ornament

ornament

[n. awr-nuh-muhnt; v. awr-nuh-ment, -muhnt]
ornament, in architecture, decorative detail enhancing structures. Structural ornament, an integral part of the framework, includes the shaping and placement of the buttress, cornice, molding, ceiling, and roof and the capital and other elements of the column, as well as the use of building materials of contrasting color or texture. Applied ornament embraces the adornment of structural members with statuary, carving, molding, paint, inlay, mosaic, and facings. The design of ornament has followed the artistic development of various eras, reaching the height of exuberance during the baroque. See decorative arts and articles on the architecture of individual countries and periods, e.g., Egyptian architecture and Gothic architecture and art.

See O. Jones The Grammar of Ornament (1869, repr. 1972); A. D. F. Hamlin, A History of Ornament (2 vol., 1916-23); J. Evans, Style in Ornament (1950).

ornament, in music, notes added to a melodic line for the purpose of embellishment or decoration, often called graces. Ornamentation was practiced as early as the Middle Ages by the singers of plainsong, and the practice seems to have reached its height in the baroque era. Treatises were written and attempts made to standardize practices. Symbols were adopted as a kind of shorthand for the notation of some ornaments, others were written out in complete notation, and still others were left to the discretion of the solo performer—often the composer himself. Since the baroque era, composers have attempted to indicate their intentions regarding ornaments in precise notation. In the 20th cent. the tendency has been toward a minimum of ornamentation; however, the same period has seen extensive research to make possible the performance of baroque music in the manner of the baroque era.
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