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Arabesque(i) (Ger. Arabeske)locked

  • Maurice J.E. Brown
  •  and Kenneth L. Hamilton


A term, apparently introduced into Europe during the Moorish conquest of Spain, first applied to architecture and painting to describe an ornamental frieze or border, whose elaborations, foliate and curlicued, have their counterparts in music in ornamentation and complex figuration. In music the term has been implied in, if not applied to, three musical devices: (1) the contrapuntal decoration of a basic theme, e.g. the obbligato to the chorus ‘Jesus bleibet meine Freude’ in Bach’s Cantata no.147, ...

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