Figure (music)

a figure is more melodischer an elementary, expressive musical idiom, the not obligatory and/or. melismatischer nature is, but also a satztechnische structure to possess can. It has a special relationship with the Rhetorik as deklamatorische sentence art. It plays an important role with the development of the Madrigals and the music drama and are to be added to the expression art.

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figure teachings

the figure teachings designated in (Germans) the music theory 17. and 18. Century the summary of certain musical idioms to catalogs of so-called musical-rhetoricalFigures, whose designation was oriented to the traditional Rhetorik, as either directly originally rhetorical terms for musical idioms were taken over or own names were invented to originate the appearance arouse should from the Rhetorik. During the Vertonung of texts (Madrigal, opera) were again and again offences against the rules of the counterpoint arisen, which were justified by the demand, to represent by it the sense content of the text in music. This kompositorischen remarkablenesses was systematically seized and occupied with terms, which came of the range to the view at that time of the musical language similar Rhetorik. Extent,Contents and motivation of these figure catalogs are different depending upon author. A uniform tradition of the musical-rhetorical figures did not exist. All authors by music-theoretical works, in those musical figure teachings one mentions to originate from Germany.

The term figura (Latin for figure, in the music also note) musical decreases/goes back indication, that on whole note and groups of indications to the designation of a single.

The first music theoreticians, who sat down apart with systematics of the musical figures, were Joachim Burmeister (Hypomnematum musicae poeticae, 1599), Musica autoschediastike, 1601), Johanne Nucius (Musices poeticae, 1613), Athanasius Kircher (Musurgia universalis, 1650).


gives over 150 rhetorical figures. In the following are to be stated some the most important:

  • Abruptio (lat. Break): sudden abort of the sentence.
  • Apokope im Wort „fürchtet“ in Sopran I, II und Tenor
    Apokope in the word „is afraid “in Sopran I, II andTenor
    Apokope (gr. apokopé, cutting, Weglassung off) or Abruptio (lat. Break): sudden abort of a melody or a sentence.
  • Anabasis (gr. Ascent) or Ascensus (lat. Ascent): a upward-prominent musical line.
  • Catabasis (gr. Descent) or Descensus (lat. Descent): a downward-prominent musical line for the underlining of the degradation.
  • Circulatio (lat. circulus, circle, ring): circular figure, which is to express a circular, encircling movement.
  • Exclamatio (lat. Call): a rising large sixth.
  • Homoioteleuton (gr. hómoios, similarly, gr. teleute, ends) or Homoioptoton (gr.): a general break, those in dialogues and with questions toExcitation was used by attention.
  • Noema (gr.): a homophoner section in a polyp-hone piece for the emphasis of a passage in the text.
  • Pathopoeia (gr. pathos, suffering, gr. poíesis, education): Affekte (wrong or passion) excite leader director/conductor of tones as text-referred figures. Example: Passage duriusculus, one chromatically up ordescending line, usually in the area of a Quarte („Lamentobass “), unusual steps (large second), or Saltus duriusculus, more largely, unusually, usually falling jump (decreased Quarte, decreased Quinte, small seventh), which represents „falsehood “.
  • Suspiratio (lat. suspiritus, sighing, Ächzen) or Stenasmos (gr. stenós, closely): the musical line is interrupted by eighth or Sechzehntelpausen.

However not all musical figures were designated by their own term. Thus Hypotyposis means (gr. hypó, under; gr. typos, form, shape) with Burmeister any figure, which the meaning of theText clarifies.

see also


  • Dietrich Bartel, manual of the musical figure teachings (1985), Laaber publishing house
  • Wolfgang Buddy, musical figures as satztechnische liberties in brook Orgelchoral „by Adam's case is completely spoil “, in brook yearbook, 63. Class 1977, S. 139 FF publisher Hans Joachim Schulze and Christian Wolff, Evangelist publishing house Berlin
  • roll ago dry, language and music - history, kinds, analysis models, bear rider publishing house Kassel, 1994, ISBN 3-7618-1153-5
  • Ulrich Michels, dtv Atlas to the music, volume 2, historical part: From the baroque to the present, GermanPaperback publishing house Munich, 1985;ISBN 3-423-03023-2

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