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date: 12 July 2020

Faburden [faburdon, faburthon, fabourden, faberthon etc.]locked

  • Brian Trowell


[faburdon, faburthon, fabourden, faberthon etc.]

A style of improvised polyphony particularly associated with English music of the 15th century, related to but independent of Fauxbourdon.

The term ‘faburden’ originally designated the lowest voice in an English technique of polyphonic vocal improvisation that enabled a group of soloists or a choir to sing at sight a three-part harmonization of plainchant, derived from the notes of the chant itself. It flourished from about 1430 or earlier until the time of the Reformation. The highly schematic formula used led to chains of what would now be called 6-3 chords, punctuated by occasional 8-5 chords (particularly at the beginnings and ends of phrases and words). The plainchant was thought of as the mean or middle voice, from which the other two parts were derived, although of course the chant was also present in the treble, which doubled it at the upper 4th while the bottom part sang 5ths or 3rds beneath it. The singers apparently declaimed the words simultaneously in the normal rhythm of plainchant. Ends of phrases were slightly ornamented, probably from quite early on, to provide satisfactory cadential suspensions; it is unlikely, at least in choral performance, that general ornamentation was introduced....

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