See other Musings about Word-Music relations
introduction to the Glossary of French Terms
Glossary, part 6
Rondement (evenly, briskly)
Rond, ronde [adj.: "round"] Is used figuratively
in music. A voice that is "round" is a voice that is full, smooth and uniform.
And one also says figuratively that a declamatory period [complex sentence]
is "round" when it is full, rhythmical [nombreux] and well shaped [bien
tourné] and has an agreeable rhythm [cadence]. DAF,
Rondement [adv.: "roundly," in the sense of
"briskly, evenly"] In French the typical, that is the "round" syllable, is
neither short nor long ... and is pronounced rondement, that is, neither
posément nor légèrement. Louis
Du Gardin, Les premières addresses du chemin de Parnasse,
Sincerely, frankly. Richelet, 1681
Uniformly, evenly. DAF, 1694
In a circle, in a manner that is "round." ... Is also said
figuratively to mean frankly and sincerely. ... A good man goes about his
work rondement, does not split hairs, it not wily. ... Also means
uniformly, with equal strength. A man who walks rondement and without
stopping covers a lot of ground. A master likes a journeyman who works
rondement, who does not slacken, who never stops working.
Is also used figuratively for sincerely, frankly, without artifice,
without ceremony: "He is not deceitful, he goes about things
rondement." ... This usage is popular. DAF, 1762
[P. M. Ranum: It would seem that rondement implied near equality
of notes and a smooth, unaccented performance, at a moderate and steady tempo.
This conclusion seems corroborated by the 1752 French translation of Quantz,
p. 117, ¶ 22, and p. 123, ¶ 11: rund is translated as
Sautillé (hopping, skipping)
Sautiller [inf.: "to hop"] or
sautillé [past participle: "hopped"] To jump by little
sauts [leaps]. ... "To dance well one must not sautiller."
... Is used figuratively about a man who abruptly changes the subject in
conversation, whose discussions are disconnected: "He does nothing but
sautiller." DAF, 1694 [Note: by 1762 the expression "good dancing"
has become "noble dancing."]
Sautillant [present participle: "hopping"] In
music there is a sort of rhythm [mouvement] that is continually hopping.
It almost always is in triple meter, and the first note of each measure is
pointée. Italians say in saltarello for en
sautillant, when there are three quarter notes instead of a half note,
as in 6/4, or three eighth notes instead of a quarter note, as in 6/8, especially
if the first note of each beat is pointée. This is how Venetian
forlanas, sicilianas and English jigs and other gay dances are written,
where the tunes move en sautant (Brossard). Trévoux,
Avec sentiment (with feeling, with sensitivity)
Sentiment [n.: "feeling"] The faculty of sensing;
... affection. ... This word is also used in a new way and comes close to
meaning affection [a positive, favorable feeling for someone or
something]. And thus everyday we hear people talk of having "sentiments of
tendresse" for their children, having "sentiments of esteem" for someone,
in other words, holding that person in esteem. Richelet, 1681
The impression that objects make upon the senses. "Natural
sentiments" are certain emotions that are inspired by nature: "A sentiment
of humanity." ... Is also said about affections, passions and all the emotions
[mouvements] of the soul: "a noble sentiment." DAF,
Also means an inner impression that things make upon one, a
goût [savour], a persuasion that we feel inside ourselves without
being able to give others a clear reason why, or to convince them.
The soul's perception of objects, by means of the sensory organs.
... It also means the soul's faculty for receiving the impressions that objects
make upon the senses. ... Is said about the affections, the passions, and
all emotions [mouvements] of the soul. ... One talks of "having
sentiments," meaning that one has feelings of honor, probity, etc. ... And
"being capable of sentiments" means having a sensitive and delicate soul,
being proud of one's sensitivity, one's delicacy of soul. DAF,
Sourdement (dully, mutedly)
Sourd, sourde [adj.: "dull, deaf"] Inconvenienced
by deafness; hard to understand [obscur], making no noise, having
no glitter. Richelet, 1681
Also said about something that does not reverberate sufficiently,
that does not make enough noise: "This church, this room, are sourd.
This lute is sourd, it does not make enough noise." ... In jewelers'
terminology, is said about stones that do not have all the shine and brilliance
they should in order to be considered perfect, but that have flaws ... or
something dull, dark, cloudy that decreases their value. Furetière,
Sourdement [adv.: "dully, mutedly"] In a manner
that is sourd and can scarcely be heard. Secretly Richelet,
In a manner that is sourd, that does not reverberate,
that makes little noise. DAF, 1762
Soutenu / soustenu (steady, sustained, dignified)
Soutenir [inf.: "to sustain"] To support something,
to prevent it from drooping. To maintain it in the same state or in a similar
state. To sustain one's voice, one's [oratorical] style. Richelet,
To carry, to support, to hold something up. ... In music one
says "the bass sustains the upper voice and the other parts." One also says
that fabrics "sustain themselves," meaning that they are firm and do not
droop. ... In music one also says that a beautiful voice that is not
égale [i.e., that fluctuates] "does not sustain itself."
Sostenuto means soutenu or en soutenant,
that is, holding the notes one is singing firmly and equally, especially
when they are held over from one measure to the next, or over several measures.
Speaking noblement in public [and using the so-called
style soutenu, "sustained style"] demands a sonorous, low and imposing
voice that can reflect the elevated thoughts and expressions being used.
... He who speaks in this manner in public must do it posément,
with grandeur. ... The goal of these speeches not being to please or to convince,
one should only vary the voice imperceptibly in order to make the emotions
[mouvements] and main points clear. ... When one raises or lowers
the voice, it should be done gently ... but it should be so well modulated
around the chosen pitch that it will not be raised or lowered as a result
of the liveliness of the subject or expressions. This would amount to declaiming,
which is a major fault in this sort of Pronunciation [of the style
soutenu]. ... And if one is obliged to arouse listeners' attention by
using a firmer voice, this must be done by imperceptible degrees, so that
it is not noticeable. For I dare say that, in a way, one would be showing
disrespect for those listening to this sort of speech if one allowed oneself
to be carried away to the point of exclaiming. ... One must avoid gestures
and at the most simply move the hand. Grimarest, Traité
du récitatif, ed. of 1760, pp. 61-65
They also say that a singer "sustains his cadences well,"
meaning that his cadences [in the sense of rhythm and phrasing] are
long and equal. DAF, 1762
Soutenu, soutenue [adj.: "sustained"] A speech
is said to be soutenu when it is equally strong throughout, and oratorical
style is called the style soutenu. DAF, 1694
Tendre, tendrement (tender, tenderly)
Tendre [adj.: "tender"] Delicate, weak, ...
sensitive, amorous, friendly. In painting it is the opposite of dry and crude.
Easy to cut, the opposite of hard. Also means sensitive, delicate,
easily affected by the weather, and in this sense people are said to be
"extremely tender to the cold, to have tender skin." ... It also means sensitive
to friendship, to compassion, and more especially to love. DAF,
In painting it means certain extremely delicate brushstrokes.
It is in this sense that one says there are "extremely tender strokes" in
a painting. DAF, 1762
Tendrement [adv.: "tenderly"] With tenderness.
A painting or sculpture is said to be tender, to have tenderness,
to be worked tendrement, meaning that it is done delicately, with
polish, that the flesh tones and the browns are well blended and the colors
are shaded and softened. It is the opposite of dry and harsh.
A painter who has a delicate and light touch is said to paint
tendrement. DAF, 1762
This adverb written at the top of an air means a
mouvement [tempo] that is lent and doux, sounds that
are filé, gracieusement, and that is animated by a tender and
touching expressiveness. Italians use the word amoroso to express
roughly the same thing. The character of an amoroso involves more
stresses and conveys a je ne sais quoi that is less bland and more
passionate. Rousseau, 1768
[Filer le son (to spin out the sound): this is done on a long
note, which begins softly, then is increased to full volume and is decreased
gradually until the note ends as it began. Michel Corrette, Parfait
maître, 1782, p. 50]
Vif, vivement (lively, spirited; briskly, in a lively
Vif, vive [adj.: "lively"] Alive. ... Also means
having a great deal of vigor and activity. ... A person's eyes are said to
be vif when they are brilliant and full of fire. Having an
esprit that is vif, an imagination that is vif, means
having a mind, an imagination that thinks quickly and easily. ... And one
also says feeling are vif, passions are vif, to mean that someone
is extremely sensitive, experiences violent passions. DAF, 1694
Is used figuratively and means ardent, vehement, ... with a
great deal of fire; piquant, touching, sensitive. Furetière,
Expressions or remarks are said to be vif, meaning that
in them are perceived the fire of the imagination or of piquant remarks.
Vivement [adv.: "in a lively way"] In Italian,
vivace. This word indicates a mouvement [primarily in the sense
of "tempo" but of "emotion" as well] that is gai, quick and
animé, and a performance that is hardi and full of fire.
Ardently, vigorously, unremittingly. DAF, 1762