Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

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Christof Schardt
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Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by Christof Schardt »

Several notes sung over over a single Syllable is referred to as Melisma.
But what about the opposite, i.e. several words written under a single note?
Is there a coined term too?
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David Ward
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by David Ward »

I don't think there's a single universally recognized term, but rather several more or less efficient ways of describing this. eg Instead of ‘several words written under a single note’ one might say ‘multiple syllables per note’ &c. I may be wrong (although I've certainly written such multiple syllables from time to time).
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Schonbergian
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by Schonbergian »

I'm not sure what the utility of this term would be either way, since the custom is to give each syllable its own note (even if it remains at the same pitch), except for certain languages where syllables are elided as a linguistic rather than musical feature.

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David Ward
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by David Ward »

Schonbergian wrote:
16 Dec 2020, 05:22
I'm not sure what the utility of this term would be either way, since the custom is to give each syllable its own note (even if it remains at the same pitch), except for certain languages where syllables are elided as a linguistic rather than musical feature.
In the vocal score of mine from 1984 shown in the scan I might have used lines of unbeamed semiquavers (or similar) for the free recitative, but chose to have multiple syllables on one note, a notation that has certainly been used at least as early as in the nineteenth century. In my case it was understood immediately by all concerned.

Here is a clip of the eight minute scene, which has several instances of this notation https://composers-uk.com/davidward/wp-c ... r-Girl.mp3 It is sung in this 1984 recording by Tessa Cahill and Bessie Bainbridge with the London Sinfonietta conducted by Howard Williams.

Bessie Bainbridge is now 90. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Bainbridge Time flies! (But then I'm due to be 80 in February.)
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teacue
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by teacue »

Christof Schardt wrote:
15 Dec 2020, 17:28
Several notes sung over over a single Syllable is referred to as Melisma.
But what about the opposite, i.e. several words written under a single note?
Is there a coined term too?
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Christof Schardt
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by Christof Schardt »

Thanks for all the suggestions an comments. My application case is the notation of christian-orthodox church music.
The reason for me to look for a single term is profane: PriMus 2.0 will support this notation easier and better and for that it would be helpful to have a short term rather than a longer phrase, helpful for programming as well as documenting.
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OCTO
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by OCTO »

Christof Schardt wrote:
16 Dec 2020, 14:48
My application case is the notation of christian-orthodox church music.
:)

Since the notation will be entered using computers, the tool we use is the non-break space and the non-break tab. But it would be so musically awkward to say "non-break text notation"...

I have briefly tried to find that term in "Byzantine Music" by Egon Wellesz without explicite result, but there are several symbols that represent single-tone chant. One of them is "ison", but it strictly means one held tone (very long). I don't know if coining a term "isonic chant" is a good one, perhaps some orthodox musicians could be confused. The symbol for the equal, "ison" tone is 𝁆 (Unicode U+1D046).
It could be also called as "prosodic chant" or "prosody" (somehow different in the theory of language/speech).
I may also ask an expert in the orthodox church music.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by John Ruggero »

This may be an opportunity to invent a new musical term. "Reciting-tone"? Of existing terms, teacue's suggestion of "parlando" comes close.
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benwiggy
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by benwiggy »

John Ruggero wrote:
17 Dec 2020, 13:12
This may be an opportunity to invent a new musical term. "Reciting-tone"?
That's a fairly well established term. Recitation would do equally well.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Term for the opposite of 'Melisma'

Post by John Ruggero »

benwiggy wrote:
19 Dec 2020, 22:38
John Ruggero wrote:
17 Dec 2020, 13:12
This may be an opportunity to invent a new musical term. "Reciting-tone"?
That's a fairly well established term. Recitation would do equally well.
In which case, Christof may have the term he needs.
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