breve / brēv; brev/ • n. 1. a musical note, rarely used in modern music, having the time value of two semibreves or whole notes. 2. a written or printed mark ( ˘ ) indicating a short or unstressed vowel.
breve (). Double whole-note. Formerly the short note of mus., but as the longer notes have fallen into disuse and shorter ones been introduced it has become the longest (twice the length of the semibreve or whole-note). alla breve means (it is not clear why) ‘Take the minim as your beat-unit’ (the same effect may be indicated by the time-signature 2/2, or , or sometimes 4/2). Still occurs in vocal mus., but rarely in instr. scores where it has been replaced by 2 tied whole-notes.
breve ME. breve (XIII), var. of BRIEF in various senses; (mus.) orig. the shortest note of the series large, long, breve (XV), after medL. brevis; in mod. usage (XVII), after It. breve, note equal to two semibreves, the longest now used.
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