Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A melodic ornament in which a principal tone is rapidly alternated with the tone a half or full step below.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ornament consisting of a single alternation between a given pitch, and the one immediately below it

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music:

Etymologies

German, from Italian mordente, from mordere, to bite, from Vulgar Latin *mordere, from Latin mordēre; see mer- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Editors 'Note: In reply to a letter from Sol Babitz in the November 5 issue of the NYR ” in which, owing to an editorial slip, the word "mordent" was misspelled ” Stanley Kauffmann writes:

    Mordents & Pralltrillers

  • But most importantly, it acts as a mordent, making the color permanent and a little shiny.

    Jacobo Angeles: A rich wood-carving tradition in Oaxaca, dating to pre-Hispanic times

  • Dum contumelia vacant et festiva lenitate mordent, mediocres animi aegritudines sanari solent, &c. 3498.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • The American College Dictionary defines a pralltriller as "an inverted mordent."

    Mordents & Pralltrillers

  • A New Dictionary of Music by Arthur Jacobs says: "These two [ornaments] are sometimes called respectively inverted mordent and just mordent; and in German Mordent means only the second, the first being called Pralltriller."

    Mordents & Pralltrillers

  • In the case of both mordent and double-mordent the tones are sounded as quickly as possible, the time taken by the embellishment being subtracted from the value of the principal note as printed.

    Music Notation and Terminology

  • When the sign ([turn symbol] or [fancy turn symbol]) occurs over a note of small value in rapid tempo (Fig. 45) the turn consists of four tones of equal value; but if it occurs over a note of greater value, or in a slow tempo, the tones are usually played quickly (like the mordent), and the fourth tone is then held until the time-value of the note has expired.

    Music Notation and Terminology

  • The _mordent_ [mordent symbol] consists of three tones; first the one represented by the printed note; second the one next below it in the diatonic scale; third the one represented by the printed note again.

    Music Notation and Terminology

  • The _inverted mordent_ [inverted mordent symbol] (note the absence of the vertical line) is like the mordent except that the tone below is replaced by the tone above in each case.

    Music Notation and Terminology

  • The _double (or long) mordent_ has five tones (sometimes seven) instead of three, the first two of the three tones of the regular mordent being repeated once or more.

    Music Notation and Terminology

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.