program music


: music intended to suggest a sequence of images or incidents

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Walsh provides biographical sketches of composers and assessments of their work, and weaves in subplots across decades and geography—the impact of nationalism, the development of program music, the ubiquitous spectre of Beethoven. The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2022 Arutyunyan’s team whizzed by as coaches scrutinized their arm placements, knelt to watch skate movement and replayed the opening notes of one skater’s program music. Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times, 11 Feb. 2022 The Nash has done its best to program music during the pandemic. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 3 June 2021 The Miami location, layered in murals by local artists, has a partnership with Sweat Records, the Little Haiti vinyl mecca that will help program music and provide records in the brewery’s onsite shop. Ben Crandell,, 12 May 2021 The 21-year-old's concerts mix programmed music with his skilled keyboard performance, and watching him churn out complicated and speedy refrains and chords onstage is like watching Louis Cole's drumming, only on keyboards instead. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 7 Feb. 2020 Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and the Narashino High School brass band appeared together on the popular music program Music Station on Nov. 8 and performed the track live on TV for the first time. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 14 Nov. 2019 Which just goes to show that the computer doesn't always know how to program music. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, 19 June 2018 Completed in the early 1700s, the piece is a celebrated example of program music, or instrumentals involving a narrative element. Lawrence Elizabeth Knox, Houston Chronicle, 13 June 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'program music.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1857, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of program music was in 1857

Dictionary Entries Near program music

Cite this Entry

“Program music.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

program music

: music that is inspired by or that describes a story or a sequence of images

More from Merriam-Webster on program music

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