Motif (music)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
For other uses, see motive

In music, a motif is a perceivable or salient recurring fragment or succession of notes that may be used to construct the entirety or parts of complete melodies and themes. A motif is distinguished from a figure in that a motif is foreground while a figure is background: "A figure resembles a moulding in architecture: it is 'open at both ends', so as to be endlessly repeatable. In hearing a phrase as a figure, rather than a motif, we are at the same time placing it in the background, even if it is...strong and melodious." (Scruton 1997: 61) A motif may be harmonic, melodic (pitch) and/or rhythmic (duration).

A motif thematically associated with a person, place, or idea is called a leitmotif.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Motif (music)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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