Show Summary Details

Page of
<p>Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use&#160;(for details see Privacy Policy).</p><p>date: 18 July 2019</p>

Contrafactum (from medieval Lat. contrafacere: ‘to imitate’, ‘counterfeit’, ‘forge’)locked

  • Robert Falck
  •  and Martin Picker


In vocal music, the substitution of one text for another without substantial change to the music.

The term is most commonly applied to the practice of composing new poems to older melodies, particularly in the secular monophonic repertory of the 12th and 13th centuries. But it is found equally in the plainchant repertory, where the texts of new feasts, for example, were routinely adapted to older melodies. Many sequence and hymn melodies too were retexted numerous times. Contrafacta are also found in medieval polyphony. A number of 13th-century motets, for example, survive with both Latin and French texts; thus Philip the Chancellor’s ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Musical Quarterly
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association
Acta musicologica
Rivista musicale italiana
Music & Letters
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Proceedings of the Musical Association
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Annales musicologiques
Collectanea historiae musicae (1953-66)
Current Musicology
Treviso, Biblioteca Capitolare della Cattedrale
Handwörterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie
Revue belge de musicologie
Die Musikforschung