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"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.
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