A passage of multiple notes sung to one syllable of text, as in Gregorian chant.
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.
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 Î¼ÎÎ»Î¹ÏƒÎ¼Î± (melisma, “song").