melisma

[mi-liz-muh]
noun, plural melismas, melismata [mi-liz-muh-tuh] . Music.
an ornamental phrase of several notes sung to one syllable of text, as in plainsong or blues singing.

Origin:
1605–15; < Greek mélisma song, tune. See melody, -ism

melismatic [mel-iz-mat-ik] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
melisma (mɪˈlɪzmə)
 
n , pl -mata, -mas
music an expressive vocal phrase or passage consisting of several notes sung to one syllable
 
[C19: from Greek: melody]
 
melismatic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

melisma
1880, from Gk. melisma "song, air, melody." Related: Melismatic.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
She is unable to perform the clichés-high notes, melismatic runs-that might tempt a more dramatic singer.
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