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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1773, from Italian sinfonia, from Medieval Latin symphonia (see symphony).


n. 1 A symphony. 2 A piece or music serving as an overture, interlude or ritornello. 3 A small symphony orchestra.


Sinfonia is the Italian word for symphony, from the Latin symphonia, in turn derived from Ancient Greek συμφωνία symphōnia (agreement or concord of sound), from the prefix σύν (together) and ϕωνή (sound). In English it most commonly refers to a 17th- or 18th-century orchestral piece used as an introduction, interlude, or postlude to an opera, oratorio, cantata, or suite (, who gives the origin of the word as Italian). The word is also found in other Romance languages such as Spanish or Portuguese.

In the Middle Ages down to as late as 1588, it was also the Italian name for the hurdy-gurdy . Johann Sebastian Bach used the term for his keyboard compositions also known as Three-part Inventions, and after about 1800, the term, when in reference to opera, meant " Overture" .

In the 20th and 21st centuries it is found in the names of some chamber orchestras, such as the Northern Sinfonia .

Sinfónía (Todmobile album)

Sinfónía ( Eng: Symphony) is the live album of 11 hits performed by one of the most recognised Icelandic pop/rock bands - Todmobile & orchestral works of the 72-piece Icelandic Symphony Orchestra (led by Bernharðs Wilkinson) at the Laugardalshöll in Reykjavík on November 14, 2003. The album/concert also featured the return of the original lead singer, Eyþór Arnalds. There was a corresponding DVD release with this album.

Sinfonia (Berio)

Sinfonia (Symphony) is a composition by the Italian composer Luciano Berio which was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its 125th anniversary. Composed in 1968–69 for orchestra and eight amplified voices, it is a musically innovative post-serial classical work, with multiple vocalists commenting about musical (and other) topics as the piece twists and turns through a seemingly neurotic journey of quotations and dissonant passages. The eight voices are not used in a traditional classical way; they frequently do not sing at all, but speak, whisper and shout words by Claude Lévi-Strauss, whose Le cru et le cuit provides much of the text, excerpts from Samuel Beckett's novel The Unnamable, instructions from the scores of Gustav Mahler and other writings.

Leonard Bernstein states in the text version of his Charles Eliot Norton lectures from 1973 that Sinfonia was representative of the new direction classical music was taking after the pessimistic decade of the sixties .

Sinfonia (1968 Berio album)

Sinfonia is a 1968 Columbia Records recording of Luciano Berio conducting the New York Philharmonic and The Swingle Singers in the premier of his 4 movement " Sinfonia." The composer would later add a fifth movement.

In 1992, the London-based "New Swingle Singers" recorded the same work (with an added 5th movement) with the Orchestre National de France conducted by Pierre Boulez ( Erato).

Sinfonia (disambiguation)

A sinfonia is any of several musical instrumental forms.

Sinfonia may also refer to:

  • Sinfónía, a 2004 live album by Icelandic pop/rock band Todmobile with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra
  • Sinfonia (Berio), a 1968–69 composition by the Italian composer Luciano Berio
    • Sinfonia (1968 Berio album), a 1968 recording of Berio conducting the premier of his "Sinfonia"
  • ABC Sinfonia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's national training orchestra from 1967 to 1986

Usage examples of "sinfonia".

Knowing the Kochel catalogue number of the Sinfonia Concertante, for example.