musica figurata (It.), Figuralmusik (Ger.). The term has 2 meanings: (1) Contrapuntal mus. in which the various melodic strands move more or less independently, shorter notes in one v. against longer in others—as distinct from mere ‘note against note’ counterpoint; (2) Decorated melody in plainsong, etc., as distinct from the more sober type (such decorated plainsong is also known as musica colorata, coloured music).
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