Fauxbourdon (also fauxbordon, and also commonly two words: faux bourdon or faulx bourdon, and in Italian falso bordone) – French for false drone – is a technique of musical harmonisation used in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, particularly by composers of the Burgundian School. Guillaume Dufay was a prominent practitioner of the form (as was John Dunstaple), and may have been its inventor. The homophony and mostly parallel harmony allows the text of the mostly liturgical lyrics to be understood clearly.


In its simplest form, fauxbourdon consists of the cantus firmus and two other parts a sixth and a perfect fourth below. To prevent monotony, or create a cadence, the lowest voice sometimes jumps down to the octave, and any of the accompanying voices may have minor embellishments. Usually just a small part of a composition employs the fauxbourdon technique.

Example of fauxbourdon. This is a portion of Ave Maris Stella, a Marian Antiphon, in a setting by Guillaume Dufay, transcribed into modern notation. The top and bottom lines are freely composed; the middle line, designated "fauxbourdon" in the original, follows the contours of the top line while always remaining exactly a perfect fourth below. The bottom line is often, but not always, a sixth below the top line; it is embellished, and reaches cadences on the octave. About this soundPlay 
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català: Faux-bourdon
čeština: Fauxbourdon
Deutsch: Fauxbourdon
español: Fauxbourdon
Esperanto: Falsobordono
français: Faux-bourdon
italiano: Falso bordone
עברית: פובורדון
Кыргызча: Фобурдон
Nederlands: Faux bourdon
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русский: Фобурдон
svenska: Faux-bourdon
українська: Фобурдон