Part of speech: noun
Origin: German, late 19th century
a recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea, or situation
Examples of Leitmotif in a sentence
"Alexander Hamilton's life and philosophical outlook is the leitmotif of this particular musical."
"The writers revisited the leitmotif of wealth leading to corruption as the play progressed."
Popularity Over Time
Leitmotif originated from the German word “leitmotiv,” composed of the words “leit” (leading) and “motiv” (motive).
Did you Know?
It can refer to literature, but leitmotif originally applied to musical compositions only. The German loanword is notably demonstrated by the operas of Richard Wagner. Short, recognizable melodies are repeated through the work to tie the larger piece together.