Definitions

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

  • conj. Music Or else. Used as a direction to the performer to designate an alternate section or passage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In a musical score an ossia is an alternative version of the music, often just a few measures long.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In music, a direction indicating an alternative form of a passage, either one that is easier or one suited to a different variety of instrument. Also oppure and ovvero.

Etymologies

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

Italian, from o sia, or let it be : o, or (from Latin aut) + sia, third person sing. present subjunctive of essere, to be (from Latin esse; see es- in Indo-European roots).

Examples

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