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1. Prosody another word for caesura
2. Music a continuation of a note or rest beyond its normal length.
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an interruption in the flow of speech. A distinction is made between logical pauses, which are determined entirely by syntax, and rhythmic pauses, which depend not on syntax but on a rhythmic impulse. Logical pauses are encountered in all kinds of speech, and rhythmic pauses only in versified speech.

In quantitative versification (for example, the choral lyrics of the Greeks), a pause may be a structural element of a line of verse: it has a definite length and replaces a certain number of syllables of the same length. In tonic versification (for example, Russian verse), where the length of syllables is not regulated, a pause may be merely an element of demarcation in a line of verse. It denotes various obligatory word divisions (for example, at the end of a line or a caesura)—that is, it is associated not with versification but with declamation. Nonetheless, some prosodists (G. A. Shengeli, A. P. Kviatkovskii, and S. V. Shervinskii) consider it feasible to regard the pause as a structural element even in tonic verse, chiefly in the dol’nik (a Russian poetic meter).


Shengeli, G. Tekhnika stikha. Moscow, 1960.
Shervinskii, S. Khudozhestvennoe chtenie. Moscow, 1935.
Shervinskii, S. Ritm i smysl. Moscow, 1961.
Kviatkovskii, A. Poeticheskii slovar’. Moscow, 1976.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sperduto D (1995) Modificazioni cronologiche nel Cristo si e fermata a Eboli.
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In the case of 'Christus, der uns selig macht' there are no perfect cadences on the fourth degree (A minor) and the three fermata chords on A are, in fact, major, thus giving them a dominant quality (p.
On the other hand, Nazareth's custom of placing a fermata or a tenuto at key points in his polkas and tangos (even when not notated in the score, as in Nene, see below) suggests that he conceived them more as independent instrumental music than mere accessories to a choreography.
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65, with a decrescendo, a fermata, and morendo indicated.
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A composer has the power to slow down perception merely by inserting a fermata, a conductor by changing the tempo.
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by shortening the note values consistently employed), and perhaps increases it again to an even more rapid level; he may interrupt it with a fermata or a silence, and then resume the flow on one of these rhythmic planes ...