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Jack Westrup, Marita P. McClymonds, Julian Budden, Andrew Clements, Tim Carter, Thomas Walker, Daniel Heartz and Dennis Libby

(It.: ‘air’)

A term normally signifying any closed lyrical piece for solo voice (exceptionally for more than one voice) with or without instrumental accompaniment, either independent or forming part of an opera, oratorio, cantata or other large work. It has also been applied to instrumental music, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, implying a piece written on a vocal model, a subject suitable for variations or a piece of light dance music. Like Air in English, ‘aria’ can also mean just melody or tune on the one hand, or on the other, a more general ‘manner’, ‘way’ or ‘mode of proceeding’ in a technical or stylistic sense; in either case it may be joined with geographical labels (aria (alla) napoletana) or with aesthetic qualifiers (a piece with ‘good’ or ‘bad’ aria).

Jack Westrup

The collateral forms aer, aere are derived from the Latin aer (‘air, atmosphere’), which is a simple transliteration of the Greek. The expressions ‘aer ytalicus’ and ‘aer gallicus’ used by an anonymous 14th-century Italian theorist (see Ruf, ...



Tim Carter

(It., diminutive of ‘aria’)

A song in an opera or similar work, shorter and less elaborate than a fully developed aria. The distinction did not become valid until the aria outgrew its simple origins: in Landi’s San Alessio (1632), where the term ‘arietta’ is used apparently for the first time, it does not seem to have any special significance. Later examples are Mozart's ‘Voi che sapete’ (...



David Charlton


An 18th-century French operatic term denoting different types of vocal solo or vocal ensemble. Its meaning evolved, however, and also changed with the context in which the music occurred. For Brossard (1703), for instance, it meant ‘petit air, ou chansonette’ with a simple binary (AABB) or a da capo structure. Although ariette is a translation of the Italian ‘arietta’ (‘little aria’), an operatic ariette was ordinarily a substantial piece of composition accompanied by an orchestra.

The term came to apply early in the 18th century to music emulating the Italian da capo aria. Campra included five examples in his Italian-influenced opéra-ballet Les fêtes vénitiennes (1710). The ariette migrated quickly to the tragédie en musique with Campra’s Télèphe (1713) and was later exploited by Rameau, starting with ‘Rossignol amoureux’ in Hippolyte et Aricie (1733). Unlike the French operatic air, which was not too long to be integrated within the flow of action and recitative, and did not allow music to overwhelm text, the ...


Malcolm Boyd

(Ger. Bearbeitung)

The reworking of a musical composition, usually for a different medium from that of the original.

The word ‘arrangement’ might be applied to any piece of music based on or incorporating pre-existing material: variation form, the contrafactum, the parody mass, the pasticcio, and liturgical works based on a cantus firmus all involve some measure of arrangement. In the sense in which it is commonly used among musicians, however, the word may be taken to mean either the transference of a composition from one medium to another or the elaboration (or simplification) of a piece, with or without a change of medium. In either case some degree of recomposition is usually involved, and the result may vary from a straightforward, almost literal, transcription to a paraphrase which is more the work of the arranger than of the original composer. It should be added, though, that the distinction implicit here between an arrangement and a ...


Peter Dickinson, H. Wiley Hitchcock and Keith E. Clifton

A short vocal piece of serious artistic purpose. During the 18th century “art song” came to have its predominant modern meaning of secular solo song with an independent keyboard accompaniment; for a discussion of songs for more than one voice (or partsongs) see Choral music. The subject of this article is the development of the art song tradition in the United States. Other types of song (discussed elsewhere in this dictionary) include theater songs, popular songs, ragtime and jazz songs, folksongs, and work songs.

The earliest extant American art songs, signed “F. H.,” are contained (along with some 100 mid-18th-century English songs) in a manuscript copied out by Francis Hopkinson, an amateur musician from Philadelphia. The first of these to appear in the manuscript is “My days have been so wondrous free,” dated 1759 and long regarded as the first American secular song; the others initialed by Hopkinson – “The Garland, Oh come to Mason Borough’s grave,” and “With pleasure I have past my days” – may be contemporaneous. Like the songs in Hopkinson’s later published collection, ...



Katherine K. Preston and Michael Mauskapf

[music management]

This article addresses the history of individuals and organizations devoted to the management of musical artists and their careers in the United States.

Musicians who toured the United States during the first half of the 19th century relied on individuals to manage their tours. Some of the most important early impresarios included William Brough, max Maretzek , bernard Ullman , and maurice Strakosch . These men travelled the musicians’ routes, sometimes with the performers and sometimes a week or two ahead, and were responsible for renting a performance venue, arranging publicity, and engaging supporting musicians and needed instruments. Managers also made travel arrangements, secured lodging, and negotiated terms with the managers of local theaters or halls. Some of these managers were themselves performers; the pianist Strakosch frequently toured with singers, and Maretzek was the conductor for his opera companies. This style of management essentially replicated the modus operandi of itinerant theatrical stars. (...


Loren Kajikawa

Record label based in San Francisco, California. Founded by Jon Jang and Francis Wong in 1987, it was inspired by African American musicians, including Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Sun Ra, and members of Chicago’s AACM, who turned to self-production as a way to maintain creative control of their work. With its name derived from the phrase “Asian American Improvised Music,” the label initially functioned as an outlet for recordings by Jang and pianist Glenn Horiuchi, two early leaders in ASIAN AMERICAN JAZZ. In 1988, Jang and Wong created Asian Improv Arts, a nonprofit organization promoting performances by Asian American artists, many of whom record with the label.

Early Asian Improv releases reflect the concerns of the Asian American consciousness movement, such as combating anti-Asian violence and gaining redress and reparations for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. In the 1990s, however, the label began broadening its roster to reflect a greater diversity of artistic and ethnic viewpoints, including a greater engagement with music and musicians from Asian countries. Although primarily devoted to creating space in the recording industry for Asian American voices, the record label has fostered collaboration across racial lines. For example, African American musicians Fred Anderson, Joseph Jarmon, James Newton, Max Roach, and numerous others have released recordings with Asian Improv or appeared on recordings by its artists....



[aube] (Fr.: ‘dawn song’)

A term originally applied to music intended for performance in the morning. It has now become simply a generic title. In the 17th and 18th centuries, aubades were played at court by military bands in honour of French sovereigns, and in provincial towns to celebrate the election of municipal officials. The Provençal ...


John Stevens

A French 13th-century chante-fable. The only surviving example of the genre, its sole source is F-Pn fr.2168. It tells, in prose, the romantic story of the love of a count’s son for a foreign girl-captive. Interspersed in the narrative are verse sections (laisses) written in lines with equal numbers of syllables, all sung to the same double phrase of melody (a relic of narrative singing; ...



Louise K. Stein

(Sp.: ‘act’, ‘judicial proceeding’, ‘decree’.)

A Spanish dramatic work that developed from medieval liturgical drama. The earliest autos were religious or allegorical plays with a clear didactic or exemplary purpose, and the term was used in a broader sense in the late 15th century and into the 16th to designate one of many kinds of play, secular or religious in nature. As with the farsa and égloga, lyric poetry and songs were included in the performance of autos by Gil Vicente, Lucas Fernández and Juan del Encina, in very stylized ways. Typically an auto or a farsa would end with a villancico, though some incorporated songs more directly into the drama.

The auto sacramentale was an allegorical religious play on the Eucharist performed during or as an adjunct to public, outdoor processions for Corpus Christi from the 16th to 18th centuries. The best known and historically most important examples of this genre are those by Pedro Calderón de la Barca written for performance at the city of Madrid's annual Corpus Christi celebrations. From ...


(Lat.: ‘Hail Mary’)

A prayer of the Roman rite. It consists of the words of the Archangel Gabriel (Luke i.28), the words of Elizabeth (Luke i.42) and a formula of petition appended in the 15th century; the present wording was adopted in the 16th century for general liturgical use (LU, 1861). The first segment of the text is used as an antiphon for the Feast of the Annunciation with a 10th-century melody (LU, 1416). Moreover, as an Offertory antiphon it occurs once with the above-mentioned text and a modern melody (LU, 1318) and once with both biblical portions of the text and a medieval melody (LU, 355). A considerable number of polyphonic settings, often with textual variants and only loosely based on the chant melody, survive by Renaissance composers, including De Orto, Josquin, Parsons, Willaert and Victoria, and there are Ave Maria masses by La Rue, Morales and Palestrina. Giacomo Fogliano set the complete text as a simple four-voice ...


John Caldwell

(Lat.: ‘Hail Queen of Heaven’)

One of the four Marian antiphons retained at the Council of Trent and ordered to be sung at the end of Compline from the Purification (2 February) until Wednesday in Holy Week. Its original role in the liturgy appears to have been to precede and follow the chanting of a psalm. Of the two melodies in the Liber usualis the more elaborate (p.274) is certainly the older. Pre-tridentine sources have a slightly different text. Du Fay’s four-voice setting, which he requested be sung at his deathbed, uses the chant melody as a cantus firmus in the tenor, with sections of the chant paraphrased in the upper two voices; the traditional text is troped with a personal supplication for mercy: ‘Miserere tui labentis Du Fay’. Two other settings by Du Fay survive, both for three voices, and a Missa ‘Ave regina celorum’, related to the four-part work. Josquin wrote a celebrated work setting both this text and that of ...




A term used in the 15th century to describe mass settings in which the number of voices varies from one section to the next. Although the word itself is found in only one manuscript ( GB-Ob Can.misc.213), where it is used in the index to describe mass movements by Binchois, Guillaume Legrant and Bartolomeo da Bologna, it is an appropriate word for describing an important series of works from the first half of the 15th century in which sections marked ‘duo’ (or ‘soli’) and ‘chorus’ alternate....


Howard E. Smither

(It.: ‘sacred action’, ‘sacred plot’)

One of several terms commonly applied to the Sepolcro, composed to texts in Italian for the Habsburg court in Vienna in the second half of the 17th century. The term was also one of many used for the Italian Oratorio of the 18th century. Both Zeno and Metastasio called their oratorio librettos azioni sacre. A ‘staged oratorio’, or opera sacra, of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was also typically called an azione sacra. Although oratorio was essentially an unstaged genre, the sepolcro was presented with a minimum of staging and action and the opera sacra was fully staged and acted in the manner of an opera.

From the 1780s to about 1820, the theatres of Naples often presented staged oratorios during Lent and usually designated them azione sacra. Such works differed little from the opera seria of the time except for their subject matter, which was that of the traditional oratorio. P.A. Guglielmi’s ...


Michael Talbot

(It.: ‘theatrical action’, ‘theatrical plot’)

Term coined by Metastasio to denote a species of Serenata that, unlike many works in this genre, contained a definite plot and envisaged some form of simple staging. The 12 works by Metastasio so described begin with Endimione (1721, Naples, set by Sarro) and end with La corona (...



Sydney Hutchinson

Dominican musical genre and dance. Bachata developed out of earlier rural string musics, principally bolero but also son, merengue, and ranchera. The term originally applied to the informal rural parties where such music was played. In the 1960s, as peasants moved to the cities, bachata developed as part of the urban underworld and changed from a romantic serenade style to one associated with brothels and harsh lyrics. At that time, it was known as musica de amargue (bitter music) or musica de guardia (military-man music, reflecting its audience) and was widely despised for its low-class connotations and explicit double entendres, although it received heavy airplay on Santo Domingo’s Radio Guarachita.

In the 1980s Blas Durán’s experiments with electric guitar and the development of a unique dance style began to expand bachata’s audience, while the so-called technoamargue by 1990s artists like Víctor Víctor, Luis Díaz, Sonia Silvestre, and particularly Juan Luis Guerra led to its widespread acceptance across social classes. Today, ...


Erich Schwandt

(Fr.: ‘jest’, ‘piece of fun’, ‘trifle’)

A term applied to suite movements of a playful nature. The titles ‘badinage’ or ‘badinerie’ first appeared in the early 18th century; they have no precise musical meaning but rather suggest a mood, jocular, frivolous or bantering.

The most well-known badinerie is the final movement of J.S. Bach’s Suite no.2 in B minor bwv1067. Rhythmically, this movement has much in common with the gavotte: it begins with a half-bar, the first phrase is eight beats long (the crotchet is the beat), with a caesura after the fourth and a point of repose on the eighth; the phrases are later extended. It is in 2/4, faster in tempo than an ordinary gavotte.

Telemann included a badinage in the orchestral suite in his Musique de table, iii (1733); the suite includes dances as well as character pieces with French titles. His badinage is based on gavotte rhythms: it is in common time, marked ‘très vite’. The piece uses drone basses and alternates with a trio. The third cantata of Montéclair’s first book is entitled ...


Maurice J.E. Brown

A trifle, a short piece of music in light vein. The title implies no specific form. The first known use of the term is a movement titled ‘Labagatelle,’ which appeared in Suite I of Marin Marais' Pièces en trio, published in Paris in 1692. In 1717, François Couperin published his tenth ordre for harpsichord, which included a rondeau titled ‘Les bagatelles.’ It was also used by the French publisher Borvin for a collection of dances (c1753), and in 1797 Breitkopf & Härtel published a series called Musikalische Bagatellen. The term as a generic title received its accolade with Beethoven’s three sets of bagatelles for piano opp.33, 119 and 126. Some of these are trifles (Beethoven called the first six of op.119 by the equivalent German term ‘Kleinigkeiten’), but many of the later ones are thoroughly typical of their composer and show affinities with the greater instrumental works written at the same time....



William Gradante

[joi-joi, tonada, vidalita, vidala coya]

A lyric song form of Paraguay and northern Argentina. The baguala is characterized by melodies that use only the three pitches of a single major triad. Accompanied by the caja (frame drum) and tambor (bass drum), it is typically performed in Carnival season by men, women and children, grouped in a circle and singing choruses in unison and in octaves, while a leader uses falsetto and ...