A song or aria in which the character sings as many words as possible in the shortest time.
a polyphonic work in which one or more voices sings the syllabic text as fast as possible. Modern examples include some Gilbert and Sullivan songs and performances by Danny Kaye. The medieval Petronian motet adopts this texture.
A song that's more spoken than sung. [Aha! Someone with lots more knowledge than I have has kindly provided a better definition!] The most famous examples of patter songs are those sung by Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady. Some of Richard Burton's numbers in Camelot are also considered patter songs.