Definition of madrigal in English:



  • A part-song for several voices, especially one of the Renaissance period, typically arranged in elaborate counterpoint and without instrumental accompaniment. Originally used of a genre of 14th-century Italian songs, the term now usually refers to English or Italian songs of the late 16th and early 17th c., in a free style strongly influenced by the text.

    • ‘The development from Orfeo to those two masterpieces is astonishing, and one can only speculate from the composer's madrigals and sacred music how it all happened.’
    • ‘The Turin tablatures contain a similar range of music notated in new German keyboard tablature rather than staff notation, including transcriptions of motets and madrigals as well as idiomatic keyboard music.’
    • ‘Without too much artistic licence, we can imagine a group entertaining themselves after a meal by madrigals sung together and the going on to celebrate mass the next morning with the same group of people now singing mass itself.’
    • ‘Whether in strophic arias, simple canzonettas or elaborate madrigals, Kiehr's singing is effortlessly lush and nicely emotionally understated.’
    • ‘Monteverdi was equally fond of chromaticism, especially in his madrigals.’
    • ‘The Silver Swan is a madrigal that many of us have sung, but it is unlikely that Gibbons would have minded hearing it played as an instrumental piece - he himself suggested that his madrigals could by played by viols instead.’
    • ‘The music was drawn from his two most recent recitals recorded for Decca, a compilation of early-seventeenth-century English song and Italian madrigals and familiar folk songs from the British Isles.’
    • ‘A few pieces of Italian polyphony and a couple of madrigals into their first rehearsal, someone pointed out that they had a concert coming up but no conductor.’
    • ‘I bought this record on the back of their wonderful Madra, which was unaccompanied madrigals and other such stuff.’
    • ‘The first half of the performance includes madrigals, anthems and instrumental music from the 16th Century for which the choir will be joined by Elizabeth Dodd and Philip Gruar playing viols, recorders and the lute.’
    • ‘The madrigals of the baroque period were not written for professionals, and neither were Haydn's string quartets.’
    • ‘Now, Weelkes's 1597 set of madrigals comprises twenty-four pieces in four groups of six, with the first six madrigals for three voices, and the next groups for four, five and six voices.’
    • ‘From the late 1580s onwards, the ‘craze’ for the madrigal, scored for a cappella voices or accompanied by one or more lutes, almost exactly mirrored the contemporary enthusiasm for the sonnet.’
    • ‘The form traveled all over Europe, and became particularly popular in England, where an accompanied variation of the madrigal, the lute song, took hold around the time of Shakespeare.’
    • ‘In general Newman feels that Rossi's madrigals are in an earlier style of composers such as Luca Marenzio.’
    • ‘She asserts that the music from this period demands a style of singing not unlike that of the Renaissance madrigals.’
    • ‘The singers' repertoire ranges from sixties pop songs to madrigals and audience participation is always encouraged.’
    • ‘In Martin's mind, the madrigal was mainly a chamber contrapuntal form, best suited to small homogeneous forces and not necessarily limited to voices.’
    • ‘Lisdowney Choral Group under the baton of Geraldine Murphy with accompanist Jennifer Rudkins performed a wide repertoire ranging from madrigals to hits from musicals.’
    • ‘I need to ask one of my choristers tonight what it is about renaissance madrigals that he likes so much, and what about other music he dislikes, or is neutral to.’
    song, anthem, carol, ballad, canzone, chanson, motet, chant
    hymn, psalm
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From Italian madrigale (from medieval Latin carmen matricale simple song), from matricalis maternal or primitive from matrix womb.