Definitions

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

  • n. A portion of a musical composition that permits a performer to make a display of technique, especially in the rapid execution of scales and arpeggios, and that has little thematic or structural importance to the whole: The concerto contained brilliant passagework for the soloist.
  • n. A musician's performance of this portion of a composition: her virtuosic passagework.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ornamental passage in a musical work, often resembling a scale; or the performance of such a passage

Etymologies

passage +‎ work (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The piano part is Herculean in its running passagework, but everyone gets a workout in this pinnacle of early Romantic era chamber music.

    Rodney Punt: World Premiere by Peter Golub at Chamber Music Palisades

  • As Costanza, mezzo Isabel Leonard was the most affecting of the singers, with consistent vocal production, smooth legato and elegant florid passagework.

    The Tests of Patience

  • That seemed to promise a slamming good time, and they did show off a spectacular minute of passagework that might have been subtitled Dueling Xylophones.

    Brad Hill: Review: London Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall

  • Hodges was supremely virtuosic, dispatching thorny hedges of passagework, but playing with more of a "new-music" tone — bright, sharp, clear, lightly pedaled — than Rosen's more lush approach.

    Magna Carter (2): Genealogy

  • Peterson could judiciously vary the touch, tone, and weight of every one of those many notes so that the swing was embedded within the passagework.

    Come Fly With Me

  • As in the Double Concerto on the festival's opening program, Rosen brought an old-school pianistic touch, the accents integrated into the flow rather than spiking out from it, the passagework more a legato wash than a cloud of sparks.

    Magna Carter (7): Either/Or

  • But Liszt's genius lies in the way he later pared down these excesses, while still finding ways to make such passagework – the parts that allow a performer to make a display of their technique – sound harder.

    The hot Liszt

  • For this kind of soft passagework, a slower drying medium helps.

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • Paremski took it all in stride, unleashing giant volleys of dissonant chords and explosive passagework with the confidence of a true master.

    SFGate: Top News Stories

  • And because Arghamanyan delivers even the most brilliant passagework with daunting analytical clarity - defining harmonies, bringing out individual notes, sculpting melodies out of the figuration or finding places for rhetorical emphasis - one can't help but hear specific gestures rather than special, or general, effects.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

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