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illustration Quodlibet



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, 15th century


(Literary) A lighthearted medley of well-known tunes.


(Archaic) A topic for or exercise in philosophical or theological discussion.

Examples of Quodlibet in a sentence

"I went to a jazz brunch this weekend that opened with a quodlibet of some of my favorite songs."

"Classic songwriters Irving Berlin and Gilbert & Sullivan were fond of including quodlibets in their tunes."

About Quodlibet

“Quodlibet” is a combination of the Latin words “quod libet,” meaning “that which is pleasing.”

Did you Know?

A “quodlibet” often refers to a medley of songs, but the term can also refer to the insertion of an easily recognizable reference to another song into a new tune. For example, on his 1963 breakthrough single “Fingertips,” Stevie Wonder inserts a quodlibet of the melody of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” into a long harmonica solo. Joni Mitchell’s 1971 song “River” contains a quodlibet melody lifted from the Christmas song “Jingle Bells,” but reimagined in a more melancholy tone. The Beach Boys may have intended “Surfin' USA” to be a quodlibet to Chuck Berry, but Berry still sued for a songwriting credit. Quodlibets are not plagiarized; they are intended to be obvious and recognizable nods to other songs.

illustration Quodlibet

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