absolute music

  1. instrumental music, as a concerto or string quartet, that draws no inspiration from or makes no reference to a text, program, visual image, or title and that exists solely in terms of its musical form, structure, and elements.

Origin of absolute music

First recorded in 1885–90
  • Also called abstract music .

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use absolute music in a sentence

  • The good wife breathed deeply, and went on with her work, sending out absolute music from her needles.

    Silent Struggles | Ann S. Stephens
  • Therefore, discarding critical crutches, it is best to hear the composition primarily as absolute music.

    Franz Liszt | James Huneker
  • In other words—not Wagner's—dance approaches speech from one side just as absolute music does from the other.

  • For that they praised him, as if it were a sine qua non of absolute music that it should be in the sonata form.

    How Music Developed | W. J. Henderson
  • The tendency of composers of absolute music at present is to make less and less use of the strict classic forms.

    How Music Developed | W. J. Henderson

British Dictionary definitions for absolute music

absolute music

  1. music that is not designed to depict or evoke any scene or event: Compare programme music

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