Definition of stretto in English:



  • 1A passage, especially at the end of an aria or movement, to be performed in quicker time.

    • ‘One could consider this a contrapuntal jeu d' esprit, with rapid lines of imitation and stretto, but for its character of psychological unease.’
    • ‘Elisions, stretti, contractions, prolongations and antiphonal presentations are only some of the devices the composer frequently employs to achieve a pacing that clarifies the overall direction of the melodic trajectory of a piece.’
    • ‘Maybe too little stretto and too little rubato in the Emperor's Waltz by Strauss but this was definitely not the fault of the orchestra.’
    • ‘The major-third interval is then employed with its minor counterpart horizontally to help furnish a stretto passage.’
    1. 1.1 A section at the end of a fugue in which successive introductions of the theme follow at shorter intervals than before, increasing the sense of excitement.
      • ‘They got no louder than a whisper, but began to overlap faster and faster like a stretto in a mad fugue, finally getting stuck on the phrase, ‘I'll see you around.’’
      • ‘The second movement, in contrast, is an obvious fugue, bristling with stretto to powerful effect.’
      • ‘In one, the four sections of the choir enter one after another with the same material, as in a stretto fugue.’
      • ‘The Canzonetta is a contrapuntal work consisting of a series of fugues displaying stretto, contrary motion, and inversion; rhythmic motion tends to be lively, and the detail of musical lines illuminating.’
      • ‘He excelled the skills even of Frescobaldi in the manipulation of fugal devices such as countersubject, stretto and sustained pedalpoint.’


  • (as a direction) in quicker time.

    • ‘It sounds like odd moments of Berlioz, Tchaikovsky or Ravel, but only in respect of isolated chords here and there, a harp glissando upbeat, a stretto passage for the violins.’


Italian, literally ‘narrow’.