from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In music, an instrumental prelude, interlude, or refrain belonging to a vocal work, like a song, aria, or chorus; also, one of the tutti passages in an instrumental concerto. Also formerly called a symphony.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A short return or repetition; a concluding symphony to an air, often consisting of the burden of the song.
  • noun A short intermediate symphony, or instrumental passage, in the course of a vocal piece; an interlude.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Alternative form of ritornello.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The word _symphony_ was formerly used synonymously with _ritornelle_, both words being applied to instrumental interludes between parts of vocal works, but this usage has now entirely disappeared.

    Music Notation and Terminology

  • There is decoration in the ritornelle in E flat and one feels the absence of a compensating emotion, despite the display of contrapuntal skill.

    Chopin : the Man and His Music

  • A semi-chorus, which can also be sung by three solo voices ( "The Pain is over"), closes the sad scene, the ritornelle at the end being made still more effective by the harps, which give it a celestial character.

    The Standard Oratorios Their Stories, Their Music, And Their Composers

  • At its close the chorus of welcome resumes, and the scene ends with a ritornelle of a plaintive kind, foreboding the sorrow which is fast approaching.

    The Standard Oratorios Their Stories, Their Music, And Their Composers

  • A dialogue follows between Adriano and Rienzi, and then the various bands disappear singing the ritornelle of the hymn.

    The Standard Operas (12th edition) Their Plots, Their Music, and Their Composers

  • The old man continued to blow into his horn, concluding his ritornelle in three notes with a mute laugh that wrinkled the corners of his eyes and shook the green glands of his head-gear.

    Tartarin On The Alps

  • I am sure that the Muse of Khemadasa dwells in his simple refrains or ritornelle., two Post-modern French philosophers who wrote on the philosophy of music in their landmark philosophical project,


  • In Sri Lankan music, the refrain or ritornelle works effectively fascinating the heart of the native within the context of a larger creation and complex musical procedures.


  • Appendix E, p. 150, for an example.) [Transcriber's Note: Corrected misspelling "Ribbatua" in original.] _Ritornello, ritornelle_ -- a short instrumental prelude, interlude, or postlude, in a vocal composition, as _e. g._, in an operatic aria or chorus.

    Music Notation and Terminology


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