I've seen this term used for a number of performances, but I couldn't find a definition for this word. Almost all results on Google lead me to a band named "Coldplay", which is not the one I'm looking for.

Assuming from the performances where I've seen this word, it seemed to me that it means a musical piece played by someone for the first time only by reading the notes, without having practiced it before the performance. However, this is only my assumption. Is there a clear definition for the word "coldplay"?

  • 1
    Well, there's this possibility: dailyedge.ie/musicians-play-ice-instruments-366406-Feb2012 Oct 2, 2014 at 19:30
  • 5
    A terrible band from the UK maybe?
    – Neil Meyer
    Feb 9, 2016 at 5:58
  • 1
    Is it possible you've misinterpreted this as one word? Using the words "cold play" as adjective-noun would make sense to most musicians. i.e. "She played the performance cold." "Let's give the music a cold play." etc. Contrast with being "warmed up". Saying "playing cold" instead is a bit more common.
    – NReilingh
    Aug 30, 2016 at 15:42
  • "Assuming from the performances where I've seen this word" We need pointers to places where you've seen the word. It's not a commonly known term. (In fact, I strongly suspect it was a mistake or you're misremembering the word.) May 8, 2017 at 21:09

4 Answers 4


I've never heard "coldplay" used but I would assume it would be the same as "playing a song cold". This is when a group plays a song together (typically in a live setting) either without having practiced the song at all or could also apply if the group hasn't played or practiced a song together for an extended period of time.

I've also heard the term "cold read" used in place of sight reading in a practice setting.


Maybe someone used "Coldplay" to mean a sight-read. It's not a generally-used term. Considering the possibility of confusion with the band, I'd avoid using it.

  • 3
    Considering the band itself, I avoid using it. Mar 3, 2016 at 18:28

Well, I don't know in English, but in French, translation of Coldplay would be "jeu froid".

And we say that someone has a "jeu froid" when he mechanically plays the song without any personal interpretation.

In fact, this can be related to the answers that says that coldplay is about someone that plays the song without practising before: if it hasn't been practiced before, you can only play it without personal interpretation.

  • 5
    I'd disagree strongly with the last part, an advanced sight-reader and player can easily put their own spin on something they're seeing for the first time.
    – user28
    May 1, 2017 at 15:28

Although I've never heard it used, I agree with the answer that a "cold play" sounds similar to a "cold reading" (reading from sheets, usually unfamiliar with the text) and may mean a cold reading of music (sight reading).

The name of the band Coldplay, originally two words, comes from a 1997 poetry book and its originally intended meaning is up to the poet. A friend of the singer had used it for his own band and suggested it to them.

This link on their site agrees with this fact.

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