American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The drone pipe of a bagpipe.
- n. The bass string, as of a violin.
- n. An organ stop, commonly of the 16-foot pipes, medium in scale but with dark timbre.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A staff used by pilgrims in the middle ages.
- n. A baton or cantoral staff.
- n. A plain thick silver wand used as a badge of office.
- n. A lance used in the just. See lance.
- n. In heraldry, a pilgrim's staff used as a bearing.
- n. In music: The drone of a bagpipe, or a monotonous and repetitious ground-melody. See burden.
- n. An organ-stop, usually of 16-feet tone, the pipes of which are generally made of wood, and produce hollow, smooth tones, deficient in harmonics and easily blended with other tones.
- In music, to drone, as an instrument during a pause in singing.
- n. In the hurdy-gurdy, the lowest open string, usually tuned to the C below middle C or to the G below that.
- n. music, archaic The burden or bass of a melody.
- n. The drone pipe of a bagpipe.
- n. The lowest-pitched stop of an organ.
- n. The lowest-pitched bell of a carillon.
- n. A large, low-pitched bell not part of a diatonically tuned ring of bells.
- n. A bumblebee.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A pilgrim's staff.
- n. A drone bass, as in a bagpipe, or a hurdy-gurdy. See burden (of a song.)
- n. A kind of organ stop.
- n. a pipe of the bagpipe that is tuned to produce a single continuous tone
- From Old French bourdon. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English burdoun, bass, from Old French bourdon. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“In regard to the word bourdon, why it has been applied to a pilgrim's staff, it is not easy to guess.”
“Pierre IV, who associated himself with Pierre de Clerck (a cousin german), made the great "bourdon" called Salvator.”
“Before us was the "bourdon," so called, weighing 2,200 pounds, the bronze monster upon which the bass note was sounded, and which sounded the hour over the level fields of Flanders.”
“The designation ‘faux bourdon’, or one of its variants, was usually placed in either the discantus or the tenor part – more often the latter, especially in the earlier years, perhaps because the tenor directed the ensemble; it might also appear in both parts, or elsewhere on the page.”
“‘Faux bourdon’, though not in itself a mandatory canonic instruction, is therefore a kind of trademark that tells the performers that they may increase the sonority of the music by adding one or two canonically derived parts.”
“The words ‘faux bourdon’ were often preceded by the preposition ‘à’ or ‘per’, sometimes ‘au’ even ‘aux’ or ‘in’; the expression might also be shortened to ‘per faulx’ or ‘per bardunum’.”
“Ax 'et malou vont bientot mourir et ca me fout le bourdon alors voila quoi ...”
“The Firvulag throng was now almost out of control, straining close to the platform on their side of the field and making an uproar of derisive twitters, growls, and a deep bourdon drone of humming that now reached a crescendo of maddening whole-tone intervals.”
“It contains some of the finest 16th-century masterpieces, ranging from the "_faux-bourdon_" style of Tallis's _Pieces and Responses_ to the most developed types of full anthem.”
“The cornemuse or chalemie used by shepherds, and as a solo instrument (see fig. 1 (1)), was similar to the Highland bag-pipe; it consisted of a leather bag, inflated by means of a valved blow-pipe; a large drone (_gros bourdon_) 2½ ft. long included the beating-reed, which measured 2½ in., and was fixed in the stock; the small drone (_petit bourdon_), 1 ft. in length including a reed”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘bourdon’.
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