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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Peschin, the manuscript also contains the Missa Carolus Imperator Romanorum for five voices, written by Johannes Lupus (circa 1506-1539), a piece that has frequently been cited as an example of a setting of a mass, in whose cantus firmus the sogetto cavatto is used in the form of sol-fa.
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.
In his book The Enduring Melody, Anglican priest Michael Mayne talks about the two strands of the cantus firmus, the enduring melody laid down by Christ himself: prayer and the Eucharist.
It is entirely conceivable that a reader may need a simple, understandable definition for "cantus firmus" just as much as they require basic information about Giacomo Carissimi.
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.
God wants us to love him eternally with our whole hearts--not in such a way as to injure or weaken our earthly love, but to provide a kind of cantus firmus to which the other melodies of life provide the counterpoint.
Not grounded in particular abilities, personal dignity derives from the fact that "every person is equidistant from Eternity." Measured against our relationship to God, "all other distinctions are radically relativized." Both terms refer to something true about human beings: the first, that we are not all equal in our abilities and usefulness to society; the second--which provides the "cantus firmus underlying and sustaining the whole" concept of dignity--that we share a common humanity.
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.
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.
Arvo Part's Annum per Annum worked quite well, with its shots of organ pipes representing a fixed theme viewed from different perspectives, as Part does musically with his cantus firmus' and a 14th century Estampie, crisply articulated by Trotter, was suitably illustrated by stylised catacombs, although they hardly reflected the music's vitality.