pas·​sa·​ca·​glia | \ ˌpä-sə-ˈkäl-yə How to pronounce passacaglia (audio) , ˌpa-sə-ˈkal-yə How to pronounce passacaglia (audio) \

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 grandeur of the passacaglia, the urgency of the toccata and the majesty of the chorale reminded listeners of this work’s value. Howard Reich,, 10 Oct. 2019 The ciaccona — or passacaglia, a term often used interchangeably — typically features variations over a repeating bass, and Bollinger chose her examples well. Jeremy Eichler,, 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, 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

Learn More About passacaglia

Time Traveler for passacaglia

Time Traveler

The first known use of passacaglia was in 1659

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near passacaglia




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for passacaglia

Cite this Entry

“Passacaglia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on passacaglia Encyclopedia article about passacaglia


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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