Trope(i) (Gk. tropos: ‘turn’, ‘turn of phrase’; Lat. tropus)
- Alejandro Enrique Planchart
(Gk. tropos: ‘turn’, ‘turn of phrase’; Lat. tropus)
Name given from the 9th century onwards to a number of closely related genres consisting essentially of additions to pre-existing chants. Three types of addition are found: (1) that of a musical phrase, a melisma without text (unlabelled or called trope in the sources); (2) that of a text to a pre-existing melisma (most frequently called prosula, prosa, verba or versus, though sometimes also trope, in the sources); (3) that of a new verse or verses, consisting of text and music (most frequently called trope, but also laudes, versus and in certain specific cases farsa, in the sources).
The medieval terminology was far from consistent (Odelman, C1975), and scholars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries expanded it (thus compounding the problem) to include even the sequence and its proses, the conductus, verse songs that sometimes replaced the Benedicamus Domino, and the upper voices of early Ars Antiqua motets. Despite efforts by Crocker (...