noun (plural arses /-ˌsēz/)Prosody
The unstressed syllable of a metrical foot. The opposite of thesis (sense 3). To the Greeks, the two terms designated the raising and lowering of the foot in walking, but their meanings became reversed in the Latin tradition, where grammarians identified them with the lowering and raising of the voice.
- Comparable to the inversion of geometric patterns, a melodic line could be played in reverse order (temporal thesis) or inverted and presented as the mirror image of the original (temporal arsis).
Late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek, literally 'lifting', from airein 'raise'.
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