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Musica figuralis
(93 words)

[German Version]

Musica figuralis, a term introduced in 16th-century German treatises distinguishing mensurally notated (often polyphonic) music (musica figuralis) from equally-measured monophonic chant (musica choralis). Treatises covered mensuration (the measurement of the length of the tone) only after treating pitch and its notation. The term musica figurata, also translated as “figural music,” distinguishes the complex rhythmic textures of the early Netherlands school (e.g. J. Ockeghem) from the simpler rhythmic textures (musica reservata) of later composers (…

Cite this page
Flynn, William, “Musica figuralis”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 10 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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