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melismatic (comparative more melismatic, superlative most melismatic)

  1. (music) Of, relating to, or being a melisma; the style of singing several notes to one syllable of text.
    • 1991, Elizabeth Wichmann, Listening to Theatre: The Aural Dimension of Beijing Opera, University of Hawaii Press, page 92,
      Because slower metrical types are more melismatic and ornamented than primary-meter, their melodic-passages in both xipi and erhuang are more melismatic and complex than those of primary-meter.
    • 1998, Barbara Newman, Introduction, Barbara Newman (translator), Hildegard von Bingen, Symphonia: A Critical Edition of the Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum, Cornell University Press, 2nd Edition, page 28,
      In general, the more melismatic a piece, the more solemn, elaborate, and difficult it is, and the more the text is dominated by the music.
    • 2006, James Grier, The Musical World of a Medieval Monk: Adémar de Chabannes in Eleventh-century Aquitaine, Cambridge University Press, page 358,
      The melismatic content of this chant lies at the extreme of what is typical for responsories, usually considered among the most melismatic chant types.

Usage notesEdit

An attribute of some Islamic and Gregorian chants, as well as of a singing style prevalent in popular music from the early 1990s to the late 2000s.

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