Definitions

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

  • n. Music A close succession or overlapping of statements of the subject in a fugue, especially in the final section.
  • n. Music A final section, as of an opera, performed with an acceleration in tempo to produce a climax. Also called stretta.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The presence of two close or overlapping statements of the subject of a fugue, especially towards the end.
  • n. An acceleration in the tempo of an opera that produces an ending climax.
  • adv. With gradually increasing speed.
  • adj. Having gradually increasing speed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The crowding of answer upon subject near the end of a fugue.
  • n. In an opera or oratorio, a coda, or winding up, in an accelerated time.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music: In a fugue, that division in which the entrances of the answer are almost immediately after those of the subject, so that the two overlap, producing a rapidly cumulative effect.
  • n. In dramatic music, a quickening of the tempo at the end of a movement for the sake of climax.

Etymologies

Italian, narrow, stretto, from Latin strictus, strict; see strict.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Italian stretto. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • She plunged into her apostrophe with most self-sacrificing vigor at the beginning of the scene, and was prodigal in the use of her voice in its early moments; but when the culmination of its passion was reached, in what would be called the stretto of the piece in the old nomenclature, she could not respond to its increased demands.

    Chapters of Opera Being historical and critical observations and records concerning the lyric drama in New York from its earliest days down to the present time

  • My own only really substantive reference for him is L'opera architettonica e urbanistica di Armando Brasini dall'urbe Massima al Ponte sullo stretto di Messina published in 1979, an enormous and rather flimsy paperback edition of which I purchased in Rome when I was studying there.

    The Modern Baroque of Armando Brasini

  • I haven't finished Morson's book yet but am rushing to share the following, because embroidery, or sewing, is also for me a symbol of the feminine desire to create beauty in the home and for the family and because Tolstoy's reference to broderie anglaise comes as the stretto in what is to me the most beautiful scene in Anna Karenina.

    Anna Karenina and La Broderie Anglaise

  • "Quando nel corso di eventi umani, sorge la necessità che un popolo sciolga i legami politici che lo hanno stretto a un altro popolo ... un conveniente riguardo alle opinioni dell'umanità richiede che quel popolo dichiari le ragioni per cui è costretto alla secessione."

    Italy to Declare Independence from U.S. Military

  • Finally, the last two polyphonic verses are expanded to a five-voice texture by the addition of a second alto, Manchicourt heightening the effect of the ‘Gloria patri’ with stretto imitative writing.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Enzo Grecos study of Spartacus on the Strait of Messina is illuminating if unconvincing: Enzo Greco, Spartaco sullo stretto ovvero Le origini di Villa San Giovanni e Fiumara di muro Rome: Gangemi Editore, 1999.

    The Spartacus War

  • And when the lyric impulse, that honest voice, that vulnerable stretto meshes with language, with intention, with procedure—then whatever side of the border or gender, or political spectrum the project may originate, it knocks this reader out.

    Archive 2007-07-01

  • Può essere di tutto: videoarte, un numero comico, teatrale… In questo caso, un animazione pre-renderizzata, e quindi non una demo in senso stretto.

    No Fat Clips!!! : Poison Ivy

  • "Omnes generationes" seem indeed to pass before us in the crowded fugue which rises in perpetual stretto, the incessant entries of its subject now mounting the whole scale, each part a step higher than the last, and now collecting in unison with a climax of closeness and volume overwhelming in its impression of time and multitude.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1 "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon"

  • Then, ever and anon, the mass of sublime sound opens and gives passage to the stretto of the Ave-Maria chapel, flashing through like a shower of meteors.

    II. A Bird’s-Eye View of Paris. Book III

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