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The Figures of Rhetoric and of Musica Poetica

How to use the Table of Figures

Each entry contains the figure name, whether it is musical, literary, or both, its classification (see below), and a short definition. If the figure is highlighted as a link, you can click on it to get more information. For those figures that are both literary and musical, clicking the figure name link takes you to Silva rhetoricae for literary information. Clicking the M-link takes you to a page of musical definitions and examples.

Figures may be literary, musical, or both, and are identified as follows:

M musical figures
L literary figures
ML musical and literary figures

Classifications of the musical figures and their mnemonics:

MR figures of melodic repetition
HR figures of harmonic repetition, fugal figures
RD figures of representation and depiction
D figures of dissonance and displacement
IS figures of interruption and silence
MHO figures of melodic and harmonic ornamentation
O other figures


If you find this table of figures useful in your research, writing, or performing,
please be sure to cite these original sources of the information in your work.

BartelMP Bartel, Dietrich. Musica Poetica: Musical-Rhetorical Figures in German Baroque Music. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. xv, 471 p.
BuelMR Buelow, George. "Music and Rhetoric," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 15, ed. Stanley Sadie, pp. 793-803.
BurtSR Burton, Gideon O. The Forest of Rhetoric (Silva Rhetoricae) http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/silva.htm.
KronMR Krones, Hartmut. "Musik und Rhetorik," in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 6 (1996), pp. 814-852. (Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik begründet von Friedrich Blume.) Zweite, neubearbeitete Ausgabe herausgegeben von Ludwig Finscher. Kassel Basel London New York Prag: Bärenreiter; Stuttgart Weimar: Metzler, 1998.
LanHR Lanham, Richard A. A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms: A Guide for Students of English Literature. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969. 148 p.
MirRST Miriam Joseph, C.S.C., Sister. Rhetoric in Shakespeare's Time: Literary Theory of Renaissance Europe. New York and Burlingame: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1947, 1962. x, 421 p.
PremPEP Preminger, Alex, ed. Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Enlarged edition. Frank J. Warnke and O.B. Hardison, Jr., Associate Editors. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974. xxiv, 992 p.
SeidRMT Seidel, Wilhelm. "Rhythmus, Metrum, Takt," in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 8 (1998), pp. 257-317. (Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik begründet von Friedrich Blume.) Zweite, neubearbeitete Ausgabe herausgegeben von Ludwig Finscher. Kassel Basel London New York Prag: Bärenreiter; Stuttgart Weimar: Metzler, 1998.
SonnHR Sonnino, Lee A. A Handbook to Sixteenth-Century Rhetoric. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968. ix, 278 p.
TuveEMI Tuve, Rosemond. Elizabethan & Metaphysical Imagery: Renaissance Poetic and Twentieth-Century Critics. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1947. xii, 436 p.

The Figures of Rhetoric and of Musica Poetica

    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
A 1 abissio L N/A the equivalent Latin term for apocope. BurtSR. apocope Isidore
  2 abominatio L N/A Latin term for bdelygma or apodioxis. BurtSR. bdelygmia, apodioxis N/A
  3 abruptio M IS a sudden stop in the music; a musical figure of silence. BartelMP.   Janovka, Kircher, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  4 abuse L N/A an anglicization of the Latin term abusio (catachresis). BurtSR. catachresis N/A
  5 acoloutha L N/A the substitution of reciprocal words; best understood in relation to its opposite, anacaloutha. BurtSR.   N/A
  6 accentus M MHO a preceding or succeeding upper or lower neightboring note, usually added to the written note by the performer. BartelMP. superjectio Bernhard, Mattheson Printz, Spiess, J.G. Walther
  7 acciaccatura M MHO an additional, dissonant note added to a chord, which is released immediately after its execution. BartelMP.   Mattheson, Spiess, J.G. Walther
  8 accismus L N/A a feigned refusal of that which is earnestly desired. BurtSR.   Bullinger
  9 accumulatio L N/A heaping up praise or accusation to emphasize or summarize points or inferences already made. LanHR.   Rhetorica ad Herennium
  10 acervatio L N/A to knit many things together of like natureÖand to separate contrary matters asunder. SonnHR. asyndeton, polysyndeton Peacham
  11 acrostic L N/A a poem in which the initial letters of each line have a meaning when read downward. PremPEP. alliteration, anaphora, abecedarian Bullinger
  12 acyrologia L N/A incorrect in phraseology; use of an inexact or illogical word; impropriety. LanHR, BurtSR. cacozelia, paronomasia Quintilian, Isidore, Susenbrotus, Sherry, Peacham
  13 acyron L N/A incorrect in phraseology; use of an inexact or illogical word; impropriety. LanHR, BurtSR. acyrologia, catechresis Quintilian, Isidore, Susenbrotus, Sherry, Peacham
  14 adage L N/A proverb. LanHR. a short, pithy saying. BurtSR. anamnesis N/A
  15 adhortatio L N/A exhortation or encouragement. LanHR. euche, eustathia TBD
  16 adianoeta L N/A an expression that has an obvious meaning and an unsuspected secret one beneath. LanHR. irony, allegory TBD
  17 adjudicatio L N/A adjudication. LanHR. epicrisis TBD
  18 adjunct L N/A same as adjunctio below. symploce Rhetorica ad Herennium
  19 adjunctio L N/A use of one verb to express two similar ideas at the beginning or end of successive clauses. LanHR. epizeugma Rhetorica ad Herennium
  20 admonitio L N/A reminding, recalling to mind, suggestion. LanHR. paraenesis TBD
  21 adnexio L N/A Binding to. LanHR. zeugma TBD
  22 adnominatio L N/A Two words of similar sound but different meaning brought together. LanHR. paronomasia, polyptoton TBD
  23 adynaton L N/A A stringing together of impossibilities; the confession that words fail us. LanHR. A declaration of impossibility, usually in terms of an exaggerated comparison. Sometimes, the expression of the impossibility of expression. BurtSR. adynata, impossibilia, aposiopesis TBD
  24 aequipollentia L N/A The addition, taking away or doubling of a negative and in opposing words. SonnHR. isodunamia Erasmus
  25 aeschrologia L N/A An expression that is deliberately either foul (such as crude language) or ill-sounding (such as from excessive alliteration). BurtSR. cacemphaton, paroemion TBD
  26 aetiologia L N/A giving a cause or reason. LanHR. A figure of reasoning by which one attributes a cause for a statement or claim made, often as a simple relative clause of explanation. BurtSR. redditio causae, anthypophora, apophasis, contrarium, enthymeme, prosapodosis, ratiocinatio TBD
  27 affirmation L N/A A kind of paralipsis in which one explicitly affirms the negative qualities that one then passes over; A general figure of emphasis that describes when one states something as though it had been in dispute or in answer to a question, though it has not been. BurtSR. cataphasis, affirmatio, paralipsis TBD
  28 aganactesis L N/A impassioned speech or loud, angry speaking. LanHR. indignatio, ecphonesis, exclamatio TBD
  29 aischrologia L N/A scurrilous jest; lewd allusion or double entendre; sounds combined for harsh effect. LanHR. cacemphaton, turpis locutio, foule speech TBD
  30 allegory L N/A speaking otherwise than one seems to speak; extending a metaphor through an entire speech or passage; one of four levels of interpretation, the others being literal, moral or tropological, and anagogical or spiritual. LanHR. A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse. BurtSR. inversio, false semblant, metaphor, simile, conceit, catachresis, parabola TBD
  31 alleotheta L N/A substitution of one case, gender, number, tense, or mood for another. LanHR. anthimeria, antiptosis, enallage, hendiadys TBD
  32 alliteration L N/A recurrence of an initial consonant or vowel sound. LanHR. Repetition of the same letter or sound within nearby words. Most often, repeated initial consonants. Note: The term "alliteratio" was coined by Giovanni Pontano in 1519 as a further specification of the term annominatio. Current usage of this term is in its most restricted sense (repeated initial consonants), aligning it with the vice known as homoeoprophoron or paroemion. BurtSR. paroemion, alloiosis, antithesis, hypallage, metonymy, homoeo-prophoron, acrostic TBD
  33 amara irrisio L N/A bitter laughing at; a bitter gibe or taunt. LanHR. sarcasmus TBD
  34 ambiguous L N/A Quintilian warns against the dangers of ambiguity in legal matters; a mean of emphasis; a vice; when one word can be understood in two or more senses; when it causes the speech to be obscure. SonnHR. amphibologia Rhetorica ad Herennium
  35 amphibologia L N/A see ambiguous immediately above. SonnHR. Ambiguity of grammatical structure, often occasioned by mispunctuation. BurtSR. ambiguous Rhetorica ad Herennium
  36 ampliatio L N/A Using the name of something or someone before it has obtained that name or after the reason for that name has ceased. A form of epitheton. BurtSR. epitheton, prolepsis TBD
  37 anabasis M RD an ascending musical passage which expresses ascending or exalted images or affections. BartelMP. ascensus Janovka, Kircher, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  38 anacephalaeosis L N/A a summary; an enumeration; recalling matters of the past. LanHR. A recapitulation of the facts. A kind of summary employed in the peroratio. BurtSR. anamnesis, enumeratio, accumulatio, complexio, epanodos, epiphonema, synathroesmus TBD
  39 anacoenosis L N/A communicate; take counsel with. LanHR. anachinosis, impartener, epitrope  
  40 anacoloutha L N/A TBD   TBD
  41 anacoluthon L N/A Inconsistent, anomalous. LanHR.   TBD
  42 anadiplosis LM MR L: word repetition for emphasis. M: a repetition of the ending of one phrase at the beginning of the following one. Musically, the anadiplosis may be a repetition of a mimesis. BartelMP. reduplicatio Ahle, Burmeister, Mattheson, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  43 analepsis M HR A repetition of a noema at the same pitch. BartelMP.   Burmeister, J.G. Walther
  44 anamnesis L N/A Remembrance; recalling matters of the past. LanHR. recordatio, enumeratio TBD
  45 anangeon L N/A Plea in defence; defending one's words or acts with reasonable excuses; excusing by necessity. LanHR. dicaeologia TBD
  46 anaphora LM MR L: the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of serveral successive sentences or sentence members. M: a. a repeating bassline; ground bass; b. a repetition of the opening phrase or motive in a number of successive passages; c. a general repetition. BartelMP. repetitio Ahle, Burmeister, Forkel, Janovka, Kircher, Mattheson, Nucius, Scheibe, Spiess, Thuringus, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  47 anaploce M HR A repetition of a noema, particularly between choirs in a polychoral composition. BartelMP.   Burmeister
  48 anapodoton L N/A omitting a main clause from a conditional sentence. LanHR.   TBD
  49 anastrophe L N/A turning back; an unusual arrangement of words or clauses within a sentence; a kind of hyperbaton. LanHR. perversio, reversio hyperbaton; cf. hysteron proteron TBD
  50 anemographia L N/A description of the wind Cf. prosopographia et al. TBD
  51 anesis L N/A TBD   TBD
  52 antanaclasis L N/A G. "reflection, bending back"; homonymic pun. LanHR. transplacement, anaclasis, rebounde, reciprocatio, refractio, ploce TBD
  53 antanagoge L N/A ameliorating a fault or difficulty implicitly admitted by balancing an unfavorable aspect with a favorable one. LanHR. compensatio, recompencer TBD
  54 antenantiosis L N/A G. " positive statement made in a negative form". LanHR. litotes TBD
  55 anthimeria L N/A G. "one part for another"; functional shift, using one part of speech for another. LanHR. enallage, alleotheta TBD
  56 anthropopatheia L N/A     TBD
  57 anthypophora L N/A G. "reply"; replying to anticipated objections. LanHR. hypophora, response TBD
  58 anticategoria L N/A mutual accusation or recrimination. LanHR. accusatio, concertativa TBD
  59 anticipatio M MHO an additional upper or lower neighboring note after a principal note, prematurely introducing a note belonging to the subsequent harmony or chord. BartelMP. praesumptio Bernhard, Scheibe, Spiess, J.G. Walther
  60 anticipation L N/A as anticipatio, G. "preconception". LanHR. procatalepsis TBD
  61 antilogy L N/A TBD   TBD
  62 antimetabole LM HR an inversion of the fugal theme. BartelMP; LanHR, 10, gives "inverting the order of repeated words to sharpen their senseÖ; chiasmus and commutatio sometimes imply a more precise balance and reversal, antimetabole a looser." hypallage; cf. chiasmus, commutatio, permutatio, counterchange Burmeister
  63 antimetathesis L N/A inversion of the order of elements in an antithesis. BurtSR.   TBD
  64 antiphrasis L N/A expression by the opposite; irony of one word, e.g., calling a "dwarf" a "giant". LanHR. broad floute TBD
  65 antiprosopopoeia L N/A TBD   TBD
  66 antiptosis L N/A G. "exchange of case"; substituting one case for another as the accusative for the dative. LanHR. casu pro casu, alleotheta TBD
  67 antirrhesis L N/A G. "refutation, counterstatement"; rejecting an argument because of its insignificance, error, or wickedness. LanHR.   TBD
  68 antisagoge L N/A contrasting evaluations; stating first one side of a proposition, then the other, with equal vigor. LanHR. compensatio TBD
  69 antistaechon M D a substituted dissonance for an expected consonance, usually the result of the melody remaining on the same pitch while the bass implies harmonic changes. BartelMP.   Spiess, Vogt
  70 antistasis L N/A G. "opposition"; repetition of a word in a different or contrary sense. LanHR. contentio TBD
  71 antisthecon L N/A substituting one letter or sound for another within a word. LanHR. transposition, metathesis, metaplasm TBD
  72 antistrophe LM HR an inversion of the fugal theme. hypallage Burmeister
  73 antithesis LM RD a musical expression of opposing affections, harmonies, or thematic material. antitheton, contrapositum Forkel, Janovka, Kircher, Mattheson, Scheibe, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  74 antitheton LM RD a musical expression of opposing affections, harmonies, or thematic material. BartelMP. antithesis, contrapositum Forkel, Janovka, Kircher, Mattheson, Scheibe, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  75 antonomasia L N/A G. "to use an epithet, patronymic, instaed of a proper name"; descriptive phrase for proper name or proper name for quality associated with it. LanHR. pronominatio, nominatio, surnamer TBD
  76 apagoresis L N/A TBD   TBD
  77 aphaeresis L N/A TBD   TBD
  78 aphorismus L N/A TBD   TBD
  79 apocarteresis L N/A TBD   TBD
  80 apocope LM D an omitted or shortened final note in one voice of a composition. BartelMP.   Burmeister, Thuringus, J.G. Walther
  81 apodioxis L N/A TBD   TBD
  82 apodixis L N/A TBD   TBD
  83 apologue L N/A TBD   TBD
  84 apophasis L N/A TBD   TBD
  85 apoplanesis L N/A TBD   TBD
  86 aporia L N/A TBD   TBD
  87 aposiopesis LM IS a rest in one or all voices of a composition; a general pause. BartelMP.   Burmeister, Spiess, Thuringus, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  88 apostrophe L N/A TBD   TBD
  89 apothegm L N/A TBD   TBD
  90 apotomia M D an enharmonic rewriting of a semitone. BartelMP.   Vogt, J.G. Walther
  91 appositio L N/A TBD   TBD
  92 ara L N/A TBD   TBD
  93 articulus L N/A TBD   TBD
  94 ascensus M RD an ascending musical passage which expresses ascending or exalted images or affections. BartelMP. anabasis Janovka, Kircher, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  95 aschematiston L N/A TBD   TBD
  96 asphalia L N/A TBD   TBD
  97 assimilatio M RD a musical representation of the text's imagery. BartelMP. homoiosis Janovka, Kircher
  98 assonance L N/A resemblance or similarity in sound between vowel-sound preceded and followed by differeing consonant-sounds in words in proximity. LanHR. alliteration, paronomasia TBD
  99 assumptio L N/A TBD   TBD
  100 asteismus L N/A G. "refined, witty talk"; facetious or mocking answer that plays on a word. LanHR. civill jest, merry scoffe, urbanitas TBD
  101 astrothesia L N/A TBD   TBD
  102 asyndeton LM D an omission of the appropriate conjunctions in a text. BartelMP; omission of conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses. LanHR. articulo, brachylogia, dialyton, dissolutio, loose language, dialelumenon Ahle
  103 auxesis LM MR successive repetitions of a musical passage which rise by step. BartelMP; G. "increase, amplification"; words or clauses placed in climactic order; opposite of meiosis. LanHR. incrementum, advancer, dirimens copulatio, progressio Burmeister, J.G. Walther
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
B 104 barbarism L   as barbarismus (G. "foreign mode of speech"), unnatural words or mispronunciation; wrenched accent to fit meter or rhyme. LanHR. barbaralexis, forrein speech  
  105 battologia L        
  106 bdelygmia L   as bdelygma, G. "nausea, sickness; filth, nastiness"; expression of hatred, usually short. Lanham quotes Emilia to Othello (V, ii), "O gull! O dolt! As ignorant as dirt." LanHR. abominatio  
  107 benedictio L   G. "extolling, praising, lauding". LanHR. eulogia  
  108 bombi M MHO four identical notes in rapid succession. BartelMP. bombilans, bombus Printz, J.G. Walther
  109 bombilans M MHO four identical notes in rapid succession. BartelMP. bombi, bombus Printz, J.G. Walther
  110 bombus M MHO four identical notes in rapid succession. BartelMP. bombi, bombilans Printz, J.G. Walther
  111 bomphiologia L   G. "booming, buzzing words"; bombastic speech. LanHR. bomphilogia, pompous speech  
  112 brachylogia L   G. "brevity in speech or writing"; omission of conjunctions between words; brevity of diction; abbreviated construction. LanHR. asyndeton, cutted comma, praegnans constructio, ellipsis  
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
C 113 cacemphaton L        
  114 cacosyntheton L        
  115 cacozelia L        
  116 cadentia duriuscula M D a dissonance in the pre-penultimate harmony of a cadence. BartelMP.   Bernhard
  117 catabasis M RD a descending musical passage which expresses descending, lowly, or negative images or affections. BartelMP. descensus Janovka, Kircher, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  118 catachresis LM        
  119 catacosmesis L        
  120 cataphasis L        
  121 cataplexis L        
  122 categoria L        
  123 celeritas M D a dissonant or passing note between two consonant ones, either on the strong or the weak beat. BartelMP. transitus, commissura, deminutio, symblema Bernhard, Burmeister, Kircher, Mattheson, Nucius, Scheibe, Thuringus, Walther
  124 cercar della nota M MHO various additions of lower neighboring notes. BartelMP. subsumptio, quaesitio notae Bernhard, J.G. Walther
  125 characterismus L        
  126 charientismus L        
  127 chiasmus L   G. "crossing"; derived from the Greek letter X (chi) whose shape, if the two halves of the construction are rendered in separate verses, it resembles. LanHR. antimetabole, commutatio  
  128 chorographia L        
  129 chreia L   G. "pregnant sentence or maxim, often illustrated by an anecdote"; short exposition of a deed or saying of a person whose name is mentioned; short rhetorical exercise in which a maxim or moral observation is developed and varied. LanHR.    
  130 chronographia L   G. "time-writing"; type of energia, or counterfait time; description of time as when Romeo says: "Look love, what envious streakes | Do lace the severing clouds in yonder East. | Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day | Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops." (Romeo and Juliet, III, v). LanHR.    
  131 circulatio M RD a series of usually eight notes in a circular or sine wave formation. BartelMP. circulo, kyklosis Janovka, Kircher, Mattheson, Printz, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  132 circulo M RD a series of usually eight notes in a circular or sine wave formation. BartelMP. circulatio, kyklosis Janovka, Kircher, Mattheson, Printz, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  133 circumlocutio L   As the name implies, "talking around" something, usually by supplying a descriptive phrase in place of a name (=periphrasis). Circumlocutions are rhetorically useful as euphemisms, as a method of amplification, or to hint at something without stating it. BurtSR. antonomasia, periphrasis, systrophe  
  134 climax LM MR 1) a sequence of notes in one voice repeated either at a higher or lower pitch; 2) two voices moving in ascending or descending parallel motion; 3) a gradual increase or rise in sound and pitch, creating a growth in intensity. BartelMP. Generally, the arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance, often in parallel structure. More specifically, climax is the repetition of the last word of one clause or sentence at the beginning of the next, through three or more clauses or sentences. (The figure anadiplosis repeated three times with increasing semantic emphasis). BurtSR. gradatio, anadiplosis, auxesis, catacosmesis Ahle, Burmeister, Forkel, Janovka, Kircher, Nucius, Scheibe, Thuringus, Vogt, E. Walther
  135 coenotes L   Repetition of two different phrases: one at the beginning and the other at the end of successive paragraphs. Note: Composed of anaphora and epistrophe, coenotes is simply a more specific kind of symploce (the repetition of phrases, not merely words). BurtSR. symploce, anaphora, epistrophe  
  136 coloratura M MHO an ornamentation of a melodic passage with a variety of embellishments. BartelMP. variatio, diminutio, passaggio Bernhard, Janovka, Mattheson, Praetorius, Printz, Scheibe, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
  137 commissura M DD a dissonant or passing note between two consonant ones, either on the strong or the weak beat. BartelMP. transitus, celeritas, deminutio, symblema Bernhard, Burmeister, Kircher, Mattheson, Nucius, Scheibe, Thuringus, Walther
  138 commoratio L        
  139 communicatio L        
  140 comparatio L        
  141 complexio LM MR      
  142 complexus M MR a musical passage which repeats its opening phrase at its conclusion. BartelMP. complexio, symploce Janovka, Kircher, Nucius, Thuringus, Walther
  143 comprobatio L        
  144 conceit L        
  145 concessio L        
  146 conclusio L        
  147 conduplicatio L        
  148 congeries LM   Heaping together words of different meaning, without recapitulation. BurtSR. synonymia, synathroesmus, expolitio, climax  
  149 conjunctio L        
  150 consonance L        
  151 consonantiae impropriae M        
  152 contrapositio M        
  153 contrarium L   Juxtaposing two opposing statements in such a way as to prove the one from the other. Note: The Ad Herennium author refers to contrarium as a figure (perhaps because of the opposition and frequent parallelism of such statements when expressed concisely). However, as Quintilian notes, this is more properly understood as a method of argumentation (employing the topic of invention, contraries). BurtSR. aetiologia, anthypophora, apophasis, enthymeme, prosapodosis, ratiocinatio  
  154 contrary L        
  155 conversio L        
  156 correctio L   L. "setting straight, making right"; correction of a word or phrase used previously; preparing the way for saying something th espeaker knows will be unpleasant to his auditors. LanHR. epanorthosis, epidiorthosis, epitimesis, diorismos; diorthosis, prodiorthosis, prasecedens correctio; metanoia  
  157 corta M MHO A three-note figure in which one note's duration equals the sum of the other two. BartelMP.    
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
D 158 deesis L   fr. L. "god"; vehement supplication either to the gods or to men. LanHR. obtestatio, ecphonesis, donysis  
  159 dehortatio L   disuasion; advice to the contrary. LanHR    
  160 deinosis L        
  161 deminutio M        
  162 dendrographia L   description of trees. LanHR Cf. prosopographia, topographia, chorographia, chronographia, geographia, hydrographia, anemographia  
  163 deprecatio L        
  164 descensus M        
  165 descriptio L   clear, lucid, vivid description. LanHR energia, enargia  
  166 diabasis M        
  167 diacope L   G. "cleft or gash"; as in a tmesis, repetition of a word with one or several words in between; as in dieremenon, disparsum, separation of the elements of a compound word by another word or words. LanHR tmesis, dieremenon, disparsum  
  168 diaeresis L        
  169 dialogismus L        
  170 dialysis L        
  171 dianoea L        
  172 diaphora L        
  173 diaskeue L        
  174 diastole L        
  175 diasyrmus L        
  176 diazeugma L        
  177 dicaeologia L        
  178 digressio L        
  179 dilemma L        
  180 diminutio M        
  181 dirimens copulatio L        
  182 distinctio L        
  183 distributio LM        
  184 dubitatio M        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
E 185 ecphonesis LM        
  186 ecphrasis L        
  187 ecthlipsis L        
  188 effictio L        
  189 elenchus L        
  190 ellipsis LM        
  191 emphasis LM   Giving prominence to a quality or trait by conceiving it as constituting the very substance in which it inheres. BurtSR. hyperbole, sarcasmus  
  192 enallage L   The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions. Note: Erasmus delineated numerous specific methods of enallage as ways of varying expression by substituting equivalent expressions in order to build copia. BurtSR. alleotheta, antiptosis, anthimeria, copia  
  193 enantiosis L   Using opposing or contrary descriptions together, typically in a somewhat paradoxical manner. BurtSR. antithesis, antitheton, paradox, oxymoron  
  194 enargia L   Generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description. BurtSR. energia  
  195 encomium L   Generally, encomium means the praise of a person or thing. While keeping this general meaning, "encomium" also names several distinct aspects of rhetoric: 1) A general category of oratory (nearly synonymous with "epideictic"); 2) A method within rhetorical pedagogy (one of the "progymnasmata": Encomium); 3) A figure of speech. As a figure, "encomium" means praising a person or thing, but occuring on a smaller scale than an entire speech. BurtSR.    
  196 energia L   G. "activity"; rhet. "vigor of style". Clear, lucid, vivid description. LanHR ecphrasis, hypotyposis, descriptio, informatio, diatyposis; also ethopoeia, characterismus, prosopographia, prosopopoeia, mimesis, dialogismus, pragmatographia, topographia, topothesia, icon, pathopoeia, sermocinatio; cf. enargia  
  197 enigma L        
  198 ennoia L        
  199 enthymeme L        
  200 enumeratio L        
  201 epanadiplosis M MR      
  202 epanalepsis LM MR      
  203 epanodos LM MR      
  204 epanorthosis L        
  205 epenthesis L        
  206 epergesis L        
  207 epexegesis L        
  208 epicrisis L        
  209 epilogus L        
  210 epimone L        
  211 epiphonema L        
  212 epiphora M MR      
  213 epiplexis L        
  214 epistrophe LM MR Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words. BurtSR. anaphora, symploce  
  215 epitasis L        
  216 epitheton L        
  217 epitrochasmus L        
  218 epitrope L        
  219 epizeugma L        
  220 epizeuxis LM MR      
  221 erotema L        
  222 ethophonia M MR      
  223 ethopoeia L        
  224 eucharistia L        
  225 euche L        
  226 eulogia L        
  227 euphemismus L        
  228 eustathia L        
  229 eutrepismus L        
  230 example L        
  231 excitatio L        
  232 exclamatio LM        
  233 excursus L        
  234 exergasia L        
  235 exouthenismos L        
  236 expeditio L        
  237 expolitio L        
  238 extensio M        
  239 exuscitatio L        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
F 240 faux bourdon M        
  241 fuga M HR A compositional device in which a principal voice is imitated by subsequent voices. BartelMP.    
  242 fuga in alio sensu M RD A musical passage which employs fuga to vividly express chasing or fleeing. BartelMP.    
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
G 243 geographia L        
  244 gnome L        
  245 gradatio M MR      
  246 graecismus L        
  247 groppo M        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
H 248 hendiadys L        
  249 heterogenium L        
  250 heterolepsis M        
  251 homiologia L        
  252 homoeosis L        
  253 homoioptoton LM MR      
  254 homoioteleuton LM        
  255 horismus L        
  256 hydrographia L        
  257 hypallage LM        
  258 hyperbaton LM        
  259 hyperbole LM        
  260 hypobole M        
  261 hypotyposis LM        
  262 hypozeugma L        
  263 hypozeuxis L        
  264 hysterologia L        
  265 hysteron proteron L        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
I 266 icon L        
  267 imitatio M MR      
  268 inchoatio imperfecta M        
  269 incrementum M MR      
  270 indignatio L        
  271 insinuatio L        
  272 inter se pugnantia L        
  273 interrogatio LM        
  274 intimation L        
  275 irony L   G. "affectation of ignorance". Speaking in such a way as to imply the contrary of what one says, often for the purpose of derision, mockery, or jest. Equivalents include antiphrasis = Irony of one word, often derisively through patent contradiction; paralipsis = Stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over; epitrope = A figure in which one turns things over to one's hearers, either ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it; sarcasmus = Use of mockery or verbal taunts; mycterismus. BurtSR. antiphrasis, paralipsis, epitrope, sarcasmus, mycterismus; also ironia, illusio, dissimulatio, simulatio, the dry mock  
  276 isocolon L   A series of similarly structured elements having the same length. A kind of parallelism. BurtSR. colon, tricolon, antithesis  
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
K 277 kyklosis M RD a series of usually eight notes in a circular or sine wave formation. BartelMP. circulatio, circulo Janovka, Kircher, Mattheson, Printz, Spiess, Vogt, J.G. Walther
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
L 278 licentia M DD a transgression of the range or ambitus of a modus. BartelMP. hyperbole, hypobole Bernhard, Burmeister, Herbst, Thuringus, J.G. Walther
  279 ligatura M        
  280 litotes L   G. "plainness, simplicity". LanHR. Denial of the contrary; opposite of amplification; understatement that intensifies, e.g., "he likes his wife not a little". LanHR. diminutio, exadversio, moderatour, tenuitas  
  281 longinqua distantia M        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
M 282 macrologia L   Longwindedness. Using more words than are necessary in an attempt to appear eloquent. BurtSR. periergia, tautologia; cf. vices  
  283 manubrium M   a cadenza or coda added over a pedal point at the end of a composition; cf. paragoge, supplementum. BartelMP. paragoge, supplementum  
  284 martyria L   G. "testimony, evidence". LanHR. Confirming something by one's own experience. LanHR. testatio  
  285 maxim L   L. "greatest [proposition]". LanHR. Short pithy statement of general truth. LanHR. proverb, paroemia, gnome, sententia, aphorismus, adage  
  286 medela L   L. "medecine or cure". LanHR. Apology for the undeniable offenses of a friend. LanHR.    
  287 meiosis L   G. "lessening". LanHR. To belittle or to use a degrading epithet, often of a single word. Acc. To Quintilian, can refer to a naturally meager style, or an aggressively and intentionally plain one. LanHR. imminutio, disabler, irony, tapinosis, auxesis, hyperbole, litotes, charientismus  
  288 membrum L   Roughly equivalent to "clause" in English, except that the emphasis is on seeing this part of a sentence as needing completion, either with a second membrum (or colon) or with two others forming a tricolon. When membra or cola are of equal length, they form an isocolon. BurtSR. isocolon, tricolon  
  289 mempsis L   G. "blaming, reproach, complaint". LanHR. Complaining against injuries or pleading for help. LanHR. querimonia  
  290 merismus L   The dividing of a whole into its parts. BurtSR. distribution  
  291 mesarchia L   The repetition of the same word or words at the beginning and middle of successive sentences. BurtSR. anaphora, epizeuxis, mesodiplosis, traductio  
  292 mesodiplosis L   Repetition of the same word or words in the middle of successive sentences. BurtSR.    
  293 mesozeugma L   A zeugma in which one places a common verb for many subjects in the middle of a construction. BurtSR. zeugma, diazeugma, hypozeugma, hypozeuxis  
  294 messanza M   A series of four notes of short duration, moving either by step or by leap. BartelMP.    
  295 metabasis LM   G. "change, shifting, transition". Figure of transition; brief statement of what has been said and what will follow, a "linking summary." LanHR. A transitional statement in which one explains what has been and what will be said. BurtSR. epexigesis, medabasis, transitio  
  296 metalepsis LM        
  297 metallage L        
  298 metaphor L        
  299 metaplasm L        
  300 metastasis L        
  301 metathesis L        
  302 metonymy L        
  303 mimesis LM MR Greek name for the rhetorical pedagogy known as imitation. The imitation of another's gestures, pronunciation, or utterance. BurtSR. Delivery, Progymnasmata: Impersonation, Rhetorical Pedagogy: imitation, ethopoeia, characterismus  
  304 misticanza M        
  305 momoiosis M        
  306 mora M        
  307 multiplicatio M        
  308 mutatio Toni M        
  309 mycterismus L   A mock given with an accompanying gesture, such as a scornful countenance. BurtSR. irony, epitrope, sarcasmus  
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
N 310 noema LM RD A homophonic passage within a contrapuntal texture. BartelMP. An obscure and subtle speech. BurtSR. enigma, schematismus, allegory, skotison Burmeister, Thuringus, J.G. Walther
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
O 311 oeonismus L   Greek term for optatio. BurtSR. optatio  
  312 ominatio L        
  313 onedismus L        
  314 onomatopoeia L        
  315 optatio L   Expressing a wish, often ardently. BurtSR.    
  316 orcos L        
  317 oxymoron L        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
P 318 paenismus L        
  319 palilogia LM MR      
  320 parabola L        
  321 paradiastole L        
  322 paradiegesis L        
  323 paradigma L        
  324 paradox L        
  325 paraenesis L        
  326 paragoge LM        
  327 paralipsis L        
  328 parallelism L        
  329 paramythia L        
  330 parathesis L        
  331 parecbasis L        
  332 paregmenon L        
  333 parelcon L        
  334 parembole LM        
  335 parenthesis LM        
  336 pareuresis L        
  337 paroemia L        
  338 paroemion L        
  339 paromoiosis L        
  340 paromologia L        
  341 paronomasia LM        
  342 parrhesia LM        
  343 passagio M        
  344 passus duriusculus M        
  345 pathopoeia LM   A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio). BurtSR. exuscitatio  
  346 pausa M        
  347 perclusio L        
  348 periergia L        
  349 period L        
  350 periphrasis L        
  351 perissologia L        
  352 peristasis L        
  353 permutatio L        
  354 personification L        
  355 philophronesis L        
  356 pleonasm LM   Use of more words than is necessary semantically. Rhetorical repetition that is grammatically superfluous. BurtSR. perissologia  
  357 pleonasmus M        
  358 ploce L        
  359 polyptoton LM MR      
  360 polysyndeton LM MR      
  361 pragmatographia L        
  362 procatalepsis L        
  363 proclees L        
  364 prodiorthosis L        
  365 proecthesis L        
  366 prolepsis LM        
  367 prolongatio M        
  368 prosapodosis L        
  369 proslepsis L        
  370 prosonomasia L        
  371 prosopographia L        
  372 prosopopoeia LM        
  373 prosphonesis L        
  374 protherapeia L        
  375 prothesis L        
  376 protrope L        
  377 proverb L        
  378 prozeugma L        
  379 pysma L        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
Q 380 quaesitio notae M        
  381 quasi transitus M        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
R 382 ratiocinatio L        
  383 reditus M MR      
  384 reduplicatio M MR      
  385 regressio M MR      
  386 repercussio M        
  387 repetitio LM MR      
  388 repotia L        
  389 restrictio L        
  390 resumptio M MR      
  391 retardatio M        
  392 reticentia M        
  393 rhetorical question L        
  394 ribattuta M        
S 395 salti composti M        
  396 salto semplice M        
  397 saltus duriusculus M        
  398 sarcasmus L        
  399 scesis onomaton L        
  400 schematismus L        
  401 schematoides M        
  402 scheme L        
  403 sectio M        
  404 sententia L        
  405 sermocinatio L        
  406 sexta superflua M        
  407 simile L        
  408 simul procedentia M        
  409 skotison L        
  410 solecismus L        
  411 soraismus L        
  412 sorites L        
  413 stenasmus M        
  414 subjectio L        
  415 subsumptio M        
  416 superjectio M        
  417 supplementum M        
  418 suspensio M        
  419 suspiratio M        
  420 sustentatio L        
  421 syllepsis L        
  422 syllogismus L        
  423 symblema M        
  424 symperasma L        
  425 symploce LM MR      
  426 synaeresis LM        
  427 synaloepha L        
  428 synathroesmus L        
  429 synathroismus M        
  430 synchoresis L        
  431 synchysis L        
  432 syncopatio M        
  433 syncope L        
  434 syncrisis L        
  435 synecdoche L        
  436 syngnome L        
  437 synoeciosis L        
  438 synonymia LM MR      
  439 synthesis L        
  440 syntheton L        
  441 synzeugma L        
  442 systole L        
  443 systrophe L        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
T 444 tapinosis L   Giving a name to something which diminishes it in importance. A kind of meiosis. BurtSR. meiosis  
  445 tasis L   Sustaining the pronunciation of a word or phrase because of its pleasant sound. A figure apparent in delivery. BurtSR.    
  446 tautologia L        
  447 taxis L        
  448 tenuta M        
  449 tertia deficiens M        
  450 thaumasmus L   To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way. BurtSR.    
  451 tirata M        
  452 tmesis LM   G. "a cutting". LanHR. Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word. BurtSR. diacope, dissectio  
  453 topographia L   Description of places. LanHR. Description of a place. A kind of enargia. BurtSR. enargia, topothesia, prosopographia, chorographia, chronographia, geographia, hydrographia, anemographia, dendrographia, counterfait place  
  454 topothesia L   G. "description of a place". LanHR. The description of an imaginary place. A kind of enargia. BurtSR. topographia, enargia  
  455 traductio L   L. "leading along", or "repetition of a word"; "metonymy or a transferring". LanHR. Repeating the same word variously throughout a sentence or a thought. BurtSR. ploce, translacer, polyptoton  
  456 transgressio M        
  457 transitio L   L. "going across or over". LanHR. metabasis  
  458 transitus M        
  459 transplacement L   cf. antanaclasis (LanHR), traductio, antanaclasis, antistasis (BurtSR). antanaclasis, traductio, antistasis  
  460 transumptio M        
  461 tremolo M        
  462 tricolon L   three parallel elements of the same length occurring together in a series. BurtSR. isocolon, parallelism, figures of parallelism  
  463 trillo M        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
V 464 variatio M        
    Name M/L Class Definition Equivalents Author
Z 465 zeugma L   G. "yoking"; one verb governing several congruent words or clauses, each one differently. LanHR. A general term describing when one part of speech (most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun) governs two or more other parts of a sentence (often in a series). Zeugma is sometimes used simply as a synonym for syllepsis, though that term is better understood as a more specific kind of zeugma: when there is disparity in the way that the parallel members relate to the governing word (as a vice or for comic effect). Zeugma comprises several more specialized terms, all of which employ ellipsis and parallelism (among the governed members of the sentence). The zeugma figures are of two types: those in which the governing word is the main verb (in which case these are subsequently categorized according to the position of that governing verb), and those in which the governing word is another part of speech (usually the subject noun). BurtSR. synzeugmenon, hyperzeugma, prozeugma, mezozeugma, hypozeugma, epezeugmenon, syllepsis  
          Types of Figures: L 318
            M 96
            LM 51
          Subtotal, Musical Figures:   147
          Total, All Figures:   465
          Musical Classes of Figures: MR 28
            HR 5
            RD 11

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