A melodic ornament in which a principal tone is rapidly alternated with the tone a half or full step below.
(music) An ornament made by a single rapid alternation of a principal tone with a subsidiary tone a half step or whole step below: in a double mordent there are two alternations: in an inverted mordent the subsidiary tone is a half step or whole step above the principal tone.
Origin of mordent
- German from Italian mordente from mordere to bite from Vulgar Latin mordere from Latin mordēre mer- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition