from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An elaborate, ornamental melodic flourish interpolated into an aria or other vocal piece.
  • noun An extended virtuosic section for the soloist usually near the end of a movement of a concerto.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mus.) A parenthetic flourish or flight of ornament in the course of a piece, commonly just before the final cadence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun music A part of a piece of music, such as a concerto, that is very decorative and is played by a single musician.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun 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.]


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  • "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

  • You mean this is *not* an article of furniture?

    February 8, 2008

  • It is if you whistle it the right way.

    February 8, 2008

  • This word was used in the movie "Peter Pan."

    June 21, 2012