- an ornamental phrase of several notes sung to one syllable of text, as in plainsong or blues singing.
Origin of melisma
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- music an expressive vocal phrase or passage consisting of several notes sung to one syllable
C19: from Greek: melody
Word Origin and History for melisma
1837, from Greek melisma "a song, an air, a tune, melody," from melos "music, song, melody; musical phrase or member," literally "limb," from PIE *mel- "a limb." Related: Melismatic.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper