Definition of crescendo in English:

crescendo

nouncrescendos, crescendi

  • 1The loudest point reached in a gradually increasing sound.

    ‘the port engine's sound rose to a crescendo’
    ‘the roar of the crowd reaches a crescendo’
    • ‘A great babble of voices all rose to a crescendo of sound that could only be the prelude to panic.’
    • ‘Excited chattering rose to a crescendo in the auditorium as the sound of the fast-moving convoy fell upon the ears of those at the back of the crowd.’
    • ‘Comedy sound effects come to a crescendo as the abused machine finally collapses in a heap of scrap metal.’
    • ‘She began cursing with bitter vehemence and knocked the remaining pots around to a crescendo of reverberating noise.’
    • ‘They had scrambled almost back to the road as the band's cacophony rose to a crescendo.’
    • ‘The atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic, and with the roof closed, and the sound reaching a crescendo, it made the hairs on my neck stand up.’
    • ‘The two embraced as the applause grew to a crescendo.’
    • ‘As the engine races to a crescendo, we head off along what appears to be a new-mown field, then just as it dawns on me that this is the airstrip, we are airborne.’
    • ‘Forty male voices sang in spell-binding chorus, softening at moments and then rising, fortified, to a crescendo.’
    • ‘Soon the wind rose to a crescendo as it tore through trees and over roof tops.’
    • ‘It began as an almost pleasant noise, but then grew to a crescendo.’
    • ‘The shouting grew louder and to a crescendo as a door opened.’
    • ‘The applause rose to a crescendo when four white doves were freed and flew into the night sky.’
    • ‘It breaks and builds to a crescendo, the classic flute section floating over the top.’
    • ‘Each song starts slowly then builds up to a crescendo.’
    • ‘Cicadas start to shrill, building to a crescendo that threatens to rupture eardrums.’
    • ‘The music hit a crescendo as the dancers beneath the brightly lit lanterns increased the momentum of the dance.’
    • ‘The music reaches a crescendo, and their eyes meet.’
    • ‘The piano music rose to a crescendo, the pianist pounding on the keys so loudly Jane covered her ears.’
    • ‘The background music swells to a crescendo of heavenly orchestration in a moment intended to make audiences feel proud.’
    1. 1.1A gradually increasing sound.
      ‘a crescendo of shrieks built until the entire auditorium was filled’
      ‘he faced a crescendo of boos every time he touched the ball’
  • 2The highest point reached in a progressive increase of intensity.

    ‘the hysteria reached a crescendo around the spring festival’
    • ‘It was a fitting crescendo to a remarkable exhibition.’
    • ‘What followed was a rising crescendo in which he saw glorious opportunities for the future, the future in particular of left-of-centre politics.’
    • ‘Although many speakers struck bland notes individually, together these became a crescendo of shared concern.’
    • ‘His sluggish response kicked off a crescendo of criticism, prompting calls for him to resign from within his own coalition.’
    • ‘I think both clubs felt it worked very well but that should not build into a crescendo of rumours that the rugby club are moving in with us.’
    • ‘They believe that if you try hard enough there's a steady crescendo of improvement and your fate is in your own hands.’
    • ‘That crescendo builds up, you are on your own and think you have to do something.’
    peak, pinnacle, height, high point, highest point, summit, top
    1. 2.1A progressive increase in intensity.
      ‘there were six months of gradual crescendo then three weeks of total mayhem’
      ‘a crescendo of misery’
      peak, pinnacle, height, high point, highest point, summit, top
  • 3Music
    A gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music.

    ‘each time the key changes, there is a gradual crescendo’
    • ‘The second is a three-part lullaby and the finale a moto perpetuo in gradual crescendo.’
    • ‘As Sora walked further down the hall, the redhead's sensitive ears picked up a gradual crescendo of a beautifully played piano.’
    • ‘Instead, it had more of a gradual crescendo, a spirit to it that demanded a faster movement.’
    • ‘Each piece has multiple tension points and crescendos to keep your ear engaged for a hard listen, but it honestly works best as background music.’
    • ‘The music rose in a whirling crescendo as the tempo got faster.’
    1. 3.1A passage of music marked or performed with a crescendo.
      • ‘The musical phraseology was convincing, and the crescendos and decrescendos were accurately measured and performed.’
      • ‘The final crescendo was stunningly articulated!’
      • ‘As crescendo after crescendo uplifts the piece, the group becomes more and more abrasive and unforgiving.’
      • ‘I was dissatisfied with my execution of the crescendos and decrescendos in the ‘A Section’ of the work's scherzo movement.’

adverb

Music
  • With a gradual increase in loudness.

    ‘in the upper three parts there are groups of longer notes played crescendo’
    • ‘Each goal is honoured with the crescendo beat of drums and the noise is increased by the cheers of the successful party.’
    • ‘Reversing the crescendo pattern used by so many instrumental bands, the song begins with booming drums and layers of distorted bass, high-end guitars, and uplifting piano.’

adjective

Music
  • Gradually increasing in loudness.

    ‘a short crescendo kettledrum roll’

verbcrescendoes, crescendoing, crescendoed

[no object]
  • Increase in loudness or intensity.

    ‘the reluctant cheers began to crescendo’
    • ‘More laughter from the audience, which crescendoed as Kelly began actually discussing the things, in terms of their visual history and morphology.’
    • ‘It's also there in the way he ends notes in the verses, crescendoing and pitching up and then choking them off suddenly, cutting the sound short.’
    • ‘Soon, the faint pitter-patter crescendoed into the staccato of heavy drops falling on Heinrich's poncho.’
    • ‘The drums boomed, the bass often got lost in the mix under dueling guitars, and the dueling guitars crescendoed.’
    • ‘A chorus of male voices rose above the din, crescendoing, singing ‘Jezebel’ in ringing tones that deafened the room with awe.’
    • ‘The advisor started chuckling softly to himself, and it grew and crescendoed into the same maniacal laughter that was coming out of the priestess's mouth far away.’
    • ‘Jonas's voice crescendoed steadily with every word.’
    • ‘Murmuring broke out and crescendoed into pandemonium.’
    • ‘The horse's gait changed to a gallop, and the muffled rhythm of the hoof beats crescendoed until they were uncannily loud and hollow.’
    • ‘The song crescendoed, and they both closed their eyes.’
    • ‘My voice crescendoed into a yell slowly throughout my speech, bringing up memories of events that I'd overcome.’
    • ‘Her voice started low, hardly audible, but slowly crescendoed as the temperature of the room dropped.’
    • ‘It crescendoed and tipped off at an intensely sharp note.’
    • ‘His voice, at first, had been soft but soon crescendoed into a bellow.’
    • ‘We waited a few seconds in silence, before we heard rhythmic footsteps crescendoing as a dim, short outline approached the door.’
    • ‘When motorized sounds roared and heavy gunfire crescendoed, he ran, so I ran too.’
    • ‘She heard voices crescendo until the words were finally understandable.’
    • ‘This will be almost falsetto but will have enough heaviness to enable the singer to crescendo smoothly.’
    • ‘As the music evolved, each harmonic would crescendo but no harmonic would crescendo any louder than another.’
    • ‘The drumming of his fingers matched the rain in a crescendoing concerto.’

Origin

Late 18th century Italian, present participle of crescere ‘to increase’, from Latin crescere ‘grow’.

Pronunciation

crescendo

/krɪˈʃɛndəʊ/