Definition of toccata in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /təˈkɑːtə/


A musical composition for a keyboard instrument designed to exhibit the performer’s touch and technique.
Example sentences
  • Most people will agree that J S Bach composed the greatest keyboard toccatas precisely because he, more than any composer, was master of maximal emotional intensity, countered by acute intellectual lucidity.
  • However, it is important to note that this also finds parallels in the keyboard toccatas of a number of North German composers.
  • She not only gets the steel and rhythm of the toccatas (and power without pounding), but above all she generates a wealth of color and an inexorable musical line, whether loud or soft.


Early 18th century: from Italian, feminine past participle of toccare 'to touch'.

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.