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,, "Thursday’s CSO concert featured 2 debuts. One was impressive.," 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,, "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.

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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

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Time Traveler for passacaglia

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The first known use of passacaglia was in 1659

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Cite this Entry

“Passacaglia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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