melisma

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

Definition of melisma

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

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Other Words from melisma

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

Examples of melisma in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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, "Toni Morrison and Nina Simone, United in Soul," 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, "Aretha Franklin’s long reign as the Queen of Soul, explained in 12 performances," 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, "A gay love affair in '50s D.C. plays out to touching effect in 'Fellow Travelers'," 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, "With ‘Orlando generoso,’ a generous helping of baroque opera," 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, "Aretha Franklin’s long reign as the Queen of Soul, explained in 12 performances," 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, "A gay love affair in '50s D.C. plays out to touching effect in 'Fellow Travelers'," 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, "Chicago Fringe Opera's bare-bones staging of 'Great God Pan' brings more spills than chills," 15 Mar. 2018 Their brisk tempos meant engaging elite musicians who could keep up during the piece’s challenging melisma runs. Michael O’donnell, WSJ, "Review: Another Reason to Rejoice Greatly," 8 Dec. 2017

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.

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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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Statistics for melisma

Time Traveler for melisma

The first known use of melisma was in 1837

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More from Merriam-Webster on melisma

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about melisma

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