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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An aria (Italian for air; plural: arie or arias in common usage) in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term is now used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice usually with orchestral accompaniment. Perhaps the most common context for arias is opera, although there are many arias that form movements of oratorios and cantatas. Composers also wrote concert arias, which are not part of any larger work, such as "Ah perfido" by Beethoven, and a number of concert arias by Mozart, such as "Conservati fedele".

The aria first appeared in the 14th century when it signified a manner or style of singing or playing. Aria could also mean a melodic scheme (motif) or pattern for singing a poetic pattern, such as a sonnet. It was also attached to instrumental music, though this is no longer the case. Over time, arias evolved from simple melodies into a structured form. In the 17th century, the aria was written in ternary form (ABA); these arias were known as da capo arias. The aria later "invaded" the opera repertoire with its many sub-species (Aria cantabile, Aria agitata, Aria di bravura, and so on). By the mid-19th century, many operas became a sequence of arias, reducing the space left for recitative, while other operas (for instance those by Wagner) were entirely through-composed, with no section being readily identifiable as a self-contained aria.

An arietta is a short aria.

Notable arias
Voice type Aria Opera Composer
soprano O mio babbino caro Gianni Schicchi Giacomo Puccini
Sì, mi chiamano Mimì La bohème Giacomo Puccini
Vissi d'arte Tosca Giacomo Puccini
Der Hölle Rache The Magic Flute Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Summertime Porgy and Bess George Gershwin
Glitter and Be Gay Candide Leonard Bernstein
Sempre libera La traviata Giuseppe Verdi
When I am laid in Earth Dido and Aeneas Henry Purcell
mezzo-soprano Habanera Carmen Georges Bizet
Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix Samson and Delilah Camille Saint-Saëns
Voi, che sapete The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ombra mai fù Serse George Frideric Handel
contralto Ah, Tanya, Tanya Eugene Onegin Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Weiche, Wotan, weiche Das Rheingold Richard Wagner
Lullaby The Consul Gian Carlo Menotti
tenor La donna è mobile Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi
Problems listening to this file? See media help.
Celeste Aida Aida Giuseppe Verdi
Vesti la giubba Pagliacci Ruggero Leoncavallo
Nessun dorma Turandot Giacomo Puccini
E lucevan le stelle Tosca Giacomo Puccini
baritone Largo al factotum The Barber of Seville Gioachino Rossini
Votre toast (Toreador song) Carmen Georges Bizet
Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja The Magic Flute Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Die Frist ist um The Flying Dutchman Richard Wagner
Tutto e deserto... Il balen del suo sorriso Il trovatore Giuseppe Verdi
bass Non più andrai The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
O Isis und Osiris The Magic Flute Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Madamina, il catalogo è questo Don Giovanni Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Hier sitz ich zur Wacht Götterdämmerung Richard Wagner
Notable operatic duets
Voice ranges Aria Opera Composer
tenor and soprano Libiamo ne' lieti calici La traviata Giuseppe Verdi
O soave fanciulla La bohème Giacomo Puccini
Parle-moi de ma mère Carmen Georges Bizet
tenor and mezzo-soprano Già i sacerdoti adunansi Aida Giuseppe Verdi
tenor and baritone Au fond du temple saint (In The Depths Of The Temple) The Pearl Fishers Georges Bizet
O Mimì, tu più non torni La bohème Giacomo Puccini
soprano and soprano Che soave Zeffiretto The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
soprano and mezzo-soprano Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio Madama Butterfly Giacomo Puccini
soprano and mezzo-soprano The Flower Duet Lakmé Léo Delibes

See also

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also ARIA




From Italian aria, metathesis from Latin aera, accusative of āēr < Ancient Greek ἀήρ (aēr), air).

Cognate to air.


  • IPA: /ˈɑː.ɹi.ɑ/



arias or arie

aria (plural arias or arie)

  1. A musical piece written typically for a solo voice with orchestral accompaniment in an opera or cantata.




Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it


Metathesis from Latin aera, accusative of āēr < Ancient Greek ἀήρ (aēr), air).


ària, /ˈarja/, /"arja/


aria f. (plural arie)

  1. air
  2. look, appearance, countenance
  3. (plurale tantum) airs
  4. air, wind
  5. (music) aria, song

Related terms


  • Anagrams of aair
  • arai


Polish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia pl


From Italian aria.


aria f.

  1. aria


Singular Plural
Nominative aria arie
Genitive arii arii
Dative arii ariom
Accusative arię arie
Instrumental arią ariami
Locative arii ariach
Vocative ario arie

Simple English

An Aria is a long song accompanying a solo voice. An aria is usually in an opera. It is an Italian word of the 18th century meaning “air” (i.e. a tune).

In operas of the Baroque period most of the music was either “recitative” or “aria”. Recitative (from a word meaning: “to recite” i.e. “to tell”) was sung quickly, almost as if it were being spoken. The singer was accompanied just by a few supporting chords, usually on a harpsichord. The story was being told in the recitative. Once the situation in the story had changed there would be an aria. The singer would sing a song which expressed his or her feelings. The aria had more musical interest than the recitative. Arias were usually in what we call “ABA” form or “Da Capo” form. There was a main section, then a middle part, then the main section was repeated (“Da Capo” means: “back to the beginning”). In the Da Capo section the singer usually improvised, adding many embellishments and ornaments. The aria gave performers the opportunity to show off their virtuosity.

The word “aria” is not just used in opera. Arias can be found in cantatas or just by themselves. Sometimes pieces for instruments are called “aria”. These are often a tune with variations, such as Handel's famous "Air with Variations" for harpsichord, also known as the Harmonious Blacksmith.

In the 19th century the difference between recitative and aria in opera started to fade. Composers like Richard Wagner made the music much more continuous. He did not want audiences clapping in the middle of his operas. He wanted the music to develop dramatically and continuously.

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