passacaglia

noun
pas·sa·ca·glia | \ˌpä-sə-ˈkäl-yə, ˌpa-sə-ˈkal-yə \

Definition of passacaglia 

1a : an old Italian or Spanish dance tune

b : an instrumental musical composition consisting of variations usually on a ground bass in moderately slow triple time

2 : an old dance performed to a passacaglia

Examples of passacaglia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The ciaccona — or passacaglia, a term often used interchangeably — typically features variations over a repeating bass, and Bollinger chose her examples well. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, "Tracing the ciaccona on a journey through the centuries," 4 May 2018 The Impromptu is structured like a Baroque passacaglia, with an insistent chorale-like theme put through myriad tinkling, brash and eerie variations. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, "Review: A Bold Pianist Rescues an Overlooked Concerto," 9 Feb. 2018

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

First Known Use of passacaglia

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for passacaglia

modification of Spanish pasacalle, from pasar to pass + calle street, from Latin callis path — more at pase

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about passacaglia

Share passacaglia

Dictionary Entries near passacaglia

pasquinade

pass

passable

passacaglia

passacaille

passade

passado

Statistics for passacaglia

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for passacaglia

The first known use of passacaglia was in 1659

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on passacaglia

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about passacaglia

Comments on passacaglia

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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