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pianissimo

[pee-uh-nis-uh-moh; Italian pyah-nees-see-maw] /ˌpi əˈnɪs əˌmoʊ; Italian pyɑˈnis siˌmɔ/
adjective
1.
very soft.
adverb
2.
very softly.
noun, plural pianissimos.
3.
a passage or movement played in this way.
Origin
1715-1725
1715-25; < Italian, superlative of piano piano2
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for pianissimo
  • She was even more impressive when she caressed soulful pianissimo phrases.
  • All night the wind played its wild fugue, dropping to pianissimo lulls, then rising to frenetic crescendos.
  • For the first time in the history of recorded sound, it was possible to hear the entire span from pianissimo to triple forte.
British Dictionary definitions for pianissimo

pianissimo

/pɪəˈnɪsɪˌməʊ/
adjective, adverb
1.
(music) (to be performed) very quietly pp
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, superlative of piano soft
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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pianissimo in Culture
pianissimo [(pee-uh-nis-uh-moh)]

A musical direction meaning “to be performed very softly”; the opposite of fortissimo.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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