American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An opera that avoids discrete numbers such as arias, recitatives, or ensembles, and in which the music reflects or embodies the action of the drama.
GNU Webster's 1913
- An opera in which the text and action are not interrupted by set arias, duets, etc., the music being determined throughout by dramatic appropriateness; musical drama of this character, in general. It involves the use of a kind of melodious declamation, the development of leitmotif, great orchestral elaboration, and a fusion of poetry, music, action, and scene into an organic whole. The term is applied esp. to the later works of Wagner: “Tristan und Isolde,” “Die Meistersinger,” “Rheingold,” “Walküre,” “Siegfried,” “Götterdämmerung,” and “Parsifal.”
“Besides the “Faust” symphony, he composed during this period the twelve symphonic poems, thus originating a new and highly important musical form, which may be said to bear, in their liberation from pedantry, the same relation to the set symphony that the music drama does to opera; the “Rhapsodies Hongroises;” his piano sonata and concertos; the “Graner Messe;” and the beginnings of his “Christus” and”
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