noun, plural trem·o·los. Music.

a tremulous or vibrating effect produced on certain instruments and in the human voice, as to express emotion.
a mechanical device in an organ by which such an effect is produced.

Origin of tremolo

1715–25; < Italian: trembling < Latin tremulus tremulous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tremolo

Historical Examples of tremolo

  • I know you affect to scorn the cinema, and this was it, tremolo and all.

    Coming Home

    Edith Wharton

  • It made you shiver to hear the tremolo stop she put on her voice.

  • I have since learned that the greatest violinists do not overemphasise the tremolo.

    The Belovd Vagabond

    William J. Locke

  • The tremolo and sautill displayed the delicate flexibility of his wrist.

    Ole Bull

    Sara C. Bull

  • He did his best, and sang in tremolo from "Oh, Mother, the Mariner!"

    The Quest

    Frederik van Eeden

British Dictionary definitions for tremolo


noun plural -los music

  1. (in playing the violin, cello, etc) the rapid repetition of a single note produced by a quick back-and-forth movement of the bow
  2. the rapid reiteration of two notes usually a third or greater interval apart (fingered tremolo)Compare trill 1 (def. 1)
(in singing) a fluctuation in pitchCompare vibrato
a vocal ornament of late renaissance music consisting of the increasingly rapid reiteration of a single note
another word for tremulant

Word Origin for tremolo

C19: from Italian: quavering, from Medieval Latin tremulāre to tremble
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 tremolo

1801, from Italian tremolo, from Latin tremulus "trembling" (see tremulous).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper