1. The prolongation of a tone, chord, or rest beyond its indicated time value.
2. The sign indicating this prolongation.
[Italian, from feminine past participle of fermare, to stop, from Latin firmāre, to make firm, from firmus, firm; see dher- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)fermata
from St. Matthew Passion (1729) by
Johann Sebastian Bach
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