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passacaglia

[ pah-suh-kahl-yuh, pas-uh-kal- ]
/ ˌpɑ səˈkɑl yə, ˌpæs əˈkæl- /
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noun
a slow, dignified dance of Spanish origin.
the music for this dance, based on an ostinato figure.
a musical form based on continuous variations over a ground bass.
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Origin of passacaglia

1650–60; pseudo-Italian spelling of earlier passacalle<Spanish pasacalle literally, step (i.e., dance) in the street (pasa 3rd singular present of pasar to step, pace1 + calle street <Latin callem, accusative of callis path)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use passacaglia in a sentence

  • Besides these there are the three great independent toccatas and the Passacaglia.

  • Dance-measures, the passacaglia, even the jig, are not excluded; and a chorale has its counterpoint in a siciliano.

    Sebastian Bach|Reginald Lane Poole
  • These sonatas and the passacaglia were written for his young son, W. Friedemann, to practise on the pedal clavichord.

    Bach|Charles Francis Abdy Williams

British Dictionary definitions for passacaglia

passacaglia
/ (ˌpæsəˈkɑːljə) /

noun
an old Spanish dance in slow triple time
a slow instrumental piece characterized by a series of variations on a particular theme played over a repeated bass partSee also chaconne (def. 1)

Word Origin for passacaglia

C17: earlier passacalle, from Spanish pasacalle street dance, from paso step + calle street; the ending -alle was changed to -aglia to suggest an Italian origin
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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