noun, plural me·lis·mas, me·lis·ma·ta [mi-liz-muh-tuh] /mɪˈlɪz mə tə/. Music.
- an ornamental phrase of several notes sung to one syllable of text, as in plainsong or blues singing.
noun plural -mata (-mətə) or -mas
- music an expressive vocal phrase or passage consisting of several notes sung to one syllable
n.1837, from Greek melisma “a song, an air, a tune, melody,” from melos “music, song, melody; musical phrase or member,” literally “limb,” from PIE *mel- “a limb.” Related: Melismatic.