[tuh-kah-tuh; Italian tawk-kah-tah]

noun, plural toc·ca·tas, toc·ca·te [tuh-kah-tee; Italian tawk-kah-te] /təˈkɑ ti; Italian tɔkˈkɑ tɛ/. Music.

a composition in the style of an improvisation, for the piano, organ, or other keyboard instrument, intended to exhibit the player's technique.

Origin of toccata

1715–25; < Italian: “touched,” feminine past participle of toccare touch Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for toccata

Historical Examples of toccata

  • But the music was not all to the tune of “A Toccata of Galuppi's.”

  • I wish you would send me Handel's six fugues and the toccata and fugues by Eberlin.

  • In the Bachgesellschaft edition the toccata is called fantasia.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams

  • The toccata is in two movements—allegro moderato and adagio.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams

  • None of their definitions seems to apply to the Toccata by Chaminade.

    Piano Playing

    Josef Hofmann

British Dictionary definitions for toccata



a rapid keyboard composition for organ, harpsichord, etc, dating from the baroque period, usually in a rhythmically free style

Word Origin for toccata

C18: from Italian, literally: touched, from toccare to play (an instrument), touch
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

Word Origin and History for toccata

1724, from Italian toccata, from toccare "to touch." A composition for keyboard instrument, intended to exhibit the touch and technique of the performer, and having the air of an improvisation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper