noun (plural melismas or melismata /-mətə/)Music
A group of notes sung to one syllable of text.
- The opulent, yet bright orchestration and the chromatic melismata around the tritone and the melodic minor scale all point toward the composer of Schelomo.
- A successful production of Poppea depends not upon operatic voices but upon singing actors who can color their voices and make drama out of the expressive melismas and coloratura.
- The melisma is a transposition of the notes E, F, C and B, and it appears frequently throughout the work.
- Example sentences
- The musical style of these songs varies from simple, syllabic melodies to elaborately flowing compositions modelled on melismatic plainchant.
- The swooping and soaring melody, very Eastern in its melismatic cut, is punctuated and embellished by the other three string instruments and by the piano.
- Bach writes the subject in one huge, melismatic (many notes per syllable) arc, and you're not supposed to break the line by gulping in air.
Late 19th century: from Greek, literally 'melody'.
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