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A cappella

Video footage: People clapping in a street of the gothic quarter of Barcelona after seeing a performance by some a cappella singers. (Barcelona, Spain - April 2015)
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Definition of the adjective a cappella

What does a cappella mean as an attribute of a noun?


  1. sung without instrumental accompaniment

Definition of the adverb a cappella

What does a cappella mean as an attribute of something other than a noun?


  1. without musical accompaniment
    • example: they performed a cappella
    • synonym of a cappella: a capella

Alternative definition of the adverb a cappella


  1. [music] Performed by a soloist or choir with no instrumental accompaniment; literally "in the style of the (Sistine) Chapel (in Rome)"; such as a musical Mass done a cappella.
  2. [music] A time indication, equivalent to alla breve.
  3. [music] Performed vocally without instrumental accompaniment.


  1. A cappella music is specifically group or solo singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It contrasts with cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato style. In the 19th century a renewed interest in Renaissance polyphony coupled with an ignorance of the fact that vocal parts were often doubled by instrumentalists led to the term coming to mean unaccompanied vocal music. The term is also used, albeit rarely, as a synonym for alla breve.
  2. "A Cappella" is a 1985 album by Todd Rundgren. The album is one of Rundgren's most unusual in that every sound is the product of the artist's voice. Rundgren employed overdubbing techniques and an E-mu Emulator, electronically manipulating the sound of his voice in order to mimic conventional rock instruments, handclaps, and other sounds. This unique approach to music making was later explored by artists such as Mike Patton and Björk.
    • genre: Pop rock
    • released in (30 years ago)
  3. "A Cappella" is an album from Contemporary Christian, Southern Gospel group Gaither Vocal Band. The album was released on September 30, 2003.
  4. "A Cappella" is a musical album of Los Vidal.
    • released in (18 years ago)
  5. "A cappella" is a musical album of Raimonds Pauls.
    • released on
  6. "A Cappella" is a composition.
  7. "A Cappella" is a musical album of The Persuasions.
  8. "A Cappella" is a musical album of Heritage Singers.

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for A cappella

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Google previewMusic in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories that Shaped our Culture [4 volumes] (2013)

An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories That Shaped Our Culture by Jacqueline Edmondson Ph.D.

A cappella” is Italian for “in the manner of the chapel.” The term originally indicated a style of vocal music sung in church during the Renaissance. Today a cappella means “singing without accompaniment” in a more general sense, indicating ...

Google previewA Dictionary for the Modern Singer (2014)

by Matthew Hoch

Genres that are almost exclusively unaccompanied include Gregorian chant, barbershop, contemporary a cappella groups, and many types of folk music. Many choral compositions are also unaccompanied, including most of the repertoire ...

Google previewHistorical Dictionary of Sacred Music (2016)

by Joseph P. Swain

attempted in Germany to promote a cappella choral singing through the study and revival of Giovanni da Palestrina's music and chant and through new compositions based on those ...

Google previewMini Music Guides: Dictionary of Music (2013)

All the Essential Terms, Composers, and Theory in an Easy-to-Follow Format! by L. C. Harnsberger

Also see a cappella. capriccio, caprice (It., kah-PREET-choh; Fr., kah-PREES): An instrumental piece in a free form. capriccioso (It., kah-preet-CHOH-zoh): Capricious, lively, fanciful. carillon (Fr., kah-ree-YON or KA-ril-lon): A set of bells played ...

Google previewDictionary of Music Education (2013)

by Irma H. Collins

• ACAPPELLA TRADITION A CAPPELLA TRADITION. In church style, choral singing without accompaniment. Generally, any unaccompanied vocal performance. This early choral form reappeared in the early 20th century when Peter C.

Google previewStainer and Barrett's Dictionary of Musical Terms (1898)

by John Stainer, William Alexander Barrett


Google previewA Concise Dictionary of Musical Terms (1884)

To which is Prefixed an Introduction to the Elements of Music by Frederick Niecks

A cappella (It.). (1) In the style of church music. (2) For voices without instrumental accompaniments. When in compositions in this style instruments are joined ...

Google previewA Dictionary for the Modern Conductor (2015)

by Emily Freeman Brown

Also a cappella. capriccioso. 1. (It.) fanciful, capricious; a character word often seen in Italian scores and parts. (Fr. capricieux; Ger. kapriziös, launisch; Sp. capricho.) 2. A title for a piece in a virtuosic style. capricho. (Sp.) fanciful, capricious.

Google previewA New Dictionary of Musical Terms (1878)

With a Short Prefatory Explanation of the Elementary Rules of Music by Sara Anne Carmichael, Samuel Macauley Jackson

A cappella. Alla. that the time is to be taken quicker than usual. It is generally to be met with in movements having four minims in a be which, therefore, in the Alla Breve time, would be equal to four crochets.

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Sign language

"Let There Be Peace" in ASL (sign language) - a cappella

The River Oaks Chorus sings "Let There Be Peace on Earth" a cappella as it's performed in sign language.

Quotes about A cappella

I'll do a cappella stuff, rock 'n' roll and swing stuff. (Juice Newton)
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