Definitions

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

  • n. Music A rapid slide through a series of consecutive tones in a scalelike passage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A musical term that refers to either a continuous sliding one pitch to another (or "true" glissando), or an incidental scale played while moving from one melodic note to another (or "effective" glissando).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A gliding effect; gliding.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In pianoforte-playing, an effect produced by running the tips of the fingers rapidly along the keys, without striking them with the fingers separately.
  • n. In violin-playing, a rapid slur. Also glissato, glissicando, and glissicato.

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

  • adv. (musical direction) in the manner of a glissando (with a rapidly executed series of notes)
  • n. a rapid series of ascending or descending notes on the musical scale

Etymologies

French glissade; see glissade + -ando (as in accelerando).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The technical operation known as glissando is peculiar to the harp alone.

    Principles of orchestration

  • I've read most of my trip book, Thomas Harlan's Wasteland of Flint, which is a kind of glissando Lovecraftian space opera set in an imperfectly realized alternate history in which the Aztecs conquered the world and run the human empire in space.

    Kenneth Hite's Journal

  • The strings are generally plucked with the fingers, but the peasants obtain charming "glissando" effects by sweeping the strings lightly one after the other with the fingers or side of the hand.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2 "Baconthorpe" to "Bankruptcy"

  • Buckmaster cites the french horn glissando in the introduction to Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through the Grapevine.

    Elton John, the Beach Boys and the fine art of pop alchemy

  • She made windchimes from the song-storms 'leavings, and they shone in the windows and chimed glissando like the sweetest eighth-notes and sixteenth-notes.

    Valentines, part the first

  • I stripped the back of my right thumb playing glissando - that's where you flick the keyboard to produce that crashing down the keys effect - and one of the keys in the lower register must have had a sharp edge, so my left thumb has a patch of missing skin.

    On Sunday morning, I woke with bleeding fingers and a pocket full of dice

  • After Mr. Goines alighted to the stage and played a solo on soprano, Mr. Gordon climaxed the tune with a glissando and high note, phrased more like a saxophone than a tr ombone.

    Singing and Swinging

  • Start slow, speed up, seek a machine-like precision -- no buzzes, no squeaks on the chord changes or glissando, varied tone, volume.

    Practicing

  • The jocular expression of an approaching dangerous social situation is often conveyed by people sounding out its ominous low-pitched glissando quavers.

    Archive 2010-04-01

  • Even "Canto" (added to the group in 1966) is more obviously rhapsodic, but the surface is made possible by a technical feature, the glissando possibilities of the pedal timpani.

    Magna Carter (7): Either/Or

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