pas·​sage·​work | \ ˈpa-sij-ˌwərk How to pronounce passagework (audio) \

Definition of passagework

: a section of a musical composition characteristically unimportant thematically and consisting especially of ornamental figures

Examples of passagework in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Noseda has a particular way with Beethoven: fresh and helium-light and so fleet that the strings almost floated offstage in the headlong blink-and-you’ll-miss-it passagework of the trio section of the third-movement scherzo. Anne Midgette, Washington Post, "How the NSO and Noseda brought fresh air to the summer heat at Wolf Trap," 28 July 2019 Even in pianissimo passagework high up in his instrument, Bell emphasized beauty of tone and silken legato line. Howard Reich,, "CSO at Ravinia review: Marin Alsop poetically launches Bernstein tribute," 13 July 2018 To achieve this kind of textural lucidity and dramatic sweep amid such heavily scored passagework — and in an outdoor environment, no less — rendered an already-powerful work that much more rhetorically effective. Howard Reich,, "Grant Park Orchestra review: A fitting 80th birthday tribute to William Bolcom," 7 July 2018 Unquestionably, his technical resources are formidable; no finger-knotting chords or tricky passagework daunted him. Marcus Overton,, "San Diego Symphony blazes through Shostakovich as Jahja Ling debuts as Conductor Laureate," 21 Apr. 2018 Chords and passagework came crashing through, always invigorating but rarely particularly poetic in their effect. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Reif steps in to lead S.F. Symphony, with dazzling results," 27 Apr. 2018 Scaglione was a sympathetic partner to Ioniţă’s interpretation, buoying the cellist’s light, quick passagework and underscoring the melancholy of the slower sections of the concerto. Christian Hertzog,, "A game of musical chairs and an impressive debut: Scaglione stellar with the San Diego Symphony," 7 Apr. 2018 Nothing fancy here — no silences or syncopations, no intricate passagework, no self-aggrandizing musical effects. Howard Reich,, "Yes, magician Penn can play jazz bass and proves it at Green Mill," 25 Mar. 2018 Radiant, expansive horn passagework opened the piece, setting the stage for Gunn’s poetic solo. Howard Reich,, "Russell Gunn gets creative with Columbia students," 16 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of passagework

1865, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

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The first known use of passagework was in 1865

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to make a temporary encampment

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