melisma

noun
me·​lis·​ma | \ mi-ˈliz-mə How to pronounce melisma (audio) \
plural melismata\ mi-​ˈliz-​mə-​tə How to pronounce melisma (audio) \

Definition of melisma

1 : a group of notes or tones sung on one syllable in plainsong
2 : melodic embellishment
3 : cadenza

Other Words from melisma

melismatic \ ˌme-​ləz-​ˈma-​tik How to pronounce melisma (audio) \ adjective

Examples of melisma in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the place of the Mariah Carey melisma that young vocalists often try to use to prove their chops, a lot of the newbie emcees attempt the high-speed, rat-a-tat delivery of rappers like Twista and Eminem. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 9 Oct. 2019 But, even beyond Simone’s lyrics, her integrative technique itself—her use of gospel piano, blues melisma, classical riffs—refutes myths of black deprivation. Emily Lordi, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2019 Franklin’s four-octave range and mastery of melisma made her a force to be reckoned with both on record and on the stage. Naima Cochrane, Vox, 16 Aug. 2018 His tonal, accessible, sometimes ravishing music combines the pulsing energy of minimalism with the sensuous melismas of ancient troubadour music and archaic dance forms. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, 18 Mar. 2018 The cast hasn’t a weak link, but Baráth was a standout, dispensing machine-gun melismas with ease as the warrior princess Bradamante. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 10 June 2019 Franklin’s four-octave range and mastery of melisma made her a force to be reckoned with both on record and on the stage. Naima Cochrane, Vox, 16 Aug. 2018 His tonal, accessible, sometimes ravishing music combines the pulsing energy of minimalism with the sensuous melismas of ancient troubadour music and archaic dance forms. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, 18 Mar. 2018 The luminosity of Christina Pecce’s soprano seems right for the otherworldly Helen; her wordless melismas at the very end are particularly effective. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, 15 Mar. 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of melisma

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for melisma

New Latin, from Greek, song, melody, from melizein to sing, from melos song

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The first known use of melisma was in 1837

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Dictionary Entries Near melisma

melis

melisma

melismatics

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Cite this Entry

“Melisma.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/melisma. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on melisma

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about melisma

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