[ob-li-gah-toh; Italian awb-blee-gah-taw] /ˌɒb lɪˈgɑ toʊ; Italian ˌɔb bliˈgɑ tɔ/ Music.

(used as a musical direction) obligatory or indispensable; so important that it cannot be omitted.
noun, plural obbligatos, obbligati
[ob-li-gah-tee; Italian awb-blee-gah-tee] /ˌɒb lɪˈgɑ ti; Italian ˌɔb bliˈgɑ ti/ (Show IPA)
an obbligato part or accompaniment.
a continuing or persistent subordinate or background motif.
a subordinate part of a solo.
not to be omitted in performance
noun (pl) -tos, -ti (-tiː)
an essential part in a score: with oboe obbligato

musical instruction, 1724, from Italian obbligato, literally “obligated,” from Latin obligatus, past participle of obligare “to bind” (see oblige). In reference to a necessary accompaniment by a single instrument.


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