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Coloratura has several meanings. The word is originally from Italian, literally meaning "coloring", and derives from the Latin word colorare ("to color").Oxford American Dictionaries. Mac OS X. When used in English, the term specifically refers to elaborate melody, particularly in vocal music and especially in operatic singing of the 18th and 19th centuries, with run, trill, wide leaps, or similar virtuoso-like material. It is also now widely used to refer to passage of such music, operatic roles in which such music plays a prominent part, and singers of these roles.Steane, J. B.; Jander, Owen, "Coloratura" in Sadie (1992) 1: 907. (See also bel canto.)

Historical usage

The term "coloratura" was first defined in several early non-Italian music dictionaries: Michael Praetorius's Syntagma musicum (1618); Sébastien de Brossard's Dictionaire de musique (1703); and Johann Gottfried Walther's Musicalisches Lexicon (1732). In these early texts "the term is dealt with briefly and always with reference to Italian usage."Jander, Owen; Harris, Ellen T. "Coloratura" in Grove Music Online, . Retrieved 27 November 2006.

Christoph Bernhard (1628–1692) defined "coloratura" in two...
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