Definition of duet in English:



  • 1A performance by two singers, instrumentalists, or dancers.

    ‘performing duets with famous foreign artists’
    • ‘Her singing voice was outstanding, whether in the crowd-pleasing protest performance or in a duet with Arnold's Joanne.’
    • ‘The country singer even sang a duet with Mark on the couch in his sitting room.’
    • ‘The album includes rare performances, including a duet with Brian Kennedy on the classic ‘In A Lifetime’.’
    • ‘Providing contrast, the dancers' duets were dignified.’
    • ‘Over 60 students performed a variety of instrumental solos and duets with music that included jazz, classical film themes and Irish.’
    • ‘Both are first-class singers, so their duets and solos were dramatically as well as musically effective.’
    • ‘On Tuesday the 24-year-old pianist and singer is set to perform a showpiece duet with highly regarded folk singer Katie Melua at the Brit's ceremony at London's Earl's Court.’
    • ‘The organisers of the Brit Awards are hoping that U2 frontman Bono and Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof might perform a duet as a finale.’
    • ‘‘Call to Love’ offers an awkward metaphor and one of a few duets with Australian singer Lara Meyerratken.’
    • ‘In fact, so delighted were they that clapping could hardly be kept down several times in mid-performance, especially following the famous duet between Papageno and Papagena.’
    • ‘Dan Wild and Delia Brett performed a hauntingly erotic duet, both dancers breathing audibly, heeding no notice of their sweat-drenched bodies, clinging to each other ferociously.’
    • ‘In the duet, a male dancer patiently supports and catches a female dancer as she begins to fall.’
    • ‘Hayes' first public performance was a duet with his sister at church when he was 3.’
    • ‘At 13, Avril won the grand prize in a radio station contest, a trip to Ottawa to perform a duet in concert with Shania Twain.’
    • ‘Thanks to a duet with Portuguese-Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, called Fotografia, it also helped Juanes to attract attention beyond South America.’
    • ‘‘Mariama’, is a passionate, intense duet with male griot singer Ousame Sacko, and one of the album's highlights.’
    • ‘The vivid and lively singing negates any risk of heaviness; you might almost convince me that they're performing the duet in its original language.’
    • ‘And next up is Tom Jones's Reload, an interesting compilation featuring duets with other singers.’
    • ‘Taking movements created from a 3D animation program, Moisan created a duet for himself and dancer Catherine Tardiff.’
    • ‘The stage is fully lit throughout the first four movements but darkened for the fifth and final movement in which the dancers perform a love duet encircled by strong beams of light.’
    1. 1.1 A musical composition for two performers.
      ‘a simple duet for two cellos’
      • ‘The libretto gives plenty of scope for choruses, trios, duets and solos.’
      • ‘He also composed masses, motets, cantatas, duets, and songs.’
      • ‘They approach the piece like a musical score, mingling solo parts with duets, trios and quartets.’
      • ‘As an excursion through piano duets from Schubert onwards the mix is wide, the music varied and entertaining.’
      • ‘The song is a duet between a bloke who pines for a woman who passes him on an escalator and a hypothetical version of the girl in question.’
      • ‘The first half will include a soprano duet by Handel and a composition by Philip Martin for viola, cello and piano.’
      • ‘Some of the most emotionally engaging or memorable songs are duets.’
      • ‘In terms of the former, duets have long been used by composers and music students alike to study instrumental works - particularly before the advent of recordings.’
      • ‘Opera, as most of them knew it, with its arias, love duets, and noble emotions, did not interest the composer.’
      • ‘Level Four contains six piano duets from the early nineteenth to twentieth centuries by composers Diabelli, Arensky, Gurlitt, Reinecke and others.’
      • ‘Some of it is ingenious, most notably Britten's ability to blend several of the original melodies to form duets or ensembles, but the end result remains both conventionally operatic and alarmingly sanitised.’
      • ‘The duet was composed by Viennese maestro Franz Schubert.’
      • ‘The lyrical charm of the duet between violin and cello in the third movement has a typical arpeggio background from the piano.’
      • ‘Or why is it easier for avant-garde composer Luciano Berio to make money reorchestrating a duet from Puccini's Turandot than from his own creations?’
      • ‘Martin revisits his love for American folk materials with this commissioned piano duet based on the celebrated Shaker tune, Simple Girls.’
      • ‘Primrose is the simpler of the two works, a series of duets on Moravian folk texts for treble choir, violin, and piano.’
      • ‘Vivaldi's Magnificat, a short work, is not performed nearly as often as the longer, more popular Gloria, but it is an attractive work with its mixtures of trios, duets and quite short choruses.’
      • ‘Fascinated by toys and their miniature mechanisms, Ravel wrote his Mother Goose suite for two musical children as a four-hand duet.’
      • ‘From artistic director Nacho Duato comes Without Words, set to the music of a Franz Schubert duet for cello and piano.’
      • ‘This two-piano, four-hands duet opens with a simple melody in the Piano I part over a ‘boom-chuck’ accompaniment played by Piano II.’


[no object]
  • Perform a duet.

    ‘they duetted at the tribute concert’
    ‘he duetted with Johnny on a ballad’
    • ‘The pivotal moment was when Johnny Cash cut Oldham's ‘I See a Darkness’ for his Solitary Man album, inviting Oldham to duet with him.’
    • ‘Luciano Pavarotti and Tom Jones are to duet on a rendition of the 1968 hit Delilah during a charity concert in Modena on Tuesday night.’
    • ‘When she duets at various points throughout the album with the doom-voiced Simon Topping, the dourness is almost overpowering, and yet they seem to complement each other perfectly.’
    • ‘He duetted with the coiffed and toothsome Will Young on ‘Papa's Got a Brand New Bag’.’
    • ‘So I choose the featured DJ for that gig, and then I pick a few musicians and we duet with the DJ, and then we all play together at the end.’
    • ‘In the past, Costello has duetted on stage with Bob Dylan and Tony Bennett, written songs with Burt Bacharach and Paul McCartney, and recorded a whole album of country standards.’
    • ‘Finally, we see Mike and pal Bruce Alder deliriously duetting on a pair of his classic songs.’
    • ‘Before breaking into the title track from Essence, Williams invited Louris, for whom Williams has an obvious fondness, to duet with her.’
    • ‘By 1993 he was back in Britain, where he became romantically involved with the singer Polly Harvey, who duetted on his 1995 album Murder Ballads.’
    • ‘And more than that it was an opportunity, possibly unique in Motson's career so far, to duet with Mark Knopfler in front of a live national television audience.’
    • ‘They sound like David Gray and Seal duetting on a Phil Collins number.’
    • ‘Her guitarist had only a week to learn the chords, but they duetted wonderfully.’
    • ‘When she was 14, Moon and her father duetted on the hit single Valley Girls.’
    • ‘That Presley should consent to appear on TV dressed in a tuxedo, swapping songs, and duetting with Sinatra would have been inconceivable a few years earlier.’
    • ‘Gordon Lightfoot, Arlo Guthrie and Joni Mitchell aren't on these tapes, but four tracks feature Dylan duetting with Joan Baez, his mentor from his early - 1960s folk period.’
    • ‘It isn't all doom and gloom though: he finds derivative success and ends up duetting with Jennifer Lopez on the title track.’
    • ‘Over the last ten years or so, Hall's been busy writing for strings, duetting with Bob Brookmeyer, Pat Metheny and a whole slew of great bass players, ever keen to experiment and push himself a little more.’
    • ‘I half expected him to duet with Elmo or Big Bird over breakfast.’
    • ‘When he was eight he duetted with country legend George Jones, but he was more into punk and heavy metal back then.’
    • ‘Their profile has risen so quickly since then that they are currently fighting off offers from major labels; recently, they duetted live with David Byrne on a Talking Heads song.’


Mid 18th century: from Italian duetto, diminutive of duo ‘duet’, from Latin duo ‘two’.