Ritornello

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Definition

Ritornello is used to describe a theme which returns frequently throughout a piece of music, or a movement within a larger piece. It is often associated with Rondo form - where the key theme keeps returning interspersed with different material.

Ritornello is a key feature of the Concerto grosso, where the Ripieno (ensemble) group play this recurring theme between different sections played by the Concertino.

Examples


This video explains the concepts and terms associated with the Concerto Grosso, an orchestral form popular in the Baroque period (1600-1750).

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