: without instrumental accompaniment
Did You Know?
A cappella arrived in English from Italian sometime around the late-18th century. In Italian, a cappella means "in chapel or choir style." Cappella is the Italian word for "chapel"; the English word chapel is ultimately (if independently) derived from the Medieval Latin word cappella, which is the source of the Italian cappella as well. Scholars once thought all "chapel style" music written before the 1600s was performed a cappella, but modern research has revealed that instruments might have doubled or substituted for some voices back then. Today a cappella describes a purely vocal performance.
The audience quieted when the singer walked out and began singing a cappella.
"… one woman came all the way from Portugal to sing an a cappella version of 'Space Oddity'…. She repeated before and after her solo how much she appreciated Bowie's sense of humor." — Joy C. Mitchell, billboard.com, 17 Jan. 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to create a word for a leader of the singing of a choir: p _ _ c _ nt _ r.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP