[mi-liz-muh] /mɪˈlɪz mə/

noun, plural melismas, melismata
[mi-liz-muh-tuh] /mɪˈlɪz mə tə/ (Show IPA). Music.
an ornamental phrase of several notes sung to one syllable of text, as in plainsong or blues singing.
noun (pl) -mata (-mətə), -mas
(music) an expressive vocal phrase or passage consisting of several notes sung to one syllable

1837, from Greek melisma “a song, an air, a tune, melody,” from melos “music, song, melody; musical phrase or member,” literally “limb,” from PIE *mel- “a limb.” Related: Melismatic.


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