rec·​i·​ta·​tive | \ ˌre-sə-tə-ˈtēv How to pronounce recitative (audio) , ˌre-stə- \

Definition of recitative

1 : a rhythmically free vocal style that imitates the natural inflections of speech and that is used for dialogue and narrative in operas and oratorios also : a passage to be delivered in this style

Other Words from recitative

recitative adjective

Examples of recitative in a Sentence

the second recitative of Act II The opera made use of recitative.
Recent Examples on the Web The result is a strictly musical (that is, without dialogue or recitative) compendium of the luminaries of the age: Couperin, Lully, Marais, and Charpentier. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 24 Mar. 2022 Musical declamation of the kind usual in the narrative and dialogue parts of opera and oratorio, sung in the rhythm of ordinary speech with many words on the same note: singing in recitative. Zadie Smith, The New Yorker, 23 Jan. 2022 All of the recitative is cut, along with the choruses. New York Times, 30 Apr. 2021 Her entrance to the short second recitative was particularly noteworthy, powerful without being overbearing. Matthew J. Palm,, 22 Feb. 2021 His soliloquy consists of a grim prelude, a spacious recitative and a grand aria in the standard two-part (slow-fast) form. Will Crutchfield, New York Times, 21 Feb. 2020 Holding it all together was conductor Harry Bicket, who also played harpsichord for the recitatives. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, 7 Feb. 2020 Hugo Hymas was responsible for both the Evangelist’s zealous recitatives and the first choir’s tenor part, and rose admirably to his Herculean task. Globe Staff,, 12 June 2019 Thanks to the conductor Ryan Brown and the four singers, the recitatives between the set pieces stayed suspenseful; the act took us through quite a spectrum. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of recitative

1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for recitative

Italian recitativo, from recitare to recite, from Latin

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The first known use of recitative was in 1654

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Cite this Entry

“Recitative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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