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Musical style of 13th-century France. The term was derived retrospectively to distinguish 13th-century music from that of the 14th century (Ars Nova). It is partly characterized by use of the six rhythmic modes, each being a rhythmic pattern that would recur throughout a piece, such as long-short (first mode) or short-long (second). Akin to the feet of poetry (seeprosody), the relative lengths of long and short depended on the mode. The system broke down as composers began to use subdivisions of the short note. The musical genres of the Ars Antiqua included organum and the early motet.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Ars Antiqua, visit Britannica.com.
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