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faburden (Eng.), fauxbourdon (Fr.), falsobordone (It.). Literally, false bass, or drone. This term has had a surprisingly large number of different applications at different periods.(1) In very early use, the acc. in parallel 3rds and 6ths of a plainsong melody.(2) In 15th cent., any added part to such a plainsong melody, both parts moving at the same rate. Apparently used especially of such passages interpolated among unison singing of the plainsong, e.g. in the psalms.(3) About the same period, also used of the same kind of liturgical singing as that mentioned under (2), but without plainsong in any of the vv. (This is sometimes spoken of as ‘free’ faburden as distinct from the previous type, spoken of as ‘strict’.)(4) A sort of chanting in which the whole of a phrase was declaimed on one chord, except that the cadence was harmonized as such. (The same mus. was used for every verse of a psalm, etc., as is done today with the Anglican Chant.)(5) Sometimes applied to a sort of monotoning.(6) A drone bass, such as that of a bagpipe.(7) In 16th- and 17th-cent. Eng. usage, sometimes applied to the ten. part of a metrical psalm tune, etc., which part then usually carried the melody.(8) A refrain to the verses of a song.(9) Nowadays (as with descant) the word is used in Brit. for a freely-written sop. part added to a hymn tune while the tune itself is sung by the ten. vv. of the ch. or by the congregation, or (more commonly in recent years) for a 4-part harmonization with the tune in the ten.—this last a revival of the old English practice.

When this word is used in old mus. treatises or in the modern mus. historical works any of the above senses may be intended. See also fauxbourdon.

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