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date: 17 September 2019

Clausula (Lat., from claudere: ‘to close’, ‘to conclude’)locked

  • Rudolf Flotzinger


(Lat., from claudere: ‘to close’, ‘to conclude’)

A term used in medieval grammar and rhetoric in a number of senses, all denoting either the concluding of a passage, or the passage itself thus concluded. Its uses in medieval music theory apparently sprang from these, and occupy a similar range of meanings.

Throughout the 11th to 15th centuries the word ‘clausula’ may have had any of the following meanings, depending on the date of writing and the context: (1) a musical ending, in a general sense; (2) an ending specifically on the final of the mode (hence a close connection with the dual ideas of apertum–clausum (Lat.), ouvert–clos (Fr.), or half- and full close); (3) a specific melodic formula for use at a close; (4) a formal section within plainchant; (5) correspondingly, a section within a polyphonic setting of plainchant; (6) as a special case of the last, a polyphonic section that is marked out from its context by its use of a particular technique of composition....

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