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from St. Matthew Passion (1729) by
Johann Sebastian Bach


n. Music
1. The prolongation of a tone, chord, or rest beyond its indicated time value.
2. The sign indicating this prolongation.

[Italian, from feminine past participle of fermare, to stop, from Latin firmāre, to make firm, from firmus, firm; see dher- in Indo-European roots.]


n, pl -tas or -te (-tɪ)
(Music, other) music another word for pause5
[from Italian, from fermare to stop, from Latin firmāre to establish; see firm1]


(fɛrˈmɑ tə)

n., pl. -tas, -te (-tā). Music.
1. the sustaining of a note, chord, or rest for a duration longer than the indicated time value.
2. the symbol placed over a note, chord, or rest indicating a fermata.
[1875–80; < Italian: stop, pause, n. use of feminine past participle of fermare to stop < Latin firmāre to make firm]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.fermata - a musical notation (over a note or chord or rest) that indicates it is to be prolonged by an unspecified amount
musical notation - (music) notation used by musicians
2.fermata - (music) a prolongation of unspecified length on a note or chord or rest
protraction, lengthiness, prolongation, continuation - the consequence of being lengthened in duration
music - an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner
References in periodicals archive ?
Otherwise the differences are small: a few spots that clarify mistakes in the printed parts, and many more performance markings, like fermatas at the ends of important sections, or slurs clarifying text underlay.
I have returned to the question of the lacking "free" space--Srnka is evidently capable of building vast, "slow" musical structures at a level significantly higher than, for instance, snail tempo with a host of pretentious fermatas and meaningful pauses.
Rhythmically, students see durations of long notes or fermatas and notice graphic space during rests.
After Wittgenstein faithfully copied Strauss's "Wallfahrt" melody, fermatas included, he immediately began to realize the composer's suggestions, by drafting an assortment of highly virtuosic musical modules, seen in Illustrations 5 and 6.
Then of course there is the very distinct possibility that Chow's interpretation of the intentionally indeterminate Feldman--her marshalling of tempos and fermatas, of sound-mass and chance--was what made this piece so different, so appealing.
If there are unwritten notes and fermatas, the distributions can be obtained only with a dosimeter during performance.
silent time composed to wait, to hear fermatas and rests preceding what comes next.
Adios leccion de piano, fermatas de Sonambula, partidos de brisea y demas distracciones.
Why not stretch the fermatas and expand the flourishes?
D4 (the end of 'Illae dum pergunt'), the second of the three fermatas is missing.
Instinctively they took Beethoven seriously--not as a god, not as a fad, but as a brother who could speak for them--and it may be this attitude, rather than any particular approach to sforzandos or fermatas, that has been passed along behind the desks for the past couple of centuries.
All other editorial additions, from fermatas to figures, are indicated with square brackets, even when applied editorially to parallel passages.