pedal point

pedal point

noun Music.
1.
a tone sustained by one part, usually the bass, while other parts progress without reference to it.
2.
a passage containing it.
Also called organ point, pedal note.


Origin:
1875–80

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World English Dictionary
pedal point (ˈpɛdəl)
 
n
music Often shortened to: pedal a sustained bass note, over which the other parts move bringing about changing harmonies

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

pedal point

in music, a tone sustained through several changes of harmony that may be consonant or dissonant with it; in instrumental music it is typically in the bass. The name originates from the technique of prolonging a tone on the pedal keyboard of the organ; hence the occasional use, chiefly in England, of the synonym organ point. The pedal point is to a certain extent a harmonic focus, but only pedal points on the tonic and dominant notes (i.e., on the first and fifth notes of the scale) actually have harmonic value

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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