glis·​san·​do | \ gli-ˈsän-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce glissando (audio) \
plural glissandi\ gli-​ˈsän-​(ˌ)dē How to pronounce glissandi (audio) \ or glissandos

Definition of glissando

: a rapid sliding up or down the musical scale

Examples of glissando in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the score, these processes of obliteration are mimicked in distortions of instrumental voices: coarse attacks, underblown and overblown notes, tongue slaps, glissandos, all manner of scraping and scrubbing sounds in the percussion. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Víkingur Ólafsson, Liza Lim, and a Surge of Streaming in Quarantine," 27 Apr. 2020 That sound was the central element of the work, written for string quartet, and Merivale kept it interesting by continually varying the nature, tempo, range and instrumentation of each glissando. Howard Reich,, "CSO’s MusicNOW review: Welcome new sounds from Eliza Brown and Wang Lu," 8 Oct. 2019 Some of these events recurred, like glissandos, playing on the bridge, and furiously bowed tremolos. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: At Fresh Sound concert, Flux Quartet challenges listeners with daring works," 7 Aug. 2019 Whose soul doesn’t soar at the sound of that remarkable opening, with its clarinet glissando? Will Friedwald, WSJ, "‘A Rhapsody in Blue: The Extraordinary Life of Oscar Levant’ Review," 21 Aug. 2018 This inspired some of the others to cry out as well, until the room rang with the crisscrossing glissandos of primate music. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Read an excerpt from Kim Stanley Robinson’s next book," 18 Oct. 2018 Scales fly up and down, one impeccable glissando at a time, pausing briefly before climbing to the next half-step. Paul Klenk, New York Times, "‘Godfather Waltz’," 2 July 2018 Particularly striking is the third movement, packed with eerie string glissandos that set off the orgiastic climaxes that follow. John Von Rhein,, "Riccardo Muti and Yo-Yo Ma turn up the heat in an all-Russian program," 15 June 2018 Impressionistic string arpeggios, along with other rapid figures, moody thick chords and glissandi pervade much of the piece. Mark Swed,, "Salonen's 'Pollux' supplies some grunge for L.A. Phil tour," 16 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glissando.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of glissando

circa 1854, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glissando

probably modification of French glissade

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about glissando

Time Traveler for glissando

Time Traveler

The first known use of glissando was circa 1854

See more words from the same year

Statistics for glissando

Last Updated

11 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Glissando.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on glissando

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glissando

Comments on glissando

What made you want to look up glissando? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!