- a secular part song without instrumental accompaniment, usually for four to six voices, making abundant use of contrapuntal imitation, popular especially in the 16th and 17th centuries.
- a lyric poem suitable for being set to music, usually short and often of amatory character, especially fashionable in the 16th century and later, in Italy, France, England, etc.
- any part song.
Origin of madrigal
Examples from the Web for madrigal
The new book majors on mortality, and not just with Mrs. Madrigal.Armistead Maupin Bids Farewell to 'Tales'
February 2, 2014
I must needs try my new-fledged pinions in sonnet, elogy, and madrigal.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
Away from Madrigal—anywhere—and at once; tomorrow at latest.The Historical Nights Entertainment, Second Series
The three poets, with three lutes, were singing a madrigal in her honour.Little Novels of Italy
Maurice Henry Hewlett
Perhaps she would soon be down—should he write the madrigal he had promised her?The Child of Pleasure
The madrigal differed from this only in dealing with secular subjects.Woman's Work in Music
- music a type of 16th- or 17th-century part song for unaccompanied voices with an amatory or pastoral textCompare glee (def. 2)
- a 14th-century Italian song, related to a pastoral stanzaic verse form
Word Origin and History for madrigal
"short love poem," also "part-song for three or more voices," 1580s, from Italian madrigale, probably from Venetian dialect madregal "simple, ingenuous," from Late Latin matricalis "invented, original," literally "of or from the womb," from matrix (genitive matricis) "womb" (see matrix).