1 [res-i-tey-tiv, ri-sahy-tuh-]
pertaining to or of the nature of recital.

1855–60; recite + -ative Unabridged


2 [res-i-tuh-teev] Music.
of the nature of or resembling recitation or declamation.
a style of vocal music intermediate between speaking and singing.
a passage, part, or piece in this style.

1635–45; < Italian recitativo. See recite, -ive Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To recitative
World English Dictionary
recitative1 (ˌrɛsɪtəˈtiːv)
a passage in a musical composition, esp the narrative parts in an oratorio, set for one voice with either continuo accompaniment only or full accompaniment, reflecting the natural rhythms of speech
[C17: from Italian recitativo; see recite]

recitative2 (rɪˈsaɪtətɪv)
of or relating to recital

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1645, from It. recitativo, from recitato, pp. of recitare, from L. recitare (see recite). Style of musical declamation intermediate between speech and singing. The It. form of the word was used in Eng. from 1617.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
recitative [(res-i-tuh-teev)]

A part of a cantata, opera, or oratorio in which singers converse, describe action, or declaim. It moves the action forward between the high musical moments. Recitatives are distinguished from arias, which are more expressive and musically more elaborate. Recitatives usually have only one syllable of text for each note of music, and the accompaniment by instruments is often very simple.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Rock operas aren't usually acted out, and you won't find much in the way of recitative.
He perfected the transition from recitative to aria-the thrilling transformation of musicalized speech into song.
She does her growing up through expert camera work and then she entertains with a recitative song.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature