EtymologyProto Indo-European *ghredh
The Latin phrase Gradus ad Parnassum means "Steps to Parnassus". It is sometimes shortened to Gradus. Mount Parnassus was, by some accounts in Greek mythology, the home of the Muses – the nine goddesses of the arts. The phrase has therefore been used to refer to various books of instruction, or guides to making progress in literature, music, or the arts in general.
The first application of the phrase is to a kind of Latin or Greek dictionary, in which the quantities of the vowels are marked in the words, to help beginners. Modern dictionaries of Greek and Latin are usually of this type. For example, the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon (1843) and its current derivatives give quantity information where it is crucial and where it is available; so do Charles Lewis and Charlton Short's A Latin Dictionary (1879) and its derivatives. Synonyms, epithets, and poetical expressions and extracts are also included under the more important headings, the whole being intended as an aid for students in Greek and Latin verse composition. The first Latin gradus was compiled in 1687 by the Jesuit Paul Aler (1656-1727), a famous schoolmaster. There is a Latin gradus by C.D. Yonge (1850); English-Latin by AC Ainger and HG Wintle (1890); Latin-French by F.J.M. Noël (1810); Greek by Thomas Morell (1762, new ed. ed. by E. Maltby, Bishop of Durham (1815); John Brasse (1828).
Gradus ad Parnassum is the name of a seminal textbook on counterpoint written by Johann Joseph Fux in 1725, but used well into the 20th century for instruction in musical theory and composition. Leopold Mozart is said to have taught his son Wolfgang from its pages. JS Bach and Beethoven both held it in great esteem, and Haydn meticulously worked out each of its exercises.
Gradus ad Parnassum is a collection of instructional piano pieces by Muzio Clementi.
Gradus ad Parnassum is also a collection of instructional violin studies by Ernst Heim.
Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum is a satirical piano composition by Claude Debussy, from his suite Children's Corner, poking fun at Muzio Clementi's collection.
gradus in Japanese: グラドゥス・アド・パルナッスム
gradus in Polish: Gradus ad Parnassum