Cantus Firmus

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cantus Firmus

 

a melody borrowed from any secular or religious work or specially created and used as the basis for a polyphonic musical composition. The method of cantus firmus developed in Western European music in the 12th century, became particularly widespread in the 16th, and began losing its importance in the 17th.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
I believe that when other `foreign' cantus firmi in superius parts are identified they will be found to share the same variety of treatment as their equivalents in tenor parts.
The editor points out that examples of word-painting are fewer in the five-, six- and seven-part motets than in the four-part ones of the earlier collection; the reason could be that, writing there for fewer voices, Maillard was not unduly hampered by cantus firmi (p.
His publications of chant books and his building of Masses on chant cantus firmi make Cardoso an exemplary servant of the church who happened - to look at it in thoroughly 20th-century terms - to be living in the very late Renaissance.
On compositions from the Low Countries based on multiple cantus firmi, see M.
Macey provides references to the modern editions of these excluded works in the endnotes to the edition's introduction, and excerpts and cantus firmi from these motets appear as musical examples in Bonfire Songs.
The appendixes include all of the cantus firmi that Carver used in his Masses, plus a critical commentary and the texts and English translations of the two motets.
Local chant traditions, peculiar to one parish or diocese, can be identified in the cantus firmi of many polyphonic settings, as Anne Walters Robertson and Jennifer Bloxam demonstrate in their contributions on Machaut and Obrecht.
Haar also investigates Lasso's musical treatment of cantus firmi, distinguishing between a traditional approach, in which the cantus firmus determines the overall structure of the motet, and a newer approach, in which the cantus firmus is adjusted to fit the surrounding counterpoint.
Appendixes provide plainsongs used as cantus firmi, brief descriptions and bibliographies for each source, and a thorough textual commentary.