toc·​ca·​ta | \ tə-ˈkä-tə How to pronounce toccata (audio) \

Definition of toccata

: 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 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,, "Best classical albums of 2019: World premieres, historic revivals and enticingly eclectic music," 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, "Review: Dudamel channels American cowboys, indigenous Mexicans, ethnic groups of South America," 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,, "Thursday’s CSO concert featured 2 debuts. One was impressive.," 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, "From Tehran to America," 31 Mar. 2017 In short, in Carroccia’s hands Hamelin’s toccata seemed a work of art, not an exercise. Olin Chism,, "Italian pianist turns melody into magic at Cliburn competition," 27 May 2017 Then came a virtuosic performance of Hamelin’s toccata that seemed somehow kind of menacing. Olin Chism,, "Review: Cliburn’s first day ends with three strong performances," 25 May 2017 On Easter Sunday last month, a nut fell off one of the rods leading to a pipe for a low F, a crucial note for a coming toccata. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, "An Organ Master Who’s Part Musician, Part Mechanic," 18 May 2017 The finale starts with a motoric toccata that could have come from Bartók, then moves on to imitate an Irish jig, before adding a bit of boogie-woogie; the suave opening of the work draws from the luxe urbanity of Poulenc. Russell Platt, The New Yorker, "A New Recording Makes the Case for the Soviet Composer Mieczysław Weinberg," 1 Mar. 2017

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

circa 1724, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for toccata

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

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Time Traveler for toccata

Time Traveler

The first known use of toccata was circa 1724

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Cite this Entry

“Toccata.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of toccata

music : a piece of music for the piano or a similar instrument that is played very quickly

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