Melisma definition

mə-lĭzmə
A passage of multiple notes sung to one syllable of text, as in Gregorian chant.
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A succession of different notes sung upon a single syllable, as orig. in plainsong or, now esp., in the ornamental phrases of Near Eastern and Asian music.
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(music) A passage of several notes sung to one syllable of text, as in Gregorian chant.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
melisma
Plural:
melismas, melismata

Origin of melisma

  • Greek melody from melizein to sing from melos song

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Ancient Greek μέλισμα (melisma, “song").

    From Wiktionary