—quodlibetic, quodlibetical, adj. —quodlibeticlly, adv./kwod"leuh bet'/, n.1. a subtle or elaborate argument or point of debate, usually on a theological or scholastic subject.2. Music. a humorous composition consisting of two or more independent and harmonically complementary melodies, usually quotations of well-known tunes, played or sung together, usually to different texts, in a polyphonic arrangement.[1350-1400; ME < ML quodlibetum; cf. L quod libet what pleases, as you please]
* * *▪ musicLatin“what you will”musical composition in which several well-known melodies are combined, either simultaneously or, less frequently, sequentially, for humorous effect. Quodlibet can also refer to an amalgamation of different song texts in a vocal composition. While simultaneous combinations of two or more melodies go back to the 13th century (motets using, for example, a chant melody and a secular tune), quodlibets were especially popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. In Germany numerous instances are found in manuscript collections of polyphonic (multipart) songs. An English example is the Cries of London by Orlando Gibbons. Perhaps the best-known quodlibet is the finale of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations for harpsichord (published 1742). Terms related to quodlibet technique include fricassée (French: “hash”), ensalada (Spanish: “salad”), centone (Italian: “patchwork”), and, in later centuries, medley and potpourri.
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