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[trem-uh-loh] /ˈtrɛm əˌloʊ/
noun, plural tremolos. Music.
a tremulous or vibrating effect produced on certain instruments and in the human voice, as to express emotion.
a mechanical device in an organ by which such an effect is produced.
Origin of tremolo
1715-25; < Italian: trembling < Latin tremulus tremulous Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tremolo
Historical Examples
  • The shrill song of frogs, like the tremolo note of a whistle with a pea in it, rang up from the riverside before the sun was down.

  • I know you affect to scorn the cinema, and this was it, tremolo and all.

    Coming Home Edith Wharton
  • The pupil suffering from tremolo or even very strong vibrato must have courage to stop at once and to forego having a big voice.

    Caruso and Tetrazzini on the Art of Singing Enrico Caruso and Luisa Tetrazzini
  • It made you shiver to hear the tremolo stop she put on her voice.

  • Be wary of the tremolo which many singers mistake for vibration.

  • I have since learned that the greatest violinists do not overemphasise the tremolo.

    The Belovd Vagabond William J. Locke
  • It is mostly in tremolo, a sort of indescribable vocal "shake" that is enchanting beyond the power of words to express.

    Upon The Tree-Tops Olive Thorne Miller
  • He did his best, and sang in tremolo from "Oh, Mother, the Mariner!"

    The Quest Frederik van Eeden
  • The tremolo cannot be practised slowly, nor with a stiff or quiet hand.

    Piano Playing Josef Hofmann
  • A good tone should have resonance, or what we call "vibration," but not "tremolo."

British Dictionary definitions for tremolo


noun (music) (pl) -los
  1. (in playing the violin, cello, etc) the rapid repetition of a single note produced by a quick back-and-forth movement of the bow
  2. the rapid reiteration of two notes usually a third or greater interval apart (fingered tremolo) Compare trill1 (sense 1)
(in singing) a fluctuation in pitch Compare vibrato
a vocal ornament of late renaissance music consisting of the increasingly rapid reiteration of a single note
another word for tremulant
Word Origin
C19: from Italian: quavering, from Medieval Latin tremulāre to tremble
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 tremolo

1801, from Italian tremolo, from Latin tremulus "trembling" (see tremulous).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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