fauxbourdon

fauxbourdon

[foh-ber-don; French foh-boor-dawn]
noun
1.
Music. a 15th-century compositional technique employing three voices, the upper and lower voices progressing an octave or a sixth apart while the middle voice extemporaneously doubles the upper part at a fourth below.
2.
the use of progressions of parallel sixth chords.

Origin:
1875–80; < French: literally, false bourdon

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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fauxbourdon

musical texture prevalent during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, produced by three voices proceeding primarily in parallel motion in intervals corresponding to the first inversion of the triad. Only two of the three parts were notated, a plainchant melody together with the lowest voice a sixth below (as e below c'); occasional octaves (as c-c') occurred as well. The middle part was realized by the singer at the interval of a fourth below the plainchant melody (as g below c'). The result was a particularly "sweet" sound in contrast to the mixture of passing dissonants and open sonorities favoured in earlier music.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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