from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an operatic song in slow tempo, either complete in itself or (e.g., in Bellini and Verdi) followed by a faster, more resolute section: hence
  • n. a rather slow, song-like instrumental movement; the title, for example, of a movement in Beethoven's string quartet in B flat, op. 130 (1826) and of a once-famous piece (originally for violin and piano) by Raff, and of the slow movement of Rubra's string quartet No. 2

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, a melody of simpler form than the aria; a song without a second part and a da capo; -- a term now variously and vaguely used.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music, a melody of simpler character than the aria, and without a second part and a da capo or return part. The term is occasionally applied, however, to airs of any kind.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Idomeneo has an aria, or rather a kind of cavatina, to sing between the choruses.

    The Letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Addie sets his bowl on the table then moves about the apartment, his arms and legs and odors wafting like ribbons in the air, dancing cavatina to our choir bites of frosted oats and yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers.

    Chinchillas in the Air

  • It's the prime masterpiece of the period where Verdi went from a talented master of the Italian operatic tradition to a genius of reinvention: Verdi saw that the conventions of bel canto — the coloratura decoration, the steady build from recitative to cavatina to cabaletta, the diagetic justification for dance and popular music — had matured to the point that their mere presence could have dramatic content above and beyond the story.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • I was a cavatina junkie from an early age, but I've had good luck convincing more dramatically-inclined skeptics of the viability of bel canto by starting with Verdi and working chronologically backwards.

    Pretty Woman

  • Our natural instinct is to analyze that as a homologous variation — Joplin must have got it from somewhere, perhaps the cavatina-cabaletta sequence of Italian opera, or perhaps Rossini overtures, or perhaps similarly obsessive passages in Chopin or Schumann.

    Categorical denials

  • But Lucien, to the joy and surprise of his old love, honored her with inattention; her words fell unheeded on his ears; he sat like Pasta in Tancredi, with the words O patria! upon her lips, the music of the great cavatina Dell Rizzo might have passed into his face.

    Eve and David

  • Then there was the self-appointed critic who admires nothing, and will blow his nose in the middle of a cavatina at the

    The Magic Skin

  • La Malanotte, he said, was dissatisfied with her opening _cavatina_, and at rehearsal had presented the _maestro_ with the MS. of that passage torn into fifty atoms, declaring in a haughty tone that she would never sing it again.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 24, October, 1859

  • There would be a superb entrance for him upon his return from the army, 'cavatina guerriera con cori'.

    The French Immortals Series — Complete

  • Once, as the violin wailed out a passionate, despairing, yet exquisitely sweet passage of the Raff cavatina Falconer was playing, she heard Drake sigh.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills or, One Heart's Burden


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