Ornamentation

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Ornamentation

Any adjunct or detail used to adorn, decorate, or embellish the appearance or general effect of an object.

Ornamentation

 

the embellishment of vocal and instrumental melodies. Originally, the embellishment of a melody with supplementary melodic figurations was introduced by a performer in the form of improvisation. Gradually, standard types of embellishments developed, which were indicated in the music by the composer himself. Ornamentation was developed particularly in French harpsichord music, where, to compensate for the quickly fading sounds characteristic of the harpsichord, embellishments served to prolong tones. A prominent role in the development of vocal ornamentation was played by Italian opera.

Short melodic embellishments are called melismata and include the Vorschlag, mordent, gruppetto, and trill. Melismata are denoted in the music by small notes or special signs. The most developed embellishments include melodic figuration, fioriture, virtuoso passaggi, and coloraturas.

REFERENCES

Iurovskii, A. [Introduction.] In the collection Frantsuzskaia klavesinnaia muzyka. Moscow, 1934.
Beyschlag, A. Die Ornamentik der Musik, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1953.