[tuh-kah-tuh; Italian tawk-kah-tah]
noun, plural toccatas, toccate [tuh-kah-tee; Italian tawk-kah-te] . Music.
a composition in the style of an improvisation, for the piano, organ, or other keyboard instrument, intended to exhibit the player's technique.

1715–25; < Italian: literally, touched, past participle feminine of toccare to touch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
toccata (təˈkɑːtə)
a rapid keyboard composition for organ, harpsichord, etc, dating from the baroque period, usually in a rhythmically free style
[C18: from Italian, literally: touched, from toccare to play (an instrument), touch]

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

1724, from It., from toccare "to touch." A composition for keyboard instrument, intended to exhibit the touch and technique of the performer, and having the air of an improvisation.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


musical form for keyboard instruments, written in a free style that is characterized by full chords, rapid runs, high harmonies, and other virtuoso elements designed to show off the performer's "touch." The earliest use of the term (about 1536) was associated with solo lute music of an improvisatory character

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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