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Auto  

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 ...

Article

(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 ...

Article

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 ...

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Aversi  

(Lat.)

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....

Article

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 ...

Article

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 (...

Article

Bachata  

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, ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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....

Article

Baguala  

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 ...