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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tremolo
Historical Examples
  • I know you affect to scorn the cinema, and this was it, tremolo and all.

    Coming Home Edith Wharton
  • It made you shiver to hear the tremolo stop she put on her voice.

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

    The Belovd Vagabond William J. Locke
  • The tremolo and sautill displayed the delicate flexibility of his wrist.

    Ole Bull Sara C. Bull
  • He did his best, and sang in tremolo from "Oh, Mother, the Mariner!"

    The Quest Frederik van Eeden
  • The voice rose to a higher pitch than usual, and assumed a tremolo.

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

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann
  • "An endless succession of meals," said Mr. Topes, with a tremolo and a sigh.

    Mortal Coils Aldous Huxley
  • A good tone should have resonance, or what we call "vibration," but not "tremolo."

  • Branasko saw it, too, and his face paled and a tremolo was in his voice when he spoke.

    The Land of the Changing Sun William N. Harben
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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