Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An elaborate, ornamental melodic flourish interpolated into an aria or other vocal piece.
  • n. An extended virtuosic section for the soloist usually near the end of a movement of a concerto.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A part of a piece of music, such as a concerto, that is very decorative and is played by a single musician.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A parenthetic flourish or flight of ornament in the course of a piece, commonly just before the final cadence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music, a more or less elaborate flourish or showy passage introduced, often extemporaneously, just before the end of an extended aria or concerto, or as a connective between an intermediate and a final division.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a brilliant solo passage occurring near the end of a piece of music

Etymologies

Italian, from Old Italian, cadence; see cadence.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The novel implicitly asks that we take the reading of a novel to be a unique experience, not just another rote variation on an a pre-established theme, just as Laster's "cadenza" is unlike any previously heard.

    Experimental Fiction

  • Schnittke's cadenza for Beethoven's violin concerto ... which begins with the Joachim cadenza from the Brahms!!

    Salvati dunque e scolpati

  • The word cadenza, Hoffman explains, comes from the word cadence - a closing sequence in a piece of music.

    NPR Topics: News

  • Part II: Allegro Part III: Tempo I This becomes clear in the solo "cadenza," an Impressionist reverie in which a complex mood is evoked, requiring a titanic struggle to be played with a single hand.

    Sound of One Hand Playing

  • And promptly tell your poet that the rhyme "cadenza"

    Punch, Or The London Charivari, Volume 101, July 11, 1891

  • Denk deserves credit for using Beethoven's long-winded cadenza and giving it a blood and thunder performance out of a Liszt drawing room, which may have cemented his relationship with the audience.

    Laurence Vittes: Jeremy Denk Meets Gustavo and Beethoven on the Hill at Mouse Hall

  • Her harmonically exploratory, third movement cadenza sounded freshly composed on the spot, and her dreamy, exotically pitch-bent treatment of the concerto's slow movement (against very Middle Eastern-sounding color from the droning bass and skittering arpeggios on the lutes) proved an atmospheric delight.

    English Concert at Library of Congress

  • The equivalent highlight of last month's show was a highly dramatic "Body and Soul," which he exalted like a tenor tour do force—at the end of the final cadenza, he seemed to be hoisting the melody up above his head, like a triumphant pro wrestler about to heave his opponent across the ring.

    Some Swinging Stalwarts and Surprises

  • It was a pleasure to listen to him, and Eschenbach, in the role of collaborator (at which he excels), supported, accompanied, and sometimes -- in the cadenza -- simply listened along with everyone else.

    Audience enthusiastically greets imperfect NSO opening gala

  • It is certainly difficult to play, not only for the pianist and orchestra – who must continually wrestle with dense, muddy scoring – but also the piano itself, which barely survived the final cadenza, the muscular Denis Matsuev's assault on the instrument egged on by Bacchic interjections from woodwind and brass.

    Matsuev/LSO/Gergiev

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Comments

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  • This word was used in the movie "Peter Pan."

    June 21, 2012

  • It is if you whistle it the right way.

    February 8, 2008

  • You mean this is *not* an article of furniture?

    February 8, 2008

  • "There was no point in preparing a careful, ordered statement; everything would depend on the first moments, on the presence or absence of French officers, on his reception; and from that point on it would be an improvisation, a cadenza. He whistled the Montserrat Salve Regina, embroidering the theme."
    —Patrick O'Brian, The Surgeon's Mate, 254

    February 8, 2008