[ ob-li-gah-toh; Italian awb-blee-gah-taw ]
/ ˌɒb lɪˈgɑ toʊ; Italian ˌɔb bliˈgɑ tɔ /


(used as a musical direction) obligatory or indispensable; so important that it cannot be omitted.

noun, plural ob·bli·ga·tos, ob·bli·ga·ti [ob-li-gah-tee; Italian awb-blee-gah-tee] /ˌɒb lɪˈgɑ ti; Italian ˌɔb bliˈgɑ ti/.

an obbligato part or accompaniment.
a continuing or persistent subordinate or background motif.
a subordinate part of a solo.

Words nearby obbligato

Also obligato.

Origin of obbligato

1715–25; < Italian: bound, obliged < Latin obligātus; see obligate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for obbligato

British Dictionary definitions for obbligato





not to be omitted in performance

noun plural -tos or -ti (-tiː)

an essential part in a scorewith oboe obbligato
See also ad-lib

Word Origin for obbligato

C18: from Italian, from obbligare to oblige
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