Definition of agogic in English:



  • Relating to or denoting an accent produced by lengthening the time value of a note.

    • ‘What is new is the agogic and dynamic stress on the E, the weakest note of the C major triad, in bar 4.’
    • ‘Pairs generally include pieces of contrasting mood and agogic character, while larger groups offer more intricate narratives.’
    • ‘In addition, a trend in the response criteria relates to the concept of agogic accents in music - that is, the creation of a sense of accenting through the manipulation the timing of notes.’
    • ‘Riemann published editions of standard keyboard works in which agogic accents were marked with the sign ^.’

plural noun

  • [usually treated as singular] The use of agogic accents.

    • ‘Hugo Riemann argues that without agogics music would be ‘machinelike’, and Wagner asserts that music would be ‘colourless and lifeless’ if played strictly as written.’
    • ‘Dynamics and agogics have virtually no significance; each intensification happens more or less on its own accord, without any perceptible outside stimulus.’
    • ‘By contrast it's Fiorentino who mines the heroic in Eroica whilst Hatto exploits little agogics in the score to hint at the wit within.’
    • ‘Demidenko fusses around with agogics and tempo fluctuation to the point where the music's unity and cumulative power fall by the wayside.’
    • ‘Three particularly instructive excerpts will be considered, and in each case Clynes’ very special agogics will be contrasted with that of one other pianist.’


Late 19th century: coined in German from Greek agōgos leading from agein to lead + -ic.