Definition of cadenza in English:



  • A virtuoso solo passage inserted into a movement in a concerto or other musical work, typically near the end.

    • ‘He takes up a treasured tradition by playing his own cadenzas in both concertos.’
    • ‘He remains silent in the melancholy slow movement but recovers for the finale, a virtuoso cadenza for solo violin and percussion, the violinist consoled at the end by two clarinets.’
    • ‘A few of the later selections present rapid octave passages and optional cadenzas that sound more difficult than they are.’
    • ‘The violin and piano are concertante instruments throughout and are given cadenzas near the end.’
    • ‘In the 20th century some players inserted wildly inappropriate cadenzas in Classical concertos, either displaying flashy technique or modulating to keys so remote as to wreck the tonal balance of the movement.’


  • have a cadenza

    • informal Be extremely agitated.

      ‘the party is having a cadenza about subliminal messages on the news’
      • ‘You're gonna have a cadenza when you hear who I sat next to at the event.’


Mid 18th century: from Italian (see cadence).