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[gli-sahn-doh] /glɪˈsɑn doʊ/ Music.
performed with a gliding effect by sliding one or more fingers rapidly over the keys of a piano or strings of a harp.
noun, plural glissandi
[gli-sahn-dee] /glɪˈsɑn di/ (Show IPA)
a glissando passage.
(in string playing) a slide.
Origin of glissando
1870-75; < French gliss(er) to slide + Italian -ando gerund ending Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for glissando
Historical Examples
  • A glissando of joy burned his eardrums, and he could not face that living splendor.

    Felony James Causey
  • Sign,—same as a muted note, but written at the end of a glissando.

    The Tinguian Fay-Cooper Cole
  • It might be added, though, that the glissando is an effect which should not be overdone.

    Violin Mastery Frederick H. Martens
  • The glissando passages in sixths are impossible on modern instruments.

    Nicolo Paganini: His Life and Work Stephen Samuel Stratton
  • The abruptness with which the sound of the voice fades as it starts the glissando, leaves the impression of E♭ still sounding.

    The Tinguian Fay-Cooper Cole
  • The sudden diminuation of tone taken with a glissando gives an effect something like a short groan.

    The Tinguian Fay-Cooper Cole
  • Among special effects the glissando is really beautiful when properly done.

    Violin Mastery Frederick H. Martens
  • Various effects can be obtained on the harp: by harmonics, by damping, by guitar tones, by the glissando.

  • In the second measure there is an almost inaudible tone at the end of the glissando.

    The Tinguian Fay-Cooper Cole
British Dictionary definitions for glissando


noun (pl) -di (-diː), -dos
a rapidly executed series of notes on the harp or piano, each note of which is discretely audible
a portamento, esp as executed on the violin, viola, etc
Word Origin
C19: probably Italianized variant of glissade
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for glissando

1873, Italianized form of French glissant, present participle of glisser (see glissade).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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