aria

Cultural Dictionary
aria [(ahr-ee-uh)]

A piece of music for one voice (or occasionally two voices) in an opera, oratorio, or cantata. In contrast with recitative singing, arias are melodious; in contrast with ordinary songs, arias are usually elaborate.

Note: Some composers, such as Richard Wagner, have felt that arias interrupt the action of opera too much and hence have written operas without them.
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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