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Several notes sung to one syllable. Compare syllabic.

Musical example of melismatic; many notes to one syllable


Listen to a recording of 'For Unto Us a Child is Born' from Handel's Messiah, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and Tenebrae choir.

This hymn is syllabic in the verse (one note to each syllable) and melismatic in the chorus – there are many notes to the syllable 'Glo' in Gloria!

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