Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A form of dramatic declamation between singing and speaking, in which the speaker uses lilt and rhythm but not precise pitches.

Etymologies

German : sprechen, to speak (from Middle High German sprēchen, from Old High German sprehhan) + Stimme, voice (from Middle High German stimme, from Old High German stimma).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The "rude mechanicals" rehearsing their impossibly bad "Pyramus and Thisbe" tragedy have music that makes fun of everything from Schoenberg's "sprechstimme" to Donizetti's mad scene from "Lucia di Lammermoor."

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • And the score is a hodgepodge of dreamy ballads, folk and patriotic song parodies and dense bits of sprechstimme, or speak-singing.

    Solas Nua's first musical, the loopy 'Improbable Frequency'

  • In Alexei Ratmansky's "Pierrot Lunaire," a quartet of Pierrots dance to Arnold Schönberg's 1912 sprechstimme

    Where Beauty Is Not Beastly

  • His role was part speaking, part sprechstimme, and part outright arioso and he was perfection in all of them.

    Lou Harrison's "Young Caesar"

  • Braun did rise above the frenzied orchestra in the fourth and fifth songs in a kind of anguished, wailing sprechstimme to achieve an impact beyond the merely orchestral.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • In the verdant Wagnerian dusk of the prelude, the aching oriental song of the cellos, the weightless slow-dance of Tove's (Soile Isokoski) and Waldemar's (Stig Andersen) ecstatic duet, the mournful lullaby of the "Waldtaube" (Monica Groop), the testosterone roar of "The Wild Hunt", the picaresque ravings of Klaus-Narr (Andreas Conrad) and Barbara Sukova's mesmerising sprechstimme fantasy, every detail was faultlessly delineated.

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • Didn't expect to see so much sprechstimme (rhythmic speaking instead of singing), having accompanied the song in rehearsals for an English-language production here some years ago.

    Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle

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