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date: 20 October 2019

Falsobordone (It.: ‘false bass’, from Fr. fauxbourdon)locked

  • Murray C. Bradshaw


(It.: ‘false bass’, from Fr. fauxbourdon)

A chordal recitation based on root position triads, with the form and often the melody of a Gregorian psalm tone. Mostly intended for the singing of vesper psalms, falsobordoni are in two sections, each made up of a recitation on one chord followed by a cadence. As a style, the falsobordone occurs in a wide variety of compositions from the 15th century to the 18th, particularly in psalms, responses, Passions, Lamentations, reproaches, litanies and settings of the Magnificat. It is found less often in other pieces, such as masses, villancicos, frottolas, laude, madrigals, operas and sacred concertos.

The ‘classical’ form and style of the falsobordone, associated with the harmonization of psalm tones, appeared in southern Europe in the 1480s. It was known in Spain as ‘fabordón’, a variant of the French ‘fauxbourdon’, but there is little apparent connection between the two beyond that of the name. Unlike the older fauxbourdon, both the Italian ...

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