Definition of barcarole in English:


(also barcarolle)

Pronunciation /ˈbɑːkərəʊl//ˌbɑːkəˈrəʊl/


  • 1A song traditionally sung by Venetian gondoliers.

    • ‘A barcarolle is characterized by a rhythm reminiscent of the gondolier's stroke, almost invariably a moderate tempo 6/8 meter.’
    • ‘The gondolier's song, the barcarole, moves-like all music-in time; but also on the boat and water from which it is originally sung.’
    • ‘This boat song, a barcarolle of tender grace, gently rocks with the gondola in the meandering waterways.’
    1. 1.1 A musical composition in the style of a barcarole.
      • ‘The name alludes to the Barcarole aria—a Venetian boat song—from Jacques Offenbach's opera, Les Contes d'Hoffmann.’
      • ‘In the 18th and 19th centuries the barcarole inspired a considerable number of vocal and instrumental compositions, ranging from opera arias to character pieces for piano.’
      • ‘While most of the pieces are quite brilliant and therefore frequently found on recital programs, one should not ignore the only lyrical piece in the collection, Pastorale, a lovely, flowing piece in the style of a barcarolle.’


Late 18th century: from French barcarolle, from Venetian Italian barcarola ‘boatman's song’, from barca ‘boat’.