quodlibet

quodlibet

[kwod-luh-bet]
noun
1.
a subtle or elaborate argument or point of debate, usually on a theological or scholastic subject.
2.
Music. a humorous composition consisting of two or more independent and harmonically complementary melodies, usually quotations of well-known tunes, played or sung together, usually to different texts, in a polyphonic arrangement.

Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin quodlibetum; compare Latin quod libet what pleases, as you please

quodlibetic, quodlibetical, adjective
quodlibeticlly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
quodlibet (ˈkwɒdlɪˌbɛt)
 
n
1.  a light piece of music based on two or more popular tunes
2.  a subtle argument, esp one prepared as an exercise on a theological topic
 
[C14: from Latin, from quod what + libet pleases, that is, whatever you like]
 
quodli'betical
 
adj
 
quodli'betically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

quodlibet
"a nicety, subtlety," late 14c., from L., lit. "what you will," from quod "what" + libet "it pleases" (see love).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

quodlibet

musical composition in which several well-known melodies are combined, either simultaneously or, less frequently, sequentially, for humorous effect. Quodlibet can also refer to an amalgamation of different song texts in a vocal composition. While simultaneous combinations of two or more melodies go back to the 13th century (motets using, for example, a chant melody and a secular tune), quodlibets were especially popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. In Germany numerous instances are found in manuscript collections of polyphonic (multipart) songs. An English example is the Cries of London by Orlando Gibbons. Perhaps the best-known quodlibet is the finale of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations for harpsichord (published 1742). Terms related to quodlibet technique include fricassee (French: "hash"), ensalada (Spanish: "salad"), centone (Italian: "patchwork"), and, in later centuries, medley and potpourri.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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