Definition of stretto in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈstrɛtəʊ/

noun (plural stretti /ˈstrɛti/)

1A passage, especially at the end of an aria or movement, to be performed in quicker time.
Example sentences
  • The major-third interval is then employed with its minor counterpart horizontally to help furnish a stretto passage.
  • Elisions, stretti, contractions, prolongations and antiphonal presentations are only some of the devices the composer frequently employs to achieve a pacing that clarifies the overall direction of the melodic trajectory of a piece.
  • One could consider this a contrapuntal jeu d' esprit, with rapid lines of imitation and stretto, but for its character of psychological unease.
1.1A section at the end of a fugue in which successive introductions of the theme follow at shorter intervals than before, increasing the sense of excitement.
Example sentences
  • In one, the four sections of the choir enter one after another with the same material, as in a stretto fugue.
  • The Canzonetta is a contrapuntal work consisting of a series of fugues displaying stretto, contrary motion, and inversion; rhythmic motion tends to be lively, and the detail of musical lines illuminating.
  • They got no louder than a whisper, but began to overlap faster and faster like a stretto in a mad fugue, finally getting stuck on the phrase, ‘I'll see you around.’


(As a direction) in quicker time.
Example sentences
  • It sounds like odd moments of Berlioz, Tchaikovsky or Ravel, but only in respect of isolated chords here and there, a harp glissando upbeat, a stretto passage for the violins.


Italian, literally 'narrow'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stretto

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.