scher·​zo | \ ˈskert-(ˌ)sō How to pronounce scherzo (audio) \
plural scherzos or scherzi\ ˈskert-​(ˌ)sē How to pronounce scherzi (audio) \

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

There was grandeur in the marchlike second movement; an aptly rolling tempo in the scherzo; and shades of Mussorgsky in the finale. Howard Reich,, "Grant Park Orchestra review: A visually daunting season-opener with Mayor Lori Lightfoot," 13 June 2019 Loyal critics proclaimed it a triumph—from its opening stately melody on the cellos, the searing funeral march, the frenetic, disorienting scherzo, through to the final reiteration of the heroic theme on the brass. National Geographic, "How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic," 24 Apr. 2019 So when the scherzo movement misfired and required a retake, the audience seemed to care about as much as when a drink spills at a boisterous party, which is to say, not at all. Jeremy Eichler,, "At Rockport, ushering in a new chapter with Tchaikovsky, Golijov, and high spirits," 17 June 2018 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

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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Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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The first known use of scherzo was in 1852

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English Language Learners Definition of scherzo

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

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