toc·​ca·​ta tə-ˈkä-tə How to pronounce toccata (audio)
: a musical composition usually for organ or harpsichord in a free style and characterized by full chords, rapid runs, and high harmonies

Examples of toccata in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the middle of one conversation, the architect suddenly popped out of his chair, walked over to a Steinway and started to play a Bach toccata. David Rockwell, New York Times, 7 Mar. 2023 On TikTok, Lapwood does get the occasional negative comment — such as a poster complaining about the expressively fluctuating tempo in her performance of a Bach toccata. Alex Marshall, New York Times, 21 Dec. 2022 Harpsichordist Esfahani applies meticulous scholarship to this process yet has produced a vivid recording built on animated performances appropriate to the toccata form. Howard Reich,, 27 Nov. 2019 The knock-’em-dead toccata that ends the concerto represents a festive winter solstice gathering of Guarani ethnic groups who cover vast swaths of South America. Los Angeles Times, 11 Oct. 2019 The grandeur of the passacaglia, the urgency of the toccata and the majesty of the chorale reminded listeners of this work’s value. Howard Reich,, 10 Oct. 2019 The sun in my eyes and the beauty of the toccata threw me back to a time when there was no light in my life, despite the brightest sun shining in Tehran’s sky. Coastmag, Orange County Register, 31 Mar. 2017 In short, in Carroccia’s hands Hamelin’s toccata seemed a work of art, not an exercise. Olin Chism,, 27 May 2017 Then came a virtuosic performance of Hamelin’s toccata that seemed somehow kind of menacing. Olin Chism,, 25 May 2017 See More

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

Word History


Italian, from toccare to touch, from Vulgar Latin — more at touch entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1724, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of toccata was circa 1724

Dictionary Entries Near toccata

Cite this Entry

“Toccata.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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