follow Dictionary.com

Why is the ninth month called September?

ostinato

[os-ti-nah-toh; Italian aws-tee-nah-taw] /ˌɒs tɪˈnɑ toʊ; Italian ˌɔs tiˈnɑ tɔ/
noun, plural ostinatos. Music.
1.
a constantly recurring melodic fragment.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80; < Italian: literally, obstinate < Latin obstinātus obstinate
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for ostinato
  • The renowned opening theme features a driving, and catchy, jazz ostinato figure punctuated by big band blasts and throbs.
  • Compose an eight measure quartet based upon a rhythmic ostinato.
  • Improvise a short ostinato to sing or play with a familiar song.
  • Create a descant or ostinato to a previously learned melody.
British Dictionary definitions for ostinato

ostinato

/ˌɒstɪˈnɑːtəʊ/
noun
1.
  1. a continuously reiterated musical phrase
  2. (as modifier) an ostinato passage
Word Origin
Italian: from Latin obstinātusobstinate
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for ostinato

1876, from Italian ostinato, literally "obstinate, persistent."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for ostinato

in music, short melodic phrase repeated throughout a composition, sometimes slightly varied or transposed to a different pitch. A rhythmic ostinato is a short, constantly repeated rhythmic pattern. Ostinatos appear in Western composition from the 13th century onward, as in the motet Emendemus in melius (Let Us Change for the Better) by Cristobal de Morales (c. 1500-53) and in the Concerto, Opus 38 (first performed 1925), of Paul Hindemith. Use of an ostinato was particularly common in 16th-century dance pieces, notably in the bass line, where it is called a basso ostinato, or ground bass (q.v.). A single-pitch ostinato governs the "Scarbo" movement in Maurice Ravel's piano work Gaspard de la nuit (1908).

Learn more about ostinato with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ostinato

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ostinato

8
9
Scrabble Words With Friends