paraphrase(redirected from paraphrasis)
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(1) In literature, the retelling of a literary work in one’s own words; also, an abridged exposition, or adaptation, of a long literary work, such as a children’s edition of Cervantes’ Don Quixote or Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. The term was also used to designate the rendering of a prose text into verse. An example is Three Paraphrased Odes (1743, published 1744), three versified renderings of the 143rd Psalm by V. K. Tredia-kovskii, M. V. Lomonosov, and A. P. Sumarokov. The aim of this work was to ascertain which verse meter was most appropriate for the high style. Some linguists consider paraphrase a synonym for periphrasis.
(2) In music, a term widely used in the 19th century for a virtuoso instrumental fantasia, usually for piano, based on themes from such sources as popular songs and operatic arias. These themes often undergo considerable change. Most paraphrases are classed with light music. A number of masterly paraphrases were composed by F. Liszt, such as those based on themes from Verdi’s opera Rigoletto and on the polka from Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin.