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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or having the character of a recital or recitation.
  • n. A style used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas in which the text is declaimed in the rhythm of natural speech with slight melodic variation and little orchestral accompaniment.
  • n. A passage rendered in this style.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. dialogue, in an opera etc, that, rather than being sung as an aria, is reproduced with the rhythms of normal speech, often with simple musical accompaniment or harpsichord continuo, serving to expound the plot
  • adj. of a recital

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to recitation; intended for musical recitation or declamation; in the style or manner of recitative.
  • n. A species of musical recitation in which the words are delivered in a manner resembling that of ordinary declamation; also, a piece of music intended for such recitation; -- opposed to melisma.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In music, in the style of a recitative; as if spoken.
  • n. In music:
  • n. A form or style of song resembling declamation—that is, in which regularity of rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic structure is reduced to the minimum.
  • n. A section, passage, or movement in the style described above.

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

  • n. a vocal passage of narrative text that a singer delivers with natural rhythms of speech


Italian recitativo, from recitare, to recite, from Latin recitāre; see recite.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian recitativo, from recitare, from Latin recitare (Wiktionary)



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