Definition of parlando in US 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.’
    • ‘His interpretation is desiccating, and in the third movement, the women's chorus performs the parlando sections coarsely, as if they were selling fish.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


  • Composition or performance in a parlando manner.

    ‘the high-lying parlando of Siegfried's narration’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


Italian, literally ‘speaking’.