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toccata

[tuh-kah-tuh; Italian tawk-kah-tah] /təˈkɑ tə; Italian tɔkˈkɑ tɑ/
noun, plural toccatas, toccate
[tuh-kah-tee; Italian tawk-kah-te] /təˈkɑ ti; Italian tɔkˈkɑ tɛ/ (Show IPA).
Music.
1.
a composition in the style of an improvisation, for the piano, organ, or other keyboard instrument, intended to exhibit the player's technique.
Origin
1715-1725
1715-25; < Italian: literally, touched, past participle feminine of toccare to touch
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for toccata

toccata

/təˈkɑːtə/
noun
1.
a rapid keyboard composition for organ, harpsichord, etc, dating from the baroque period, usually in a rhythmically free style
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, literally: touched, from toccare to play (an instrument), touch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for toccata
n.

1724, from Italian toccata, from toccare "to touch." A composition for keyboard instrument, intended to exhibit the touch and technique of the performer, and having the air of an improvisation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for toccata

musical form for keyboard instruments, written in a free style that is characterized by full chords, rapid runs, high harmonies, and other virtuoso elements designed to show off the performer's "touch." The earliest use of the term (about 1536) was associated with solo lute music of an improvisatory character

Learn more about toccata with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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