Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Ostinato
(720 words)

1. Concept

The Italian term ostinato (from the Latin obstinatus, “stubborn”) first occurs in writings on music theory in the late 17th century (Angelo Berardi, Documenti armonici, 1687), and at first it denoted recurrent, melodically identical sequences of notes (sometimes varying in rhythm) that appeared within individual counterpoint voices. The word accordingly appeared mostly as part of the synonymous Italian expressions contrapunto ostinato and contrapunto obligato. In Spain, the equivalent term was passo força…

Cite this page
Noeske, Nina, “Ostinato”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 18 October 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_025165>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200721



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