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or mordant

[mawr-dnt] /ˈmɔr dnt/
noun, Music.
a melodic embellishment consisting of a rapid alternation of a principal tone with the tone a half or a whole step below it, called single or short when the auxiliary tone occurs once and double or long when this occurs twice or more.
Origin of mordent
1800-10; < German < Italian mordente biting < Latin mordent-, stem of mordēns, present participle of mordēre to bite; see -ent Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mordent
Historical Examples
  • When executing the mordent, is not the use of three fingers preferable to two?

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
  • The last note of the mordent should be accented in this case.

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
  • Running over the leaves he came to the illustrations of the mordent.

  • Running over the leaves, he came to the illustrations of the mordent.

  • mordent, mor′dent, n. a kind of trill in music, or the character indicating it.

  • Never was there such gilding of the lily, such painstaking practice of trill and mordent.

    Basil Everman Elsie Singmaster
  • And he tightened his arms round her, happy once more for a mordent in this environment of a perfect love.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • The selection of the fingers for the execution of a mordent depends always upon the preceding notes or keys which lead up to it.

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
  • The mordent must be played fast enough to preserve the rhythmic integrity of the melody-note.

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
British Dictionary definitions for mordent


(music) a melodic ornament consisting of the rapid alternation of a note with a note one degree lower than it Also called lower mordent
Word Origin
C19: from German, from Italian mordente, from mordere to bite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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