fantasia făntā´zhə [key] [Ital.,=fancy], musical composition not restricted to a formal design, but constructed freely in the manner of an improvisation. In the 16th and 17th cent., however, the term designated a contrapuntal piece employing imitation and thus was one of the forerunners of the fugue . The term is also applied to improvisatory pieces based on earlier works, e.g., Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Theory, Forms, and Instruments