Definition and background:
Musical depiction of words in text. Using the device of word painting, the music tries to imitate the emotion, action, or natural sounds as described in the text. For example, if the text describes a sad event, the music might be in a minor key. Conversely, if the text is joyful, the music may be set in a major key. This device was used often in madrigals and other works of the Renaissance and Baroque.Also text painting.See also eye music. expression via music of ideas of a song
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary