AskDefine | Define duration

Dictionary Definition



1 the period of time during which something continues [syn: continuance]
2 the property of enduring or continuing in time [syn: continuance]
3 continuance in time; "the ceremony was of short duration"; "he complained about the length of time required" [syn: length]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /djuːɹeɪʃn̩/


  1. An amount of time or a particular time interval
  2. (in the singular, not followed by "of") The time taken for the current situation to end, especially the current war
    Rationing will last at least for the duration.


amount of time

Extensive Definition

A duration is an amount of time or a particular time interval. For example, an event in the common sense has a duration greater than zero (but not very long), but in certain specialized senses (such as in the theory of relativity), a duration of zero. It is often cited as one of the fundamental aspects of music, see also rhythm.
Durations, and their beginnings and endings, may be described as long, short, or taking a specific amount of time. Often duration is described according to terms borrowed from descriptions of pitch. As such, the duration complement is the amount of different durations used, the duration scale is an ordering (scale) of those durations from shortest to longest, the duration range is the difference in length between the shortest and longest, and the duration hierarchy is an ordering of those durations based on frequency of use (DeLone et al. (Eds.), 1975, chap. 3).
Durational patterns are the foreground details projected against a background metric structure, which includes meter, tempo, and all rhythmic aspects which produce temporal regularity or structure. Duration patterns may be divided into rhythmic units and rhythmic gestures. (DeLone et al. (Eds.), 1975, chap. 3) However, they may also be described using terms borrowed from the metrical feet of poetry: iamb (weak-strong), anapest (weak-weak-strong), trochee (strong-weak), dactyl (strong-weak-weak), and amphibrach (weak-strong-weak), which may overlap to explain ambigouity (Cooper and Meyer, 1960).


  • Cooper and Meyer (1960). The Rhythmic Structure of Music. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-11522-4. Cited in Delone directly below.
  • DeLone et al. (Eds.) (1975). Aspects of Twentieth-Century Music. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-049346-5.
duration in German: Dauer
duration in French: Periode
duration in Portuguese: duração
duration in Russian: Длительность звука
duration in Ukrainian: Тривалості (музика)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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