Organum
(OR-gah-num)


[Lat., any musical instrument, the organ in particular]


Term referring to the earliest kind of polyphonic music. Organum developed from the practice of adding voices above a plainchant (cantus firmus); these added voices at first ran parallel to the plainchant at an interval of a fourth or fifth. Later they began to move about more freely. Organum was in use from about the 12th through the 13th centuries.


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