Acapella or A Cappella – Definition and Correct Spelling

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

How do you spell acapella? When it comes to this common musical term, I always see a bit of confusion around whether it should be written as “a cappella” or “acapella.” So, it’s time I set the record straight and explain the difference and how to use this term correctly.

Is It Acapella or A Cappella?

Acapella or A Capella Definition Correct Spelling

Okay, things get a little dicey when it comes to this loan word, so let me explain as simply as possible. The technically correct spelling you should use is “a cappella,” the version consisting of two separate words.

But I know “acapella” is often used in casual writing and conversation, and most wouldn’t know the difference enough to pick up on the error. Unfortunately, it’s considered an incorrect spelling. So, when you’re writing formally or professionally, make sure to use the correct spelling with two words: “a cappella.”

You can use it in three ways, an adjective, adverb, or noun.

  • Adjective: She sang an a cappella song.
  • Adverb: She sang a cappella.
  • Noun: she sang an a cappella.

Origin or Etymology of the Word A Cappella

A Cappella vs Acapella Ngram
A Cappella and acapella usage trend.

“Cappella” itself is Italian for chapel, and “a cappella” means “in a chapel” or “in a choir” in Italian. When we use this term in English, we’re referring to music without the addition of instruments. So, just singing.

How Do You Say Acapella?

Whether you’re using the correct “a cappella” or the informal “acapella,” the term is pronounced as ah-cah-pellah.

Can Acapella Be One Person?

Absolutely! A cappella music can be performed by a single person or a whole group of singers. It originated from the idea of a choir of people singing together in harmony, with some performing the lower and deeper notes and others taking the higher notes. Together, the different voices make it sound as though there are instruments. The term can also be applied to a single person singing without the aid of musical tools.

What Are the Synonyms of A Cappella?

  • Unaccompanied
  • Vocal
  • Voice-only
  • Solo
  • Un-instrumental

A Cappella Examples in a Sentence

Acapella or A Capella Definition Correct Spelling 1
  • The school choir performed an a cappella rendition of the Canadian anthem for Canada Day, which was so beautiful.
  • My daughter’s a cappella solo captivated the audience during the Kiwanis Music Festival.
  • The local a cappella group gained a lot of popularity with their innovative arrangements of pop songs they performed on the national talent show.
  • The church service last Sunday featured an a cappella performance by the youth choir my son is in.
  • I have to say the band’s a cappella harmonies were a highlight of the concert.
  • I love when my favorite bands and musicians do a cappella versions of their popular songs because they sound unique and beautiful.

Final Words on This Musical Terminology 

Sometimes, the misspelling of a word looks more accurate than the correct version, which is the case here with “acapella” and “a cappella.” But, after reading my guide and tips, you should never get them mixed up again! Remember, cappella means chapel or choir, so the “a” would be separate from the traditional spelling “a cappella.”