In Roman rhetoric, a clausula was a rhythmic figure used to add finesse and finality to the end of a sentence or phrase. There was a large range of popular clausulae. Most well known is the classically Ciceronian "esse videtur" type.

In late medieval Western music, a clausula (Latin "clause"; plural clausulae) was a newly composed polyphonic section for two or more voices sung in discant style ("note against note") over a cantus firmus. Clausulae eventually became used as substitutes for passages of original plainchant. They occur as melismatic figures based on a single word or syllable within an organum (a composition where one or more voices have been added to a plainchant melody to create polyphony). The text of a clausula differs from that of the plainchant melody underneath it. Each clausula is clearly delineated by a final cadence.

Clausulae emerged from the compositional practices of the Notre Dame school in Paris c. 1160-1250 (during the stylistic period known as ars antiqua), especially those of the composers Leonin and Perotin. Rather than write entirely new music, the preference was to take existing music, that is, plainchant melodies, and develop or improve upon them. Perotin's clausulae make use of the rhythmic modes, whose strict metrical feet necessitated that voices change notes together (discantus). This was in contrast to the earlier practice of one voice moving in a free rhythm above a "tenor" voice (Latin tenere: "to hold") sustaining the long notes of a cantus firmus. The tenor line was often repeated to allow for expansion of the clausula; this was the origin of the technique known as isorhythm.

Hundreds of clausulae in two, three and four parts were incorporated into the Magnus Liber Organi of Leonin and Perotin. Others were arranged in liturgical order within appropriate manuscripts so that they could be easily introduced into a particular organum setting or piece of plainchant. As they were notated separately, it was possible for them to be expanded and developed further, and they eventually became standalone pieces which could be sung at certain points in the liturgy. The composition of clausulae died out in the mid 13th century as they were replaced by motets as the main platform for the development of new compositional techniques.


  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
  • The Oxford Companion to Music

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  • cláusula — (Del lat. clausŭla, de clausus, cerrado). 1. f. Der. Cada una de las disposiciones de un contrato, tratado, testamento o cualquier otro documento análogo, público o privado. 2. Gram. y Ret. Tradicionalmente, conjunto de palabras que, formando… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • cláusula — sustantivo femenino 1. Área: derecho Cada una de las disposiciones de un documento público o privado: Una de las condiciones de la cláusula primera del contrato de alquiler es que no puedo hacer obras en el piso. 2. Área: gramática Construcción… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • cláusula — s. f. 1. Condição que faz parte de uma escritura, contrato ou disposição. 2. Artigo, preceito, condição. 3. Circunstância particular. 4.  [Retórica] Sentença.   ‣ Etimologia: latim clausula, ae, fim, terminação, artigo …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Clausŭla — (lat.), s. u. Clausel; daher Claufuliren, beschränken, vorbehalten …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Clausŭla — (lat.), Vorbehalt (s. Klausel); in der Musik soviel wie Schlußformel, Kadenz (s.d.) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Clausula — Clausŭla (lat.), Vorbehalt, s. Klausel …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Clausula —   [lateinisch] die, /...lae, Klausel.   * * * Clau|su|la, die; , ...lae [...lɛ]: lat. Bez. für Klausel …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Clausula — codicillaris ist ein Kraut (ein Pflaster), das alles heilt. – Pistor., III, 38 …   Deutsches Sprichwörter-Lexikon

  • cláusula — (Del lat. clausula < claudere, cerrar.) ► sustantivo femenino 1 DERECHO Cada una de las partes, condiciones, disposiciones o estipulaciones de un testamento, contrato o documento análogo, ya sea público o particular. 2 LINGÜÍSTICA Conjunto de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Cláusula — El término cláusula puede referirse a: En música: Cláusula En lingüística: Cláusula sintáctica En lógica: Cláusula Cláusula de Horn En derecho: Cláusula penal Cláusula de exclusión Cláusula de revisión salarial Cláusula sobre Protección… …   Wikipedia Español

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