Show Summary Details

Page of

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 (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 02 June 2020

Faburden [faburdon, faburthon, fabourden, faberthon etc.]locked

  • Brian Trowell


[faburdon, faburthon, fabourden, faberthon etc.]

A style of improvised polyphony particularly associated with English music of the 15th century, related to but independent of Fauxbourdon.

The term ‘faburden’ originally designated the lowest voice in an English technique of polyphonic vocal improvisation that enabled a group of soloists or a choir to sing at sight a three-part harmonization of plainchant, derived from the notes of the chant itself. It flourished from about 1430 or earlier until the time of the Reformation. The highly schematic formula used led to chains of what would now be called 6-3 chords, punctuated by occasional 8-5 chords (particularly at the beginnings and ends of phrases and words). The plainchant was thought of as the mean or middle voice, from which the other two parts were derived, although of course the chant was also present in the treble, which doubled it at the upper 4th while the bottom part sang 5ths or 3rds beneath it. The singers apparently declaimed the words simultaneously in the normal rhythm of plainchant. Ends of phrases were slightly ornamented, probably from quite early on, to provide satisfactory cadential suspensions; it is unlikely, at least in choral performance, that general ornamentation was introduced....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Beverley, East Yorkshire County Record Office
Annales musicologiques
Music & Letters
Journal of the American Musicological Society
C. Burney: A General History of Music from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period (London, 1776-89); ed. F. Mercer (London, 1935/R) [p. nos. refer to this edn]
Cambrai, Médiathèque Municipale
Early Music
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
R. Strohm: The Rise of European Music (Cambridge, 1993)
F.Ll. Harrison: Music in Medieval Britain (London, 1958, 4/1980)
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Hugo Riemanns Musiklexikon (12/1959-75)
J. Hawkins: A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (London, 1776)
Musical Quarterly
Acta musicologica
Early Music History
Musica disciplina
Cambridge, Magdalene College, Pepys Library
Revue belge de musicologie
London, British Library
Handwörterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie
Oxford, Bodleian Library