(redirected from Melismatic singing)


n. pl. me·lis·ma·ta (-mə-tə) or me·lis·mas
A passage of multiple notes sung to one syllable of text, as in Gregorian chant.

[Greek, melody, from melizein, to sing, from melos, song.]

mel′is·mat′ic (mĕl′ĭz-măt′ĭk) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -mata (-mətə) or -mas
(Music, other) music an expressive vocal phrase or passage consisting of several notes sung to one syllable
[C19: from Greek: melody]
melismatic adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(mɪˈlɪz mə)

n., pl. -mas, -ma•ta (-mə tə)
a musical phrase of several notes sung to one syllable, as in plainsong.
[1605–15; < Greek mélisma song. See melody, -ism]
mel•is•mat•ic (ˌmɛl ɪzˈmæt ɪk) adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(8) Through this instruction, the student perfects his intonation, and "[endeavors] to gain by Degrees the high Notes, that by the Help of this Exercise he may acquire as much Compass of the Voice as possible." (9) Once solfeggio has been thoroughly mastered, Tosi outlines a substantial plan for the further acquisition of vocal technique, including the messa di voce, legato singing through study of appogiature, trills ("Of the Shake"), and two kinds of melismatic singing, "mark'd Divisions," compared to the staccato on a violin, and "gliding [Divisions]...
Overall, the singing is a combination of syllabic (one tone on a single syllable of text) and melismatic styles (several tones sung on a single syllable of text), with a substantial degree of melismatic singing especially in the early part of the chant.
It's also interesting how rich Spanish music is in its influences, sharing that decorative, melismatic singing style of North African music, as well as the tango strains that have reflected back from Argentina.
The example of kora-accompanied melismatic singing is hardly melismatic, and in fact very little of it involves any kind of singing.
The approach yielded exceptional clarity but the effect created was fairly ludicrous.) One is more apt to enjoy her in repertoire with little or no melismatic singing. For that reason, the top recommendation for an aria collection is an Omnium disk titled Homage Aan Cristina Deutekom that supplements the expected coloratura showpieces with excerpts from Puccini's Turandot and Verdi's Otello.
Virtuoso-level melismatic singing, major vocal and emotional dynamic changes, and extended use of vocal range all serve as powerful tools of expression during the performance of this music.
In syllabic singing, only one note is sung per syllable, whereas in melismatic singing, a series of notes are sung on the same vowel.