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cantus firmus


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(Lat.).

Fixed song. A melody, usually taken from plainsong, used by composers in 14th–17th cents. as the basis of a polyphonic comp. and against which other tunes are set in counterpoint. Also, in 16th cent., the upper v.‐line of a choir. Sometimes referred to as canto fermo. See conductus.

Subjects: Music.


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