Body of laws established within Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, independent churches of Eastern Christianity, and the Anglican Communion for church governance. Canon law concerns the constitution of the church, relations between it and other bodies, and matters of internal discipline. The ecclesiastical lawyer and teacher Gratian published the first definitive collection of Roman Catholic canon law circa 1140; the Decretum Gratiani drew on older local collections, councils, Roman law, and church fathers. The enlarged Corpus juris canonici (“Body of Canon Law”) was published in 1500. A commission of cardinals issued the new Codex juris canonici (“Code of Canon Law”) in 1917, and a revised version was commissioned after the Second Vatican Council and published in 1983. Following the Schism of 1054, the Eastern Orthodox church developed its own canon law under the patriarch of Constantinople. The Anglican, Coptic, and Ethiopian Orthodox churches also formulated their own collections.
Learn more about canon law with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Musical form and compositional technique. Canons are characterized by having a melody that is imitated at a specified time interval by one or more parts, either at the same pitch or at some other pitch. Imitation may occur in the same note values, in augmentation (longer notes), or in diminution (shorter notes); in retrograde order (beginning at its end), mirror inversion (each ascending melodic interval becoming a descending interval, and vice versa), or retrograde mirror inversion; and so on. Canons range from folk rounds such as “Three Blind Mice” and “Frère Jacques” to the massively complex canons of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Learn more about canon with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Canon may refer to:
Canon may also be used for: