/res"i tay'tiv, ri suy"teuh-/, adj.
pertaining to or of the nature of recital.
[1855-60; RECITE + -ATIVE]
/res'i teuh teev"/, Music.
1. of the nature of or resembling recitation or declamation.
2. a style of vocal music intermediate between speaking and singing.
3. a passage, part, or piece in this style.
[1635-45; < It recitativo. See RECITE, -IVE]

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Style of accompanied solo singing that imitates the rhythms and tones of speech.

Representing an attempt at an ideally expressive musical text setting, which the ancient Greeks were thought to have mastered, it came into existence in tandem with opera с 1600, the first operas being largely written in recitative. Recitative style gradually began to separate from lyrical aria style. Regular alternation of recitative with aria became the rule for both opera and cantata, and recitative became essential to the dramatic oratorio as well. It remains basic to operatic composition; the presence of recitative (as opposed to spoken dialogue) most clearly distinguishes opera from the musical and related genres.

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▪ musical style
      style of monody (accompanied solo song) that emphasizes and indeed imitates the rhythms and accents of spoken language, rather than melody or musical motives. Modeled on oratory, recitative developed in the late 1500s in opposition to the polyphonic, or many-voiced, style of 16th-century choral music.

      The earliest operas, such as Jacopo Peri's Euridice (1600), consisted almost entirely of recitativo arioso, a lyric form of recitative intended to communicate the emotion of the text. In operas of the late 17th century the expression of emotion was left to the lyric outpouring of the aria, and the recitative was used to carry the dialogue and to advance the action of the plot. In oratorios and cantatas it often serves the similar function of advancing the narrative.

      Two principal varieties developed. Recitativo secco (“dry recitative”) is sung with a free rhythm dictated by the accents of the words. Accompaniment, usually by continuo (cello and harpsichord), is simple and chordal. The melody approximates speech by using only a few pitches. The second variety, recitativo stromentato, or accompanied recitative, has stricter rhythm and more involved, often orchestral accompaniment. Used at dramatically important moments, it is more emotional in character. Its vocal line is more melodic, and typically it leads into a formal aria.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Recitative — IPA|/rɛsɪtə ti:v/ (also known by its Italian name recitativo (IPA|/retʃita ti:vo/)) is a style of delivery (much used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas) in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech. The mostly syllabic… …   Wikipedia

  • Recitative — Rec i*ta*tive , a. Of or pertaining to recitation; intended for musical recitation or declamation; in the style or manner of recitative. {Rec i*ta*tive ly}, adv. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • recitative — [res΄ə tə tēv′] n. [It recitativo < L recitare,RECITE] Music 1. a type of declamatory singing, with the rhythm and tempo of speech, but uttered in musical tones, used in the prose parts and dialogue of operas and oratorios 2. a work or passage …   English World dictionary

  • Recitative — Rec i*ta*tive (r[e^]s [i^]*t[.a]*t[=e]v ), n. [It. recitativo, or F. r[ e]citatif. See {Recite}.] (Mus.) A species of musical recitation in which the words are delivered in a manner resembling that of ordinary declamation; also, a piece of music… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • recitative — 1640s, from It. recitativo, from recitato, pp. of recitare, from L. recitare (see RECITE (Cf. recite)). Style of musical declamation intermediate between speech and singing. The Italian form of the word was used in English from 1610s …   Etymology dictionary

  • recitative — ► NOUN ▪ musical declamation of the kind usual in the narrative and dialogue parts of opera and oratorio …   English terms dictionary

  • recitative — UK [ˌresɪtəˈtiːv] / US [ˌresətəˈtɪv] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms recitative : singular recitative plural recitatives music in opera, the ordinary words that are sung or spoken between the important songs …   English dictionary

  • recitative — noun Etymology: Italian recitativo, from recitare to recite, from Latin Date: 1656 1. a rhythmically free vocal style that imitates the natural inflections of speech and that is used for dialogue and narrative in operas and oratorios; also a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Recitative —    Operatic composition originating in the late 16th century for solo singer harmonized by instrumental accompaniment with virtually no meter and whose speech rhythms and phrase structure are determined entirely by the text. Recitative allows… …   Historical dictionary of sacred music

  • recitative — récitatif фр. [рэситати/ф] recitative англ. [рэситэти/в] речитатив …   Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов

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