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1. (in modern prosody) a pause, esp for sense, usually near the middle of a verse line.
2. (in classical prosody) a break between words within a metrical foot, usually in the third or fourth foot of the line
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in poetry, a regular break between words in a poem.

In classical poetry, a caesura usually occurred within a foot; in accentual-syllabic verse it usually coincides with the foot ending. The caesura occurs after the second foot in the iambic pentameter line, as in “Eshche odno ∥ poslednee skazan’e” (“Yet one last tale,” Pushkin); after the third foot in iambic and trochaic hexameter lines, for example, “Dni pozdnei oseni ∥ braniat obyknovenno” (“The days of late autumn are usually cursed,” Pushkin); and occasionally after the second foot in the amphibrachic tetrameter line, as in “Gliazhu kak bezumnyi, ∥ na chernuiu shal’” (“I gaze like a madman upon the black shawl,” Pushkin). The longer the line, the greater the need for a caesura. Usually a strong intonational pause, a caesura approaches the strength of a line ending. As with a clausula, the foot preceding a caesura may by truncated or augmented; it may also rhyme, for example, “Tri u Budrysa syna, ∥ kak i on, tri litvina” (“Budrys has three sons, like him, Lithuanians,” Pushkin).



in music, a division between sections of a musical work. Together with other factors, a caesura ensures the perception of the articulation of a work and its structure. There are no special markings to indicate a caesura; in part, phrasing ligatures permit their location to be judged. In a number of instances, a caesura coincides with natural pauses between notes; they always appear after melodic and harmonic cadences, after a hold, and at transitions to a repeat. The significance, or impact, of a caesura is proportional to the scale of the sections it divides and the degree to which they appear a completed entity. In a number of instances, varying opinions concerning the location and significance of a caesura are possible; together with other features, such differences mold the distinctiveness of individual interpretations.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In a poem, spatial caesuras can create an image that may convey additional unintended information to the reader.
The stanzas of "Januarye" and "December" move much like those of "November" and "June." This is certainly true with respect to caesuras, which are centered mid-line, and to enjambed lines, which are mostly absent.
Statistical probability(13) gives us the numbers: Ennius has non-classical endings in 25% of his lines,(14) has spondees in the first foot about 60% of the time,(15) and allows a weak caesura in the third foot 10% of the time.(16) This contrasts with Cicero's practice: classical endings consistently after the Aratea, first foot spondees 30% of the time, and weak caesura in the third foot 4%.(17) The probability, then, of finding the characteristics of Furius' lines in six random lines from Ennius is: for all classical endings, .178; for a first foot dactyl at least two times out of six,(18) .179; and for no 3-weak caesura, .53.
1993PH, in defiance of practicality, introduces several small tempo changes (and caesuras) in the triple bars 331-73 (from `Hearken O daughter').
caesura or cesura plural caesuras or caesurae Late Latin, literally, the act of cutting or felling; a calque of Greek tomecaesura, literally, cutting
In support of these delineations we might observe that Mendelssohn himself seems to have been aware of several caesuras in his compositional growth, at least within the context of certain genres.
Their work importantly revealed aesthetic continuities across the political caesuras of 1933 and 1945, and between writers across the geographically and politically fragmented literary landscape of the Nazi era.
Temporal shifts and caesuras between narrative events are abrupt, unmarked, or provisory.
jokes, caesuras, enjambments fused in a burst of language
Thus we find unusual forms such as what Adamson calls "lozenges," squares of writing turned on edge to suggest abstract paintings by Mondrian; or the poem "Francis Webb 1994," which has a serpentine space running through it, as if indicating medial caesuras or alluding to Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse.
Datta experimented ceaselessly with diction and verse forms, and it was he who introduced amitraksar (a form of blank verse with run-on lines and varied caesuras), the Bengali sonnet (both Petrarchan and Shakespearean variants) and many original lyric stanzas.