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Falsobordone is a style of recitation found in music from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Most often associated with the harmonization of Gregorian psalm tones, it is based on root position triads and is first known to have appeared in southern Europe in the 1480s.

Falsobordoni are made up of two sections, each containing a recitation on one chord, followed by a cadence. Their usage was mostly intended for the singing of vespers psalms, but falsobordone can also be found in Passions, Lamentations, reproaches, litanies, psalms, responses, and settings of the Magnificat.

Unlike the etymologically related but largely dissimilar fauxbourdon, falsobordoni have all four vocal parts written out and chiefly use root position triads as opposed to first inversion triads.


  • Bradshaw, Murray C. “Falsobordone,” Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy, <http://grovemusic.com> (subscription access)

Further reading

  • Bradshaw, Murray C. "The Falsobordone: a Study in Renaissance and Baroque Music", Musicological Studies and Documents, (1978).
  • Bradshaw, Murray C. The History of the Falsobordone from its Origins to 1750 (diss., U. of Chicago, 1969)