Definitions

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

  • n. Music A sustained, smooth-flowing melodic line.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a vocal melody or instrumental passage in a smooth, lyrical style

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See cantabile.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In medieval music: A singing exercise or solfeggio.
  • n. A cantus firmus, or melody for church use.
  • n. In modern music, a ballad or light popular song.

Etymologies

Italian, from Latin cantilēna, song, from cantus; see canticle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Italian or Latin cantilena ("it") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The beautiful deep-toned, love-laden cantilena, which is profusely and exquisitely ornamented in Chopin's characteristic style, is interrupted by a very impressive recitative of some length, after which the cantilena is heard again.

    Frederic Chopin as a Man and Musician

  • "Elegy" for cello and piano dates from 1939 (though reconstructed last year), making it the earliest piece on the festival; unlike the Piano Sonata, there's not a whole lot in this solidly Pistonesque cantilena that points to later Carter, but the polish and poise of the piece is breathtaking, yet more evidence that Carter's expressive, "intuitive" side is not easily disengaged from his technical concern.

    Magna Carter (7): Either/Or

  • Dr. Kissinger apparently doesn't appreciate the considerably rousing power of the traditional cantilena-cabaletta sequence of Italian opera.

    Archive 2007-08-01

  • The following category according to Tinctoris was the cantilena or secular song, composed mostly of texts in the vernacular of the country.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Multus hoc affectu sanat cantilena, laetitia, musica; et quidam sunt quoshaec angent.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Most Italians read verse in a monotonous tone called cantilena that destroys all feeling.

    Selections from _Corinne_

  • Et semper finem horum mirabilium cantilena subsequitur musicorum.

    The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation

  • But the Italians and also the French turned away earlier and more logically from them to more modern musical concepts which saw the significance of music and of the musical work of art not so much in its transcend - ence and symbolic character but rather in its this - worldly quality, as an aesthetic object, as absoluta cantilena, serving the expression of human emotions.

    MUSIC AS A DIVINE ART

  • "Se si dà quell'inno ad un maestro di cappella per metterlo in musica concertata ed in _battuta sensibile_, verrà subito distrutto il _ritmo_, e se la cantilena della cappella pontif. si scrive in battuta, si vedranno cadere nel _battere_ alcune sillabe brevi, senza pregiudizio della loro quantità".

    The Ceremonies of the Holy-Week at Rome

  • The question therefore comes to this: Does the sustained, the cantilena, predominate, or the rhythmical movement?

    Essentials in Conducting

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Comments

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  • –noun
    a simple, lyric, melodic passage for voice or instrument.

    May 20, 2009