The obscure word of the week is motivic

look_it_up_T httpwww.clipartpal.comclipart_pdeducationdictionary_10586.htmlThis week’s really obscure English word is motivic.

It is a musical term related to ‘motif’, the note sequence or ‘hook’ usually held to characterise a specific piece of music. Your challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2017

4 thoughts on “The obscure word of the week is motivic

  1. Actually it is also an mathematical term relating to algebraic K theory as used in engineering. In terms of music it is a quaint way of referring to the thematic in a score (relating o the “motif”). Each composer will demonstrate a motivic that is particular to their works.


    1. The usual (and usually only) dictionary definition is the musical one, derived from ‘motif’. As I understand it, ‘Motivic’ in the sense of field theory has a different origin – derived from ‘motive’ – which technically makes it a different word, though it would be up to any given dictionary editor to judge that. Given that the mathematical term wasn’t devised until the 1980s, and research continues, I suppose it isn’t surprising that it hasn’t been widely picked up yet in general vocabulary.


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