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The term Tirata (from Italian : tirare , "to pull") describes a musical figure .

Tirata is also translated as word effusion or rush of speech, but without any reference to a fixed meaning or a uniform use of the musical figure referred to as Tirata. Since the possibilities of their semantic connotation are as diverse as their manifestations, the relevant treatises are essentially limited to a technical description of the musical phenomenon.

First of all, all descriptions agree that they understand Tirata to be a sequence of equivalent notes that are arranged in steps of ascending or descending order. There is also broad agreement regarding the types of Tirata, which are differentiated by their pitch range, and their respective names. These types are:

  • Tirata mezza , includes a fifth (with Elias Walther either a fifth or a fourth)
  • Tirata defectiva , exceeds the fifth but does not reach the octave
  • Tirata perfecta , comprises exactly one octave
  • Tirata aucta , crosses the octave

If these four types are listed in full by both Wolfgang Caspar Printz and Walther, Johann Mattheson and Meinrad Spieß only contain two types of Tirata (mezza and perfecta), with Mattheson even completely dispensing with the terminological distinction.

As far as the note values ​​of the notes that come together to form the Tirata are concerned, there are clear differences in the explanations of the various theorists, which Mattheson also explicitly addresses: In contrast to Walther, for example, the Tirata means for him “a shot or an arrow, but not as most commentators want, a move or a line [...] because the voice is not just dragged or deleted, but shoots up or down with force, and moves very quickly [...] ". Although this question is not specifically discussed by Printz and Spieß, the examples they cite for this figure speak more for an understanding of Tirata in the sense of Mattheson.


  • Bartel, Dietrich: Handbook of musical figures , Laaber 1985