recitative[res′ə tə tēv′]
- a type of declamatory singing, with the rhythm and tempo of speech, but uttered in musical tones, used in the prose parts and dialogue of operas and oratorios
- a work or passage in this style
- music for such passages
Origin: It recitativo from Classical Latin recitare, recite
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun In both senses also called recitativo.
- A style used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas in which the text is declaimed in the rhythm of natural speech with slight melodic variation and little orchestral accompaniment.
- A passage rendered in this style.
Origin: Italian recitativo, from recitare, to recite, from Latin recitāre; see recite.
recitative - Cultural Definition
A part of a cantata, opera, or oratorio in which singers converse, describe action, or declaim. It moves the action forward between the high musical moments. Recitatives are distinguished from arias, which are more expressive and musically more elaborate. Recitatives usually have only one syllable of text for each note of music, and the accompaniment by instruments is often very simple.