Mordent |
Music Terms

Mordent |

Dictionary categories
terms and concepts

ital. mordente, lit. – biting, sharp; French mordant, pince, engl. mordent, beat, German. Mordent

Melodic decoration, which consists in the rapid alternation of the main sound with the upper or lower auxiliary sound adjacent to it in height; a type of melisma, akin to a trill. Simple M., indicated by the sign

, consists of 3 sounds: the main melodic. a sound separated from it by a tone or semitone of the upper auxiliary and repeating main:

Crossed out M.

also consists of 3 sounds, the first and last of which are the main ones, but between them lies not the upper, but the lower auxiliary:

Double M.

consists of 5 sounds: double alternation of the main and upper auxiliary sound with a stop on the main one:

Double crossed out M.

in structure it is similar to the uncrossed one, but the lower one is taken as an auxiliary in it:

M. is performed due to the time of the decorated sound. The performance of M. on keyboard instruments can be similar to the performance of acciaccatura melisma, that is, both sounds can be taken simultaneously, after which the auxiliary is immediately removed, while the main one is maintained.

M. arose in the 15-16 centuries, in the 17-18 centuries. became one of the most common instr. melisma music. In the music of that time, the performance of M. – simple, double, and sometimes triple – depended not so much on the designation, but on the muses. context. There was no complete unity in the ways of indicating which one would help. sound – upper or lower – should be taken in M. Some composers used for M. with upper auxiliary. sound designation

, and for M. with a lower auxiliary – the designation

. The very term “M.” sometimes extended to other types of melismas—double grace note, gruppetto—on the condition that they were performed quickly and not sung (L. Mozart in The Violin School—Violinschule, 1756). Often, special terms denoted melismas very close to M., for example. incomplete trill (German Praltriller, Schneller).

References: see under Melisma’s article.

V. A. Vakhromeev

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