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melisma

[mi-liz-muh] /mɪˈlɪz mə/
noun, plural melismas, melismata
[mi-liz-muh-tuh] /mɪˈlɪz mə tə/ (Show IPA).
Music.
1.
an ornamental phrase of several notes sung to one syllable of text, as in plainsong or blues singing.
Origin
1605-1615
1605-15; < Greek mélisma song, tune. See melody, -ism
Related forms
melismatic
[mel-iz-mat-ik] /ˌmɛl ɪzˈmæt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for melismatic
  • She is unable to perform the clichés-high notes, melismatic runs-that might tempt a more dramatic singer.
British Dictionary definitions for melismatic

melisma

/mɪˈlɪzmə/
noun (pl) -mata (-mətə), -mas
1.
(music) an expressive vocal phrase or passage consisting of several notes sung to one syllable
Derived Forms
melismatic (ˌmɛlɪzˈmætɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Greek: melody
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for melismatic

melisma

n.

1837, from Greek melisma "a song, an air, a tune, melody," from melos "music, song, melody; musical phrase or member," literally "limb," from PIE *mel- "a limb." Related: Melismatic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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