Definition of stretto in English:


Pronunciation /ˈstredō/ /ˈstrɛdoʊ/


  • 1

    (also stretta)
    A passage, especially at the end of an aria or movement, to be performed in quicker time.

    ‘The major-third interval is then employed with its minor counterpart horizontally to help furnish a stretto passage.’
    • ‘Elisions, stretti, contractions, prolongations and antiphonal presentations are only some of the devices the composer frequently employs to achieve a pacing that clarifies the overall direction of the melodic trajectory of a piece.’
    • ‘One could consider this a contrapuntal jeu d' esprit, with rapid lines of imitation and stretto, but for its character of psychological unease.’
    • ‘Maybe too little stretto and too little rubato in the Emperor's Waltz by Strauss but this was definitely not the fault of the orchestra.’
    1. 1.1A section at the end of a fugue in which successive introductions of the theme follow at shorter intervals than before, increasing the sense of excitement.
      ‘In one, the four sections of the choir enter one after another with the same material, as in a stretto fugue.’
      • ‘The Canzonetta is a contrapuntal work consisting of a series of fugues displaying stretto, contrary motion, and inversion; rhythmic motion tends to be lively, and the detail of musical lines illuminating.’
      • ‘They got no louder than a whisper, but began to overlap faster and faster like a stretto in a mad fugue, finally getting stuck on the phrase, ‘I'll see you around.’’
      • ‘The second movement, in contrast, is an obvious fugue, bristling with stretto to powerful effect.’
      • ‘He excelled the skills even of Frescobaldi in the manipulation of fugal devices such as countersubject, stretto and sustained pedalpoint.’


  • (as a direction) in quicker time.

    • ‘It sounds like odd moments of Berlioz, Tchaikovsky or Ravel, but only in respect of isolated chords here and there, a harp glissando upbeat, a stretto passage for the violins.’


Italian, literally ‘narrow’.