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berceuse

[French ber-sœz] /French bɛrˈsœz/
noun, plural berceuses
[French ber-sœz] /French bɛrˈsœz/ (Show IPA).
Music.
1.
a cradlesong; lullaby.
2.
a composition for instrument or voice, having a soothing, reflective character.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80; < French, equivalent to berc(er) to rock + -euse -euse
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for berceuse

berceuse

/French bɛrsøz/
noun
1.
a cradlesong or lullaby
2.
an instrumental piece suggestive of this, in six-eight time
Word Origin
C19: from French: lullaby, from bercer to rock
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for berceuse
n.

"cradle song," 1876, from French berceuse "cradle-song, woman who rocks an infant," from bercer "to rock" (Old French bercier "to rock" a child in a cradle, 12c.) + fem. agent suffix -euse.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for berceuse

musical composition, typically of the 19th century, having the character of a soothing refrain. While the word appears to imply no particular formal pattern, rocking rhythms in 68 time are common not only in the vocal prototype but also in its stylized instrumental counterparts, usually written for piano. A well-known example of the latter is Frederic Chopin's Berceuse in D-flat Major (1843-44), with its elaborate figurations above a static, repetitive pattern in the left hand

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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