Melisma

From Academic Kids

In music, melisma is the technique of setting several notes to a single syllable of text. Music sung in this style is referred to as melismatic, as opposed to syllabic, where each syllable of text is matched to a single note. The term most commonly refers to Gregorian Chant, but may be used to describe music of any genre, including baroque singing and later gospel. Aretha Franklin is generally considered to be one of the better modern employers of the technique.

Melisma first appeared in written form in some genres of Gregorian Chant, with the earliest written appearance around 900 CE. where it was used in certain sections of the Mass. The gradual and the alleluia, in particular, were characteristically melismatic, for example, while the tract is not, and repetitive melodic patterns were deliberately avoided in the style. The Byzantine rite also used melismatic elements in their music, which developed roughly concurrently to the Gregorian chant.

Melisma is today commonly used by singers of popular music, such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé Knowles, and Christina Aguilera, whose heavily ornamented styles emphasize their vocal technique as a selling point of their music.

External links

References

eo:Melismo pl:Melizmat

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