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English round, or simple perpetual canon, for three or more unaccompanied voices. Catches were sung by men as a popular pastime in the 16th–19th centuries. Catch texts were often humorous or ribald, and in some instances a pause in the melody in one voice was filled in by the notes and text of another, creating a pun or change of meaning, especially in the late-17th-century Restoration period.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on catch, visit Britannica.com.