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Accentus

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Accentus

Dominican Missal, c. 1240, giving a portion of the Accentus (Historical Museum of Lausanne).

Accentus (or Accentus Ecclesiasticus; Ecclesiastical accent) is a style of church music that emphasizes spoken word. It is often contrasted with concentus, an alternative style that emphasizes harmony. The terms accentus and concentus were probably introduced by Andreas Ornithoparchus in his Musicae Activae Micrologus, Leipzig, 1517.[1][2] "Concentus might be chief ruler over all things that are sung...and Accentus over all things that are read," according to Ornithoparchus.[3]

In the medieval church, all that portion of the liturgical song which was performed by the entire musical instrument.

There were originally seven types of Accentus Ecclesiasticus, depending on how the voice should be inflected at the punctuation marks ending phrases or sentences. In accentus immutabilis, the voice remains at the same tone; in accentus medus it falls by a third at a colon; in accentus gravis it falls by a fifth at a period; in accentus actus it falls by a third and returns to the original tone at a comma; in accentus moderatus it rises by a second and returns to the original tone at a comma; in accentus interrogata it falls by a second and returns to the original tone at a question mark; and in accentus finalis, it rises by a second and then falls stepwise to a fourth below the original tone at the end.[4]

References

  1. ^ Apel, Willi, ed. Harvard Dictionary of Music, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1972.
  2. ^ Musical forms Ernst Pauer - 1878 ECCLESIASTICAL ACCENT.* "In Plain-song, the term 'accent' or accentus ecclesiasticus was used to designate that system of movement of the voice, by learning the principles of which (modus legendi choraliter) a chanter could read ...
  3. ^ William Smith, Samuel Cheetham, Encyclopaedic Dictionary Of Christian Antiquities, "Accentus ecclesiasticus", p. 11. Concept Publishing Company, 2005
  4. ^ W. L. Hubbard (1908). "accentus ecclesiastici". Musical Dictionary. Irving Squire. p. 9.  (Digital edition by Google Books; also republished 2006 by Adamant Media as ISBN 0-543-90764-3.)

 

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