Definitions

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

  • n. An instrumental interlude recurring after each stanza in a vocal work.
  • n. A passage or section for full orchestra in a concerto or aria.
  • n. An instrumental interlude in early 17th-century opera.
  • n. The refrain of a rondo.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an orchestral interlude between arias, scenes, or acts in seventeenth-century opera.
  • n. a tutti section in a concerto grosso, aria, etc.

Etymologies

Italian, diminutive of ritorno, return, from ritornare, to return, from Vulgar Latin *retornāre; see return.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Italian ritornello, diminutive of ritorno return, from ritornare to return: compare French ritournelle. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They memorably incorporate, as a kind of ritornello, a string arrangement of the exquisite opening bars of the Prelude in C-sharp minor from Book Two of

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • "ritornello," and I had fondly imagined its impassioned lines were all for me!

    Vendetta: a story of one forgotten

  • The musical content is that of a children's song; the strophic structure actually diminishes any sense of conflict; the insouciant ritornello — — resets each verse like rounds of a game.

    Archive 2008-09-01

  • Nel video viene usata una versione demo del brano, fino alla fine del ritornello.

    No Fat Clips!!! : Electric Car: The Making Of

  • The posthumous op. 8 collection has been noted for its division into solo concertos and concerti grossi, the use of the ritornello principle, and the three-movement fast–slow–fast format.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • On the other end, there's the opening movement of Faschingsschwank aus Wien, where the lyricism is always being interrupted by a boisterous beer-hall ritornello: Florestan suddenly showing up to shake Eusebius out of his reverie and drag him back to the party.

    Been there, done that

  • I do not know about you, but as a tax payer that last Tuesday had to pay the equivalent of 15 days income in taxes I am getting tired of that megalomaniacal Chavez ritornello.

    04/02/2006 - 04/09/2006

  • There will be no consensus program set except for the ever present “Chavez out” ritornello.

    Teodoro Petkoff against Sumate

  • Not a symptom of rectification or common sense: exactly the same ridiculous ritornello of almost half a century, with the same suspects ever capitalism, the US and the democrats from the opposition.

    Cuba as a Venezuelan "

  • In later concertos the louder and more splendid the opening bars of the first ritornello, the smaller and almost more timid will be the solo piano entrance.

    Early Music: An Exchange

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