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


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

Italian, from Old Italian, cadence; see cadence.


  • 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.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 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