round

round, in music, a perpetual canon on a tune that returns to its beginning in which all the voices enter at the unison or the octave. An example is Sumer Is Icumen In . Rounds were popular in 17th-century England when the catch reached its height. The catch was originally just a simple round, e.g., Three Blind Mice, written in a single line with the effect gained by having another singer come in ( make the catch ) at the right time. Later, comic effects, often quite bawdy, were added, using the interweaving of the parts. The Rounds, Catches and Canons of England (1864) by E. F. Rimbault is a comprehensive collection. The term round was also used to designate a dance performed in a circle and, by extension, to the tunes for such dances.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.