pas·​sage·​work ˈpa-sij-ˌwərk How to pronounce passagework (audio)
: a section of a musical composition characteristically unimportant thematically and consisting especially of ornamental figures

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Mamora rippled through virtuosic passagework, and there was plenty to enjoy in his shaping of melodies. Dallas News, 25 June 2022 The orchestra showed an impressive ability to build energy over time, and later, triumphant fugal passagework displayed more of the high level of ensemble synchrony in winds and strings that characterizes the orchestra’s present sound. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2022 However, at times that power drained away during rapid passagework, sometimes dragging behind the beat. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Aug. 2022 This excellent young South Korean pianist played with fire and delicacy in equal measure, and a certain lyrical quality dominated even some of the densest passagework. Jeremy Eichler,, 25 July 2022 The coruscating passagework made a nice complement to Ravel’s piano writing. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Oct. 2021 The performer whispers text fragments into the flute, while navigating quick leaping passagework and unconventional techniques, including pitch bends, flutter tonguing and multiphonics (two or more notes produced at once). Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 22 Sep. 2021 But faster passagework was occasionally rough-hewn. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 16 Mar. 2021 Jackiw also dispatched acrobatic passagework with absolute control, clearly brought out each note in double and triple stops — even in rapid sections — and spun out the silkiest of legatos in the slow movement. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 9 Jan. 2021 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1865, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of passagework was in 1865

Dictionary Entries Near passagework

Cite this Entry

“Passagework.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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