scher·​zo | \ˈskert-(ˌ)sō \
plural scherzos or scherzi\ˈskert-​(ˌ)sē \

Definition of scherzo 

: a sprightly humorous instrumental musical composition or movement commonly in quick triple time

Examples of scherzo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The crucial woodwind solos of the scherzo and third movement brought superb teamwork from the principals, with molten brass and incisive percussion to match. John Von Rhein,, "Semyon Bychkov electrifies Orchestra Hall with blazing CSO account of Tchaikovsky's 'Manfred'," 4 May 2018 The scherzo, in particular, had terrific propulsion. Tim Smith,, "BSO shines in colorful program with Alsop, Gerstein," 2 June 2018 The pulse of the scherzo was insistent in a nervy, exciting fashion that contrasted well with the luxurious way Mr. Dudamel lingered over the third movement’s airier meditations. Seth Colter Walls, New York Times, "Review: Dudamel and Los Angeles Bring the Noise to New York," 30 Apr. 2018 As the movements progressed, however, his true strategy became more evident as the inexorable movement toward consolidation of energy and excitement gave us an intense second movement, a mercurial scherzo, and a finale of rare drive and concision. Zachary Lewis,, "Cleveland Orchestra keeps the flame burning as 'The Prometheus Project' continues (review)," 14 May 2018 Thursday’s performance was out to dazzle and definitely succeeded, leaving the impression of the piece being one breathless scherzo. David Patrick Stearns,, "Philadelphia Orchestra and Helene Grimaud gives a preview of the upcoming Israel tour," 11 May 2018 There was, however, plenty of rhythm in the scherzo, and the finale had a sometimes playful question-and-answer character. Richard S. Ginell,, "Jeremy Denk plays with time, and the program, at the Wallis," 26 Apr. 2018 The scherzo was allowed its craziness, San Francisco style. Mark Swed,, "MTT takes Mahler to a new level in San Francisco Symphony tour," 28 Mar. 2018 The scherzo bristled with a kind of angular ferocity, at once robust and tender. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Copland’s generous patriotism gets boost from SF Symphony," 16 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scherzo.' 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 scherzo

1852, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scherzo

Italian, literally, joke, from scherzare

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The first known use of scherzo was in 1852

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English Language Learners Definition of scherzo

: a lively, humorous piece of music that is played quickly

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