Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An instrumental or vocal composition with a tender melody in a moderately slow rhythm, suggestive of traditional shepherds' music and idyllic rural life.
  • n. A dramatic performance or opera, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, that was based on a rural theme or subject.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a play or a musical product which has a pastoral subject
  • n. art that is suggestive of pastoral themes

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A composition in a soft, rural style, generally in 6-8 or 12-8 time.
  • n. A kind of dance; a kind of figure used in a dance.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music: A variety of opera or cantata in which idyllic or rustic scenes predominate, the dramatic interest usually being slight. The name is sometimes extended to an instrumental work of similar character.
  • n. A vocal or instrumental piece in triple rhythm, often with a drone-bass, in which a studied simplicity or an actual imitation of rustic sounds suggests pastoral life and its emotions.
  • n. Same as pastourelle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a musical composition that evokes rural life

Etymologies

Italian, of herdsmen, pastorale, from Latin pāstōrālis; see pastoral.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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