canon(redirected from cañon)
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canon, in Christianity
canon, in music
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.
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.
REFERENCESTaneev, S. Uchenie o kanone.Moscow, 1929.
Bogatyrev, S. Dvoinoi kanon. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
T. F. MIULLER
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).