cantus firmus

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can·tus fir·mus

 (kăn′təs fîr′məs, fûr′-)
A preexisting melody used as the basis of a polyphonic composition, especially in polyphony of the 1300s and 1400s.

[Medieval Latin : Latin cantus, song + Latin firmus, fixed.]

can•tus fir•mus

(ˈkæn təs ˈfɜr məs)
n., pl. cantus firmus.
2. a fixed melody to which other voices are added, typically in polyphonic treatment.
[1840–50; < Medieval Latin: literally, firm song]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cantus firmus - a melody used as the basis for a polyphonic composition
Gregorian chant, plainchant, plainsong - a liturgical chant of the Roman Catholic Church
References in periodicals archive ?
Although these works contain many of the musical styles associated with the Neumeister-type sacred cantata, and were performed interchangeably with that kind of concerted music in church services, Poetzsch is careful to identify these five works as chorale arrangements (Choralbearbeitungen), since the composer sets every verse of the hymns, and their chorale melodies are consistently featured as a cantus firmus in each movement.
Bridget Riley's Cantus Firmus 1972-73 is instantly recognisable as a Riley, as the eyes start to blur, and Peter Davies's Small Touching Squares Painting is made up of lots of tiny blobs of colour which shows admirable sticking power.
Just as in Salisbury the elaborate triforium and the vault that springs from it--the expression of heaven above--is carried on the cathedral's sober nave with its shafted, but plain, columns, so the plainsong cantus firmus on which Sheppard's composition is based is carried in slow notes in the bass voice, while above it two altos, two means and two high trebles weave an elaborate imitative structure which echoes the soaring ribs of the vault above.
The question of authority, like a cantus firmus, binds different issues together.
Readers not thoroughly familiar with the ideas and content of those specific works will find it difficult to appreciate the full significance of the argument but the cantus firmus of Luther's thought is readily apparent throughout.
Nor is there any documented trace of Jewish cantorial style in Beckmesser's serenade; the music is markedly Germanic in its outlines, and Wagner thought enough of it to use it as the cantus firmus for the immense finale to Act II that involves every character in the opera.
In these ever-changing times, Mark Bangert has provided both the cantus firmus and the grace notes to the church's song and meal--and still provides them.
Some of Scheidemann's finest works are his chorale arrangements and Magnificat settings, which use the cantus firmus technique or imitation.
Die bekende Rumi-strofe "Lovers don't finally meet somewhere / They're in each other all along" kan met reg beskou word as die cantus firmus van Banoobhai se nuutste bundel.
The choral quality of No Quarto is amplified in Youth, the many voices of the sad and dispossessed who tell Ventura their tales something like primitive polyphony whose cantus firmus is Ventura's oft-repeated tune about what he would do to entice Clotilde back.
The work is based on a melodic line, a series of harmonies and a specific theme using cantus firmus and talea (composing techniques).
If we pay this debt "to all the books we read--whether they be friends, foes, or neighbors--we provide for ourselves what Bonhoeffer calls the cantus firmus, the ground [of eternal love for God and His creation] over which variations can be elaborated and developed" (67).