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Kerala J. Snyder


The name given to a particular type of concert held in the Marienkirche, Lübeck, during the 17th and 18th centuries. The exact origins of the Abendmusiken were already obscure in the mid-18th century, but they began as organ recitals, probably during Franz Tunder’s tenure as organist (1641–67), perhaps even earlier. The original purpose may have been to entertain businessmen who assembled in the Marienkirche to await the opening of the stock exchange at noon on Thursdays. However, Tunder already referred to them as ‘Abendspiele’ in 1646. It is also possible that the Lübeck businessmen who financed them were imitating the municipally sponsored organ recitals in the Netherlands, where Reformed Church doctrine prohibited the use of the organ during church services.

Tunder’s musical offerings later included vocal and instrumental soloists, but Buxtehude, who succeeded him, added orchestra and chorus, necessitating the building of four extra balconies in 1669 to accommodate 40 performers. He also changed the time from a weekday to 4 p.m. on the last two Sundays of Trinity and the second, third and fourth Sundays of Advent, a schedule that was maintained throughout the 18th century. Although as late as ...


Acid jazz  

William Kirk Bares

Hybrid genre with origins in London’s acid house scene of the late 1980s. Originating with the English DJ and producer Gilles Peterson, the label denotes a craze, a marketing category, and a durable transatlantic jazz subculture with links to hip hop, rave and club music. Notable bands include the Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Galliano, and Us3 in the UK and Digable Planets, Groove Collective, and Brooklyn Funk Essentials in the USA. During the music’s heyday in the 1990s, groups fused improvised live jazz with soul-jazz beats and elements of hip hop, including lyrics by established rappers like Guru and MC Solaar. The dance-oriented music tapped into the era’s fascination with jazz history, DJ culture, and retro kitsch. Jazz publications of the 1990s, including the UK-based Straight No Chaser (devoted entirely to acid jazz), debated whether acid jazz was innovative or derivative, genuinely or only superficially jazz. Its advocates touted its accessibility and potential to revive neglected jazz artists and grooves. Collaborations with veteran jazz musicians like Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Ron Carter added credibility to the movement....


Acid jazz (genre)  

Musical subculture of the late 1980s and 90s. Acid jazz is largely a fusion of black American musical styles such as funk, soul and hip-hop combined with a visual aesthetic which borrows extensively from both British popular culture of the 1960s and black American street style of the 70s. Fundamentally a form of street style, it combined music, fashion and recreational drug use to create an ‘attitude’ that owed much to the beatniks of the 1960s (hence ‘jazz’) and a nostalgia for the 1960s and 70s, regarded as a time when musicianship was vital to good dance music as opposed to the more contemporary technological emphasis. The term covers a wide range of musical styles, from the electronic disco styling of bands such as Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies to the Santana-inspired funk rock of Mother Earth and the Mendez Report. The common denominator is usually the influence of funk, drawing on syncopated rhythmic interplay between the instruments and the use of chromatic chord sequences used widely in post-bop jazz but rarely in mainstream pop or dance music....


Act music (ii)  

Jack Westrup

Music specially written for the celebration of the Act at the University of Oxford in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The Act, held originally in July, was a traditional function at which candidates for degrees gave public evidence of their fitness. In 1669 it was held for the first time in the newly opened Sheldonian Theatre (having previously been held at the university church of St Mary) and was incorporated in the ceremony of the Encaenia (the dedication of the building). Composers who contributed music for the Act, which flourished particularly in the period 1699–1710, included Locke and Blow. The Act ceased to be held after 1733, but the Encaenia continued as a ceremony for the commemoration of founders and benfactors and for the conferment of honorary degrees. The 1733 Act was celebrated with music composed and performed by Handel, and in 1791 Haydn's Symphony no.92 (the ‘Oxford’) was performed at the Sheldonian Theatre when he was awarded the honorary DMus. The only music performed now is an organ recital before the ceremony....


Act music (i)  

Curtis Price

Instrumental (rarely vocal) music performed before and during the intervals of late 17th- and early 18th-century English plays and semi-operas. A full suite of act music comprises nine pieces: two pieces each of ‘first music’ and ‘second music’, played to entertain the audience waiting for the play to begin; an overture, usually in the French style, sounded after the prologue was spoken and just before the curtain was raised; and four ‘act tunes’ played immediately at the end of each act of a five-act play or semi-opera (except the last).

The earliest known suites of act music were composed by Matthew Locke in the 1660s for various unidentified productions of the Duke’s Company, London; the earliest surviving suite for an identifiable play is John Banister’s for The Indian Queen (1664). The first set to be published was Locke’s for the 1674 ‘operatic’ production of Dryden and Davenant’s The Tempest...


Act tune  


Acte de ballet  

M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet

(Fr.). A French 18th-century stage work in one act, akin to the opéra-ballet and performed at the Académie Royale de Musique (the Opéra). Like the opéra-ballet, an acte de ballet includes airs, duets, choruses (particularly choeurs dansés) and sometimes other vocal music as well as instrumental dances. Being in a single act, it had a continuous, though slight, dramatic action: the plot was often designed to provide maximum opportunity for colourful scenic displays. Under the title ‘Fragments’, an evening’s performance at the Opéra might be made up of several actes de ballet by different authors or one with other short works; popular entrées from opéras-ballets were taken out of their original context and given as actes de ballet.

The earliest example is Zélindor, roi des silphes by François Rebel and François Francoeur (1745), termed a ‘divertissement’. As a designation in scores and librettos, acte de ballet is most frequently found in the works of Rameau: ...


Afro-Caribbean Music  

Peter Manuel

The field of Afro-Caribbean music comprises a vast and heterogeneous corpus of genres and practices, with most forms of Caribbean music evolving as syncretic products of diverse African- and European-derived elements. Many of these genres have established substantial presences in or influences on music culture in the mainland United States, whether through the activities of diasporic communities or via cross-cultural interactions.

Afro-Caribbean musics may be regarded as spanning a gamut of styles. On one end would lie various neo-African traditional genres that bear close affinities to counterparts or predecessors in Africa and may even embody marginal survivals of entities now obscure in that continent. Particularly prominent in the neo-African category are the many Afro-Caribbean genres – both recreational as well as religious – that feature a West African-derived format of three drums playing ostinato-based rhythms, accompanying call-and-response singing and dancing by groups, couples, or an individual.

The 20th century saw the emergence of a rich and dynamic variety of creole commercial popular music genres whose styles evolved in connection with the new mass media of records and, from the 1920s, radio. Most of these genres were distinctively Afro-Caribbean both in stylistic features as well as the social milieus that generated them and the personnel that performed them. Several came to enjoy considerable popularity in the USA, and especially in New York City, whose mass media infrastructure, immigrant enclaves, and receptive non-Caribbean audiences enabled it to become a dynamic secondary center of Caribbean popular music. At the same time, African American popular musics, from rock to rap, exerted their own sorts of influences on Caribbean popular music scenes, resulting in a dynamic and ongoing process of mutual inspiration and cross-fertilization....


Afro-Cuban jazz  

Gunther Schuller


A jazz style. It was created from a fusion of bop with traditional Cuban elements, that arose in the 1940s, primarily in the work of Dizzy Gillespie; it is distinguished from the more general Latin jazz by the specific influence of Cuban dance, folk and popular idioms. Although a Latin-American or Caribbean influence (Jelly Roll Morton called it the ‘Latin tinge’) is discernible in jazz from the late 19th century, the earliest use of Cuban elements is traceable only to Alberto Socarras and Mario Bauzá in the late 1930s. Afro-Cuban jazz became a clearly defined style and acquired an international following only when Gillespie, who had been influenced by Bauzá, began to collaborate with the outstanding Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo. For Gillespie, Bauzá, and others, the main impulse for the Afro-Cuban movements came from their feeling that American jazz of the 1930s and 1940s, being essentially monorhythmic, needed the kind of enrichment that an infusion of Afro-Cuban polyrhythms would provide....


Agnus Dei  

Richard L. Crocker

revised by David Hiley

Acclamation of the Latin Mass, sung between the Fraction and the communion antiphon. Since the text does not change from day to day (except for the Mass for the Dead), the Agnus Dei is counted as part of the Ordinary of the Mass. Many chant settings were made between the 11th and 16th centuries. Some of the most widely used were included in the Liber usualis.

Apart from the Credo, the Agnus Dei is the most recent of the acclamations of the Latin Mass, and in some respects the least firmly entrenched. It seems to have been added to the Mass as a confractorium (or chant to accompany the breaking of the bread) late in the 7th century, perhaps by Pope Sergius I. The text itself is from John i.29: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’; but the specific association of the sacrificial lamb with Christ in the Eucharist and on the altar seems to be characteristic of Syrian practice of the early centuries. In any case, the direct address to the Son, found here as well as in ‘Christe eleison’ and in the christological portion of the Gloria in excelsis, contrasts with the Roman habit of addressing only God the Father in prayers of the Mass. Other rites (Ambrosian, Mozarabic), however, had other ...


Air (i)  

Nigel Fortune, David Greer, and Charles Dill

(Eng., Fr.)

A term used in England and France from the 16th century onwards, frequently and rather loosely as synonymous with ‘melody’, ‘tune’ or ‘song’.

When Thomas Morley (A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke, 1597) applied the term to all the secular vocal forms of his day except the madrigal, the most serious of them, he was following his Italian predecessors and contemporaries in using it to refer to light pieces in a simple, canzonetta-derived style (see Aria §1). The term was also consistently used in England from the same year for published volumes of lute-songs, several of which, however, are serious. Here the spelling ‘ayre’ was often preferred. After the decline of the lute ‘ayre’, towards the mid-17th century, the form ‘air’ was often used again in its more general sense. By the 18th century it clearly denoted a simple, unpretentious song, quite different from the Italian or italianate aria, which in both operas and cantatas was often a complex, highly developed form....


Air de cour  

John H. Baron


A term used by French composers and publishers from 1571 to the 1650s to designate many secular, strophic songs sung at court. From 1608 until approximately 1632 these were the most important and numerous vocal compositions in France.

Airs de cour were composed either for four or five unaccompanied voices (a few examples are for six and eight voices) or for one voice usually with lute accompaniment. They were written for the entertainment of the king and his courtiers by the finest composers at court, all of whom were excellent singers. Nearly all airs were published first by the royal printers Le Roy & Ballard, later by Ballard alone, often in series of collections appearing over a number of years. From 1608 a number of airs in these collections were taken from the year's most successful ballets de cour.

In the preface to the first collection of airs de cour...



[alabanza] (Sp.-American: ‘praise’).

A hymn of praise for the Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin Mary or other saints. It was brought to the New World at least as early as 1716 by the Franciscans, who continued the Spanish custom of chanting the alabado, or alabanza, as it is called in Spain, in their missions to Texas and California, as they had done in their monasteries. One of the earliest ...



Stephen Haynes

(Provençal: ‘dawn’). A minor genre of troubadour lyric, of which 19 examples survive. Several are anonymous or of uncertain attribution; of those whose authorship is reasonably secure, only Reis glorios, by Giraut de Bornelh (PC 242.64), is the work of a poet of the first rank. Few can be dated with any precision, but the period of composition appears to extend from the last quarter of the 12th century to the end of the 13th. Most have a refrain – a rare feature in the troubadour lyric – and this normally includes the word ‘alba’.

The dawn plays a number of different roles in these pieces. Six of the poems are religious, and use the dawn as a symbol of redemption or awakening from sin. The remainder are amorous, and most of these are concerned with the parting of lovers at daybreak, though in two cases the lover is looking forward to the dawn. The surviving poems include the unique ...



Maricarmen Gómez

(Sp.: ‘dawn song’).

A morning serenade or song performed in honour of an individual or to celebrate a festival; it is similar to the albada, an open-air concert performed at daybreak under the balcony or windows of an honoured individual. In the mid-15th century it was customary for the instrumentalists of noble Spanish households to perform the alvorada at dawn on the most solemn festival days of the religious calendar and on other important days. For example, in the household of Miguel Lucas de Iranzo, the Constable of Castile, the instrumentalists, playing ‘softly’, would perform the alborada, placing the loudest instruments, such as the trumpets and kettledrums, on the floor above the Constable’s bedroom and the remaining instruments and the singers at his door.

Alboradas abound in the Spanish folk repertory. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries they were sung in villages at dawn on the day of a wedding, accompanied by local instruments; they were dedicated to the bride and groom and occasionally also to the best man. On other occasions, the alborada took the form of a personal chant dedicated to Jesus or to a specific saint; it was sung by the women standing close to the venerated image, which was carried through the streets in a dawn procession. In the marshes of Valencia, ‘aubades’ (alboradas) were popular strophic songs accompanied by the dulzaina (oboe) and tamboril (small drum); the text and melody of one such song – three stanzas and a refrain – survives in ...



Maurice J.E. Brown

revised by Kenneth L. Hamilton

(Ger. Albumblatt; Fr. feuille d’album).

A composition originally written in the album of a friend or patron and usually dedicated to him or her. The style was therefore simple and the dimensions slight. Examples are Schubert’s Albumblatt in G, d844, written for Anna Hönig, and Liszt’s Adagio in C, based on a theme from his Après une lecture du Dante (Années de pèlerinage, book 2) and written into the album of an unidentified female acquaintance in 1841. But the form of the albumleaf was undefined, and in time its original purpose was lost sight of: substantial pieces such as Beethoven’s Für Elise were dedicated to friends but no longer written in albums. During the 19th century ‘albumleaf’ became merely a convenient title among many others. Sometimes series of such pieces were published as albums: Schumann, besides his Albumblätter, op.124, composed an Album für die Jugend, op.68, Tchaikovsky an Album pour les enfants, op.39, consisting of 24 pieces, and Anton Rubinstein two separate albums of 12 and 6 pieces respectively. In time such a piece was simply called ‘Blatt’; thus Schumann’s well-known ...





Meredith Ellis Little and Suzanne G. Cusick

[allemand, almain, alman, almond] (Fr.: ‘German [dance]’; It. alemana, allemanda)

One of the most popular of Baroque instrumental dances and a standard movement, along with the courante, sarabande and gigue, of the suite. It originated some time in the early or mid-16th century, appearing under such titles as ‘Teutschertanz’ or ‘Dantz’ in Germany and ‘bal todescho’, ‘bal francese’ and ‘tedesco’ in Italy. Originally a moderate duple-metre dance in two or three strains, the allemande came to be one of the most highly stylized of all Baroque dances and by 1732 was likened to a rhetorical ‘Proposition, woraus die übrigen Suiten, als die Courante, Sarabande, und Gigue, als Partes fliessen’ (WaltherML). 30 years later Marpurg (Clavierstücke, 1762, ii, 21) referred to the allemande as similar to the prelude, in that it was said to be based on a succession of changing harmonies in an improvisatory style, although he noted that in the allemande dissonances were to be more carefully prepared and resolved....


Alternative country  

Nancy P. Riley

The term “alternative country” refers to Country music of the late 20th century that existed outside of mainstream country (as represented by Nashville and contemporary country radio) and incorporated country music with aspects of punk, rock and roll, and roots influences. During the 1990s, alternative country identified with a punk rock do-it-yourself ethos and a connection to indie-rock fans and scenes, with live venues and independent record labels playing a crucial role in its emergence. Further, the term owes much to the success of underground rock bands like R.E.M. and Nirvana that became commercially successful, marketed as “alternative.”

The mythologized origins of alternative country begins in 1990, when the Belleville, Illinois band Uncle Tupelo released their debut album, No Depression (Rockville Records, 1990), which featured a collection of punk-influence rock songs and ballads with a country influence, including the title track, an edgy cover of the Carter Family tune “No Depression in Heaven.” The album led to a discussion folder on America Online, also named “No Depression,” which in turn led to a bi-monthly magazine of the same name. Although Uncle Tupelo disbanded in ...


Ambient house  

Will Fulford-Jones

A form of 20th-century club dance music. It became popular in the ‘chill out’ rooms of clubs in London during the late 1980s as music to relax to, away from the more fevered, heavily rhythmic music favoured in the main rooms. Its DJs included Dr Alex Paterson of the Orb and the KLF, who played a mix of wildlife samples, sound effects, hypnotherapy tapes and Pink Floyd. The KLF’s 1989 album, Chill Out, took up this thread and was perhaps the first ambient house record. A seemingly random collection of samples (from the likes of Fleetwood Mac to Acker Bilk), it is best described as a 1980s pop culture version of musique concrète. Like much club dance music, ambient house music is largely electronic, but differs from other styles in that much of it is not intended for dancing: many of its records are arhythmic, and those that feature a rhythm track do so sparingly. It also often lacks a diatonic centre and features perpetual atonality and prolonged washes of chords played on a synthesizer. Other features include samples of wildlife and birdsong. The term ‘ambient’ was eventually applied, unconvincingly, to many other forms of dance music, such as dub and drum ’n’ bass. (For ambient music, ...