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canto fermo

/ ˈkæntəʊ ˈfɜːməʊ; ˈkæntəs ˈfɜːməs /

noun

  1. a melody that is the basis to which other parts are added in polyphonic music
  2. the traditional plainchant as prescribed by use and regulation in the Christian Church


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Word History and Origins

Origin of canto fermo1

Italian, from Medieval Latin, literally: fixed song

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Example Sentences

Choral music in all ages has tended to consist largely of counterpoint on a canto fermo (see Contrapuntal Forms).

In the very sound of it there is a canto fermo; it proceeds as by a chant.

In the simplest cases the Canto Fermo has notes of equal length and is unbroken in flow.

In life we have destiny from which there is no escape; in counterpoint we have the canto fermo of which not a note may be altered.

The morning service closed at half-past one with a hymn in canto fermo.

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