One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in plainsong) a note or group of notes to be sung to a single syllable.
- ‘Comparative analysis of this neume shows that the third note is often divided into two, which would indicate that it is a long.’
- ‘For example, an accidental may appear two or more neumes prior to the modified note.’
- ‘To illustrate the development from neumes to notes, we take the Offertory Illumina, from the 10th Sunday.’
- ‘There were also ‘liquescent’ neumes - ornamental neumes that required special types of vocal delivery.’
- ‘And yet, just how and where we moved from the neume to the square note has not been studied until now.’
- 1.1 A sign indicating a neume.
- ‘The only strange-looking neumes are the slightly curved diagonal strokes, but these are not difficult.’
- ‘In the 11 th Century, the neums are placed on lines for better pitch accuracy.’
- ‘This notation, common in some form or another to all early manuscripts, consisted of staffless ‘neumes ', signs that to a certain extent indicate the contour of the melodies but not the exact intervals.’
- ‘Rhythmic letters and episemas can be attached to these elements, and will stay with the neume where it is dragged on the staff.’
- ‘If two versions of the same song can be found, then the later manuscript can be used as a ‘Rosetta Stone’ to help determine what the earlier neumes mean and how they can be interpreted.’
Late Middle English: from Old French neume, from medieval Latin neu(p)ma, from Greek pneuma ‘breath’.
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