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Related to ostinatos: Basso ostinato, Ostinati


n. pl. os·ti·na·tos
A short melody or pattern that is constantly repeated, usually in the same part at the same pitch.

[Italian, from Latin obstinātus, stubborn, past participle of obstināre, to persist; see obstinate.]
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.


(Classical Music)
a. a continuously reiterated musical phrase
b. (as modifier): an ostinato passage.
[Italian: from Latin obstinātus obstinate]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌɒs tɪˈnɑ toʊ)

n., pl. -tos.
a musical pattern, as a melodic figure, repeated continuously throughout a composition.
[1875–80; < Italian: literally, obstinate < Latin obstinātus obstinate]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.ostinato - a musical phrase repeated over and over during a composition
ground bass - a short melody in the bass that is constantly repeated
musical phrase, phrase - a short musical passage
riff - a jazz ostinato; usually provides a background for a solo improvisation
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Although this book does not deal with improvisation, one could easily excerpt some of the chord progressions to create ostinatos for improvisation.
The Balinese inspirations are clear--pentatonic scales, layered parts, percussive effects, call and response, even some improvisation effects in the form of solos over ostinatos. The trumpets are asked to play with harmon mutes throughout, creating a characteristic "metallic" ensemble sound; the resulting softer volume may be compensated for with amplification, if desired.
Glass maintains a minimalist aesthetic throughout much of the work, and his delicately layered ostinatos, undulating rhythms, and long lyrical lines thoughtfully complement Disney's nostalgic ruminations and creeping paranoia.
Simplistic ostinatos, simple motifs, layered with low register instruments, played at their lowest notes, then electronically pull the sound down even lower.
The volume History of Czrch Music Culture II states as the key attributes of Constructivism manifestations of the "Constructivist (rational) calculus" and "musical ornaments [...] units as though extracted from the musical process--figurations and ostinatos whose rational provenience is beyond any doubt".
Janacek's 1926 expressionist masterpiece offers inexhaustible possibilities, starting with the overture with its thematic and sonorous density, obsessional ostinatos and relentless tonal meanderings.
Cascades of arpeggios and rhythmic ostinatos are dominant characteristics in a post-modern mix of classical and rock/pop traditions.
Mawer does well to mention the lost manuscript Deux poimes tupis, inspired by Indians from Brazil and Paraguay, for four women's voices and handclap, as an example of the use of rhythmic ostinatos. Another forgotten, though extant, score could also be mentioned: L'ours et la lune (1918), for a play by Claudel, involving the superimposition of rhythmically and textually independent lines, is a sign of Milhaud's emerging interest in counterpoint.
In music, a recurring melodic fragment is called an ostinato. In the music room, students work in teams to compose their own ostinatos and then perform their original music for other groups.
Among the most impressive movements are those based on ostinatos; for example, the Ciacona (Canon in unisono) from Partia no.3, which is no less attractive than Pachelbel's more familiar canon for three violins.
It's grown more supple and encompassing, incorporating bluesy vamps and jazzy voicings and minimalist ostinatos and even the occasional full-throated Romantic melody.