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Definition of "madrigal" [mad•ri•gal]

  • A song for two or three unaccompanied voices, developed in Italy in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. (noun)
  • A short poem, often about love, suitable for being set to music. (noun)
  • A polyphonic song using a vernacular text and written for four to six voices, developed in Italy in the 16th century and popular in England in the 16th and early 17th centuries. (noun)
  • A part song. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "madrigal" in a sentence
  • "The madrigal is a piece of vocal music adapted to words of an amorous or cheerful cast, composed for four, five, or six voices, and intended for performance in convivial parties or private musical societies."
  • "A madrigal was a secular composition, generally devoted to love, but in polyphonic style, and in one of the ecclesiastical modes."
  • "Although the madrigal was a highly sophisticated musico-poetic form featuring advanced harmonies and subtle texts of great literary value, it was, after all, a choral form meant for unstaged performance."