Definition of parlando in English:


adjective & adverb

  • (with reference to singing) expressive or declamatory in the manner of speech.

    • ‘This scheme is similar to the structure of the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies in that the first section is generally slow, rhapsodic and lyrical, often in a parlando style, while the second section is fast and technically brilliant.’
    • ‘The main tendency of Professor Miller's guidance is probably very sound - the insistence, for example, on legato, giving notes their full singing-value and not resorting, except in some very special cases, to a parlando style.’
    • ‘His interpretation is desiccating, and in the third movement, the women's chorus performs the parlando sections coarsely, as if they were selling fish.’
    • ‘Regarding the text setting, Aplvor's writing for solo voice is largely angular, in line with the post-Webern idiom, and essentially parlando in style.’
    • ‘The nocturnes in particular respond to Italian bel canto, in their widely spanning melodic arcs, their fioriture, and their stylization of such vocal embellishments as portamento and parlando repetitions of a single note.’


mass nounMusic
  • Composition or performance in a parlando manner.

    ‘the high-lying parlando of Siegfried's narration’
    • ‘But if you are not careful, the music never really gets a chance to speak; vocal lines which are a constant parlando with orchestral accompaniment produce something more akin to a play with incidental music.’
    • ‘A telling sign's the amount of speech and bare parlando employed - it's as though Martinu doesn't quite trust music to tell a story or illuminate character.’
    • ‘Glass' score trades in many of his familiar musical fingerprints - pulsing ostinatos, repeating rhythms, short vocal lines based on simple melodic ideas treated in parlando, or conversational, style.’
    • ‘Do we have to emphasize that this highly complex mode of recitation with accompaniment has nothing to do with the rhythmical parlando practiced by vaudeville singers in the 19th century?’


Italian, literally ‘speaking’.