canon


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canon,

in music, a type of counterpoint employing the strictest form of imitationimitation,
in music, a device of counterpoint wherein a phrase or motive is employed successively in more than one voice. The imitation may be exact, the same intervals being repeated at the same or different pitches, or it may be free, in which case numerous types of variation
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. All the voices of a canon have the same melody, beginning at different times. Successive entrances may be at the same or at different pitches. Another form of canon is the circle canon, or roundround,
in music, a perpetual canon on a tune that returns to its beginning in which all the voices enter at the unison or the octave. An example is Sumer Is Icumen In. Rounds were popular in 17th-century England when the catch reached its height.
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, e.g., Sumer Is Icumen InSumer Is Icumen In
[M.E.,=summer has (literally: is) come in], an English rota or round composed c.1250. It is the earliest extant example of canon, of six part music, and of ground bass. Four tenor voices are in canon and two bass voices sing the pes, or ground, also in canon.
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. In the 14th and 15th cent. retrograde motion was employed to form what is known as crab canon, or canon cancrizans, wherein the original melody is turned backward to become the second voice. In the 15th and 16th cent. mensuration canons were frequently written, in which the voices sing the same melodic pattern in different, but proportional, note values, i.e., to be sung at different speeds. Bach made noteworthy use of canon, particularly in the Goldberg Variations. Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schumann, and Brahms wrote canons, and Franck used the device in the last movement of his violin sonata. It is an essential device of serial musicserial music,
the body of compositions whose fundamental syntactical reference is a particular ordering (called series or row) of the twelve pitch classes—C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B—that constitute the equal-tempered scale.
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.

canon,

in Christianity, in the Roman Catholic Church, decrees of church councils are usually called canons; since the Council of Trent the expression has been especially reserved to dogmatic pronouncements of ecumenical councils. The body of ratified conciliar canons is a large part of the legislation of canon lawcanon law,
in the Roman Catholic Church, the body of law based on the legislation of the councils (both ecumenical and local) and the popes, as well as the bishops (for diocesan matters).
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. The Eucharistic central, mainly invariable part of the Mass is the canon. The term is also applied in the Western Church to certain types of priests. There are canons regular, priests living in community under a rule but not cloistered like monks; the Augustinian, or Austin, canons and the Premonstratensians are the best known of these. The priests attached to a cathedral or large church are sometimes organized into a group, or college, and called canons secular; a church having such a group is a collegiate church. A canon is also an official list, as in canonization, i.e., enrollment among the saints, and of the names of books of the Bible accepted by the church (see Old TestamentOld Testament,
Christian name for the Hebrew Bible, which serves as the first division of the Christian Bible (see New Testament). The designations "Old" and "New" seem to have been adopted after c.A.D.
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; New TestamentNew Testament,
the distinctively Christian portion of the Bible, consisting of 27 books of varying lengths dating from the earliest Christian period. The seven epistles whose authorship by St. Paul is undisputed were written c.A.D. 50–A.D.
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; ApocryphaApocrypha
[Gr.,=hidden things], term signifying a collection of early Jewish writings excluded from the canon of the Hebrew scriptures. It is not clear why the term was chosen.
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; PseudepigraphaPseudepigrapha
[Gr.,=things falsely ascribed], a collection of early Jewish and some Jewish-Christian writings composed between c.200 B.C. and c.A.D. 200, not found in the Bible or rabbinic writings.
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). Cathedral canons often have diocesan charges or pastoral duties apart from the cathedral. Canons of the Church of England are mostly cathedral canons.

Canon

 

in the fine arts, an aggregate of firmly established rules, defining for works of art the compositional and coloristic norms, the system of proportions, and the iconography that is suitable for a particular representation. The word “canon” also refers to a work that serves as a normative model. Canonical systems, the result of religious prescriptions, prevailed in ancient Oriental and medieval art (for example, the dogmatic ecclesiastical canonical patterns in icon painting). Ancient Greek, ancient Roman, and Renaissance artists attempted rationally to find ideal laws governing the proportions of the human body; they wanted to discover immutable, mathematically substantiated rules governing the creation of the human figure.


Canon

 

a form in polyphonic music based on each voice presenting the same melody, which is taken up by the next voice before the preceding one has stated it completely (the principle of strict imitation). Two- and three-part canons are most common, although four- and five-part ones are encountered. The melody in a canon can begin in each of the successive voices on the same tone as the lead voice or at any given interval.

There are various types of canon—for example, the melody in the successive voices can be augmented or diminished in all values or given in another temporal formulation, in inversion (direction of the intervals is changed), or in retrograde motion (from the last tone to the first). The double canon has two melody themes being imitated simultaneously. Circular, or infinite, canon leads back to the beginning; thus it can be repeated any number of times. Riddle canon only notes the melody and leaves the solution of its imitation to the performer.

Canon arose around the 12th century and came into extensive use in the 14th century, an era marked by the domination of polyphony; in the 15th century major works of sacred music (canonic Mass) were often built on a canonic basis. Later canon was more often an element of another form, particularly the fugue. It reached its highest level of development in the works of J. S. Bach.

Remarkable examples of canon are also found in works by Russian composers—for example the quartet “What a Wonderful Moment” from Act 1 of Ruslan and Ludmila by Glinka and the duet “The Enemies” from Act 2, Scene 2 of Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky.

REFERENCES

Taneev, S. Uchenie o kanone.Moscow, 1929.
Bogatyrev, S. Dvoinoi kanon. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.

T. F. MIULLER


Canon

 

a collection of dogmatic precepts.

(1) The biblical canon—all the books of the Bible considered by the church to be “divinely inspired” (as distinct from the Apocrypha) and used during the divine services as the “holy scriptures.” The Old Testament canon, written in Hebrew, was put together early in the second century A.D. The canon of the Old Testament in Greek translation (put together later) differs in the list of the books and their wording. The New Testament canon was determined by Athanasius of Alexandria in A.D. 367, but the disputes (especially with regard to the inclusion of the Book of Revelation) continued up to the ninth century. The canons of the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches differ with regard to the list of included books.

(2) The church canons—rules established by the church on doctrine, worship, and church organization given the force of “law” by the highest level of church authority (church councils, mainly ecumenical councils, and papal decrees).

canon

1
1. Christianity a Church decree enacted to regulate morals or religious practices
2. RC Church the complete list of the canonized saints
3. the prayer in the Mass in which the Host is consecrated
4. a list of writings, esp sacred writings, officially recognized as genuine
5. a piece of music in which an extended melody in one part is imitated successively in one or more other parts
6. a list of the works of an author that are accepted as authentic

canon

2
1. one of several priests on the permanent staff of a cathedral, who are responsible for organizing services, maintaining the fabric, etc.
2. RC Church a member of either of two religious orders, the Augustinian or Premonstratensian Canons, living communally as monks but performing clerical duties
References in classic literature ?
The canon, replying to Don Quixote, said, "In truth, brother, I know more about books of chivalry than I do about Villalpando's elements of logic; so if that be all, you may safely tell me what you please.
nephew," exclaimed the canon, "if your wife were here, you would behave more rationally.
There is, besides, an inscription, which will enable me to recognize the stone; and as I am not willing, in an affair of delicacy and confidence, to keep the secret from your honor, here is the inscription: -- `Hic jacet venerabilis, Petrus Gulielmus Scott, Canon Honorab.
Beyond these it dipped again into another canon, only to rise a quarter-mile farther on toward a pass which skirted the flank of a rocky hill.
She lived with her uncle Fulbert, a canon of the cathedral of Paris.
I looked into Pope's Odyssey yesterday: it is as correct and elegant after our canon of to-day as if it were newly written.
It was united by long tradition to the Cathedral: its headmaster was an honorary Canon, and a past headmaster was the Archdeacon.
Northward he looked along the steep canon of Broadway, down whose length at intervals crowds were assembling about excited speakers; and when he lifted his eyes he saw the chimneys and cable-stacks and roof spaces of New York, and everywhere now over these the watching, debating people clustered, except where the fires raged and the jets of water flew.
It was evident that I had spent much time following the windings of a tortuous canon, while just beyond the ridge lay the city of Phutra near to which I must have come several times.
Far, far down I saw a small brown blotch near the bottom of the canon.
Steadily it ascended toward the mountains, into which they filed through a narrow canon close to noon.
By eleven he was at the foot of White Horse, and that night saw him camped beyond the Box Canon, the last bad river-stretch behind him, the string of lakes before him.