Definition of cantabile in US English:


adjective & adverb

  • In a smooth singing style.

    • ‘The crystalline lightness of Goode's cantabile line in the Andante poco moto recalled Schubert's songs and vocal music.’
    • ‘Then the middle section offers a prime example of cantabile style from the violin, and Neftel's singing tone is intoxicating.’
    • ‘And when he does, he seems as if he is no longer merely ‘performing’ moderato cantabile; in some strange way, he becomes it.’
    • ‘The Andante really was as cantabile as marked; the scherzo fizzed along; and throughout, the rapport between all three players was complete.’
    • ‘Her beautiful cantabile singing of ‘La Promessa’ was all sweetness and lightness.’


  • A cantabile passage or movement.

    • ‘The plan of cantabiles, cabalettas, multi-movement duets, and finales that served Bellini, Donizetti, and the young Verdi had been defined by him.’
    • ‘His crisp, precise passage work and lovely cantabile, his wide variety of tonal colouring and superb dynamic control, together with his flawless sense of rhythm ensured his position as linchpin of both these excellent ensembles.’
    • ‘Never do you get the sense that the Angeles is trying to impress you with virtuosic plunges or move you to tears with saccharine cantabiles, although both happened to me in their rendition of the Sturm und Drang Opus 20 quartets.’
    • ‘This staging certainly retains the futile but widely accepted cuts (for example in the cantabile of Violetta's big Scena ed Aria at the end of the first act).’


Italian, literally ‘singable’.