- a secular part song without instrumental accompaniment, usually for four to six voices, making abundant use of contrapuntal imitation, popular especially in the 16th and 17th centuries.
- a lyric poem suitable for being set to music, usually short and often of amatory character, especially fashionable in the 16th century and later, in Italy, France, England, etc.
- any part song.
- music a type of 16th- or 17th-century part song for unaccompanied voices with an amatory or pastoral textCompare glee (def. 2)
- a 14th-century Italian song, related to a pastoral stanzaic verse form
n.“short love poem,” also “part-song for three or more voices,” 1580s, from Italian madrigale, probably from Venetian dialect madregal “simple, ingenuous,” from Late Latin matricalis “invented, original,” literally “of or from the womb,” from matrix (genitive matricis) “womb” (see matrix).