistic theorist Ptolemy of Alexandria used these terms, along with Hypodorian, Hypophrygian and Hypolydian, to designate the seven tonoi, or transposition keys. Four centuries later Boethius, basing his discussion on Ptolemy, described these seven names as toni, tropi, vel modi (‘tones, tropes or modes’) in the fourth book of his De institutione musica, still with the meaning of transposition keys. In the late 9th-century Carolingian treatise Alia musica, an eighth name, Hypermixolydian, taken from another part of the fourth book of Boethius's treatise, was added; this term was replaced by Hypomixolydian in the Nova expositio, a commentary on the ...

Article

Greer Garden

A French term used during the 17th and early 18th centuries for a technique of variation in which more or less elaborate ornamentation is added to the original melody, while the supporting harmonies remain the same. By extension, the embellished melody itself was also known as a double (the unadorned version of the melody was called the simple). With its twin meanings the term double is thus equivalent to diminution (see Diminution) and Division. In vocal music, double technique came to the fore as a method of embellishing the air de cour in performance. The classic examples of vocal doubles are to be found in the strophic airs for solo voice by Michel Lambert (1610–96). Probably issued as models, Lambert’s doubles were the first to be published in any quantity. His airs comprise two verses of poetry. For the first verse, the melody is presented with little ornamentation; for the second, diminutions transform the melody into a ...