Quodlibet

Quodlibet

ˈkwädləˌbet

Noun

  • (Archaic) A topic for or exercise in philosophical or theological discussion.
  • (Literary) A lighthearted medley of well-known tunes.

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Example Sentences

“I went to a jazz brunch last weekend that opened with a quodlibet of some of my favorite songs.”

“Classic songwriters Irving Berlin and Gilbert & Sullivan were fond of including quodlibets in their tunes.”

“I could only name two of the songs in the quodlibet, but I know I’ve heard them all before.”

Word Origin

Latin, 15th century

Why this word?

“Quodlibet” is a combination of the Latin words “quod” and “libet,” directly translating to “that which is pleasing.” But the more modern usage of this Latin term is “song mashup.” Think of a cover band playing a medley of the choruses of crowd-pleasing tunes, or a classic Hollywood movie showcasing dancers twirling to a medley of well-known songs. The “Pitch Perfect” movie series brought the tradition into the 21st century with its acapella riff-offs (improvised quodlibets). In the first movie, the Barden Bellas lost to the Treblemakers as the groups sang a quodlibet including “Mickey” by Toni Basil, “Like a Virgin” by Madonna,” “No Diggity” by Blackstreet, and “S&M” by Rihanna.

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