Definition of crescendo in English:

crescendo

noun

  • 1Music
    A gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music.

    ‘each time the key changes, there is a gradual crescendo’
    • ‘The second is a three-part lullaby and the finale a moto perpetuo in gradual crescendo.’
    • ‘Instead, it had more of a gradual crescendo, a spirit to it that demanded a faster movement.’
    • ‘As Sora walked further down the hall, the redhead's sensitive ears picked up a gradual crescendo of a beautifully played piano.’
    • ‘Each piece has multiple tension points and crescendos to keep your ear engaged for a hard listen, but it honestly works best as background music.’
    • ‘The music rose in a whirling crescendo as the tempo got faster.’
    1. 1.1 A passage of music marked or performed with a crescendo.
      • ‘The final crescendo was stunningly articulated!’
      • ‘I was dissatisfied with my execution of the crescendos and decrescendos in the ‘A Section’ of the work's scherzo movement.’
      • ‘As crescendo after crescendo uplifts the piece, the group becomes more and more abrasive and unforgiving.’
      • ‘The musical phraseology was convincing, and the crescendos and decrescendos were accurately measured and performed.’
    2. 1.2 The loudest point reached in a gradually increasing sound.
      ‘the port engine revs rose to a crescendo’
      • ‘The piano music rose to a crescendo, the pianist pounding on the keys so loudly Jane covered her ears.’
      • ‘The music reaches a crescendo, and their eyes meet.’
      • ‘Soon the wind rose to a crescendo as it tore through trees and over roof tops.’
      • ‘Forty male voices sang in spell-binding chorus, softening at moments and then rising, fortified, to a crescendo.’
      • ‘The background music swells to a crescendo of heavenly orchestration in a moment intended to make audiences feel proud.’
      • ‘A great babble of voices all rose to a crescendo of sound that could only be the prelude to panic.’
      • ‘They had scrambled almost back to the road as the band's cacophony rose to a crescendo.’
      • ‘The atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic, and with the roof closed, and the sound reaching a crescendo, it made the hairs on my neck stand up.’
      • ‘The music hit a crescendo as the dancers beneath the brightly lit lanterns increased the momentum of the dance.’
      • ‘As the engine races to a crescendo, we head off along what appears to be a new-mown field, then just as it dawns on me that this is the airstrip, we are airborne.’
      • ‘The applause rose to a crescendo when four white doves were freed and flew into the night sky.’
      • ‘It breaks and builds to a crescendo, the classic flute section floating over the top.’
      • ‘Cicadas start to shrill, building to a crescendo that threatens to rupture eardrums.’
      • ‘The shouting grew louder and to a crescendo as a door opened.’
      • ‘The two embraced as the applause grew to a crescendo.’
      • ‘Each song starts slowly then builds up to a crescendo.’
      • ‘It began as an almost pleasant noise, but then grew to a crescendo.’
      • ‘Comedy sound effects come to a crescendo as the abused machine finally collapses in a heap of scrap metal.’
      • ‘She began cursing with bitter vehemence and knocked the remaining pots around to a crescendo of reverberating noise.’
      • ‘Excited chattering rose to a crescendo in the auditorium as the sound of the fast-moving convoy fell upon the ears of those at the back of the crowd.’
  • 2A progressive increase in intensity.

    ‘a crescendo of misery’
    • ‘I think both clubs felt it worked very well but that should not build into a crescendo of rumours that the rugby club are moving in with us.’
    • ‘Although many speakers struck bland notes individually, together these became a crescendo of shared concern.’
    • ‘It was a fitting crescendo to a remarkable exhibition.’
    • ‘His sluggish response kicked off a crescendo of criticism, prompting calls for him to resign from within his own coalition.’
    • ‘They believe that if you try hard enough there's a steady crescendo of improvement and your fate is in your own hands.’
    • ‘What followed was a rising crescendo in which he saw glorious opportunities for the future, the future in particular of left-of-centre politics.’
    • ‘That crescendo builds up, you are on your own and think you have to do something.’
    1. 2.1 The most intense point reached.
      ‘the hysteria reached a crescendo around the spring festival’
      • ‘After Augustine had become a bishop, the theme of man's absolute need for grace rose to a crescendo.’
      • ‘This is bad news for a company which depends so highly on retail sales which should rise to a crescendo in the run-up to Christmas.’
      • ‘The storm reached a crescendo as they crossed the stream, Plum Run.’
      • ‘The sandstorm hit us that day and built to a crescendo during the next day.’
      • ‘Occasionally, when he's reaching the crescendo of his argument, he runs off to grab a placard and brandishes it to drive home his point.’
      • ‘But the excitement reached a crescendo when the dance floor was thrown open.’
      • ‘The careful selection and placement of each noise and voice ensures that as each amplifies the other, they remain distinct, and build to a crescendo of emotion.’
      • ‘As minutes ticked by, excitement reached a crescendo.’
      • ‘These ideas come to a crescendo in the book's final collection of essays.’
      • ‘They talk about how you build up your script to a crescendo, how you develop subplots, and all sorts of other mechanical rules.’
      • ‘This kind of criticism reached a crescendo in the summer of 1862.’
      • ‘Anti-immigrant propaganda has reached a crescendo over the past month, as both parties compete to prove they are harsher on immigration.’
      • ‘His eyes widened as the pain reached a crescendo.’
      • ‘The reasons did come to a crescendo in the end and referred to discretion.’
      • ‘In early April, this propaganda campaign reached a crescendo.’
      • ‘It was during this time that the lobbying reached a crescendo, and it paid off.’
      • ‘All this is happening all at the same time, and it's all working up to a crescendo where there is going to be a sudden shift.’
      • ‘As the vocal chords stretched, the cheering reached a crescendo.’
      • ‘The sudden ending, while building up to a crescendo, leaves you thinking, ‘What if?’’
      peak, pinnacle, height, high point, highest point, summit, top
      View synonyms

adverb & adjective

Music
  • With a gradual increase in loudness.

    as adjective ‘a short crescendo kettledrum roll’
    • ‘Reversing the crescendo pattern used by so many instrumental bands, the song begins with booming drums and layers of distorted bass, high-end guitars, and uplifting piano.’
    • ‘Each goal is honoured with the crescendo beat of drums and the noise is increased by the cheers of the successful party.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Increase in loudness or intensity.

    ‘the reluctant cheers began to crescendo’
    • ‘His voice, at first, had been soft but soon crescendoed into a bellow.’
    • ‘Jonas's voice crescendoed steadily with every word.’
    • ‘More laughter from the audience, which crescendoed as Kelly began actually discussing the things, in terms of their visual history and morphology.’
    • ‘Soon, the faint pitter-patter crescendoed into the staccato of heavy drops falling on Heinrich's poncho.’
    • ‘This will be almost falsetto but will have enough heaviness to enable the singer to crescendo smoothly.’
    • ‘When motorized sounds roared and heavy gunfire crescendoed, he ran, so I ran too.’
    • ‘She heard voices crescendo until the words were finally understandable.’
    • ‘We waited a few seconds in silence, before we heard rhythmic footsteps crescendoing as a dim, short outline approached the door.’
    • ‘As the music evolved, each harmonic would crescendo but no harmonic would crescendo any louder than another.’
    • ‘My voice crescendoed into a yell slowly throughout my speech, bringing up memories of events that I'd overcome.’
    • ‘The horse's gait changed to a gallop, and the muffled rhythm of the hoof beats crescendoed until they were uncannily loud and hollow.’
    • ‘The drumming of his fingers matched the rain in a crescendoing concerto.’
    • ‘The drums boomed, the bass often got lost in the mix under dueling guitars, and the dueling guitars crescendoed.’
    • ‘The song crescendoed, and they both closed their eyes.’
    • ‘It's also there in the way he ends notes in the verses, crescendoing and pitching up and then choking them off suddenly, cutting the sound short.’
    • ‘Her voice started low, hardly audible, but slowly crescendoed as the temperature of the room dropped.’
    • ‘Murmuring broke out and crescendoed into pandemonium.’
    • ‘A chorus of male voices rose above the din, crescendoing, singing ‘Jezebel’ in ringing tones that deafened the room with awe.’
    • ‘It crescendoed and tipped off at an intensely sharp note.’
    • ‘The advisor started chuckling softly to himself, and it grew and crescendoed into the same maniacal laughter that was coming out of the priestess's mouth far away.’

Origin

Late 18th century: Italian, present participle of crescere ‘to increase’, from Latin crescere ‘grow’.

Pronunciation

crescendo

/krɪˈʃɛndəʊ/