Rondo

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Rondo is an instrumental musical form [1] introduced in the Classical period.

Contents

Etymology

The English word rondo comes from the Italian form of the French rondeau, which means "a little round". [2]

Despite the common etymological root, rondo and rondeau as musical forms are essentially different. Rondeau is a vocal musical form that was originally developed as monophonic music (in the 13th century) and then as polyphonic music (in the 14th century). Notably, both vocal forms of rondeau nearly disappeared from the repertoire by the beginning of the 16th century. [3] [4] [5] In French, rondeau is used for both forms, while in English rondeau is generally used for the vocal musical form, while rondo is used for the instrumental musical form. [6] [7]

Form

Typical tonal structure of classical seven-part rondo, late 18th and early 19th centuries [8]
 ABACAB'A
Major keyIVIVI, IV or
parallel minor
III
Minor keyIIII
or V
IVI or IVIII

In rondo form, a principal theme (sometimes called the "refrain") alternates with one or more contrasting themes, generally called "episodes", but also occasionally referred to as "digressions" or "couplets". Possible patterns in the Classical period include: ABA, ABACA, or ABACABA. [9] These are sometimes designated "first rondo", "second rondo", and "third rondo", respectively. The first rondo is distinguished from the three-part song form principally by the fact that at least one of the themes is a song form in itself, but the difference in melodic and rhythmic content of the themes in rondo form is typically greater than in song form, and the accompanimental figuration in the parts of the rondo (unlike the song form) is usually contrasted. [10] The number of themes can vary from piece to piece, and the recurring element is sometimes embellished and/or shortened in order to provide for variation. Perhaps the best-known example of rondo form is Beethoven's "Für Elise", an ABACA rondo.

The pattern of repeats, however, in 18th-century ballet music, that is, in music intended specifically for dancing rather than listening, is often not predictable. An instructive example comes from the pasticcio pantomime ballet Le peintre amoureux de son modèle (around 1760s), extant in the Ferrère manuscript (F-Po Rés. 68)[ incomplete short citation ]. The final contredanse générale, for example, which was taken from J.-P. Rameau's Les fêtes d'Hébé and which was to be played en rondeau, has a repeat structure of AA [BBACCA] × 4 (that is, after the initial AA, the sequence BBACCA is repeated four times).[ citation needed ]

A Baroque predecessor to the rondo was the ritornello. Ritornello form was used in the fast movements of baroque concertos and in many baroque vocal and choral works. The ripieno ( tutti ) plays the main ritornello theme, while soloists play the intervening episodes. As typical of Baroque continuo playing, in the tutti sections the soloists also play as part of the ensemble; while in the solo sections most of the remaining instruments in the ensemble may stop, in order to provide some transparency to the soloist(s), or may be used sparsely (in either case, the solos are accompanied thoroughly or punctuated by a harpsichord or the like, together with a violoncello da gamba or the like). [11] While Rondo form is similar to ritornello form, it is different in that ritornello brings back the subject or main theme in fragments and in different keys, but the rondo brings back its theme complete and in the same key. Cedric Thorpe Davie is one author, however, who considers the ritornello form the ancestor, not of the rondo form, but of the classical concerto form (which also occurs, as a form, in many a classical-era aria). [12]

A common expansion of rondo form is to combine it with sonata form, to create the sonata rondo form. Here, the second theme acts in a similar way to the second theme group in sonata form by appearing first in a key other than the tonic and later being repeated in the tonic key. Unlike sonata form, thematic development does not need to occur except possibly in the coda. The last movement of Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique is an example of a sonata rondo. [8]

Main theme of a sonata rondo, the final movement of Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique Pathetique-3 Incipit.svg
Main theme of a sonata rondo, the final movement of Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique

Examples of rondo form

Character type

Rondo as a character-type (as distinct from the form) refers to music that is fast and vivacious – normally Allegro . Many classical rondos feature music of a popular or folk character. Music that has been designated as "rondo" normally subscribes to both the form and character. On the other hand, there are many examples of slower, reflective works that are rondo in form but not in character; they include Mozart's Rondo in A minor, K. 511 (marked Andante).

Other usages

A well-known operatic vocal genre of the late 18th century, referred to at that time by the same name but distinguished today in English and German writing by the differently accented term "rondò" is cast in two parts, slow-fast. [7]

Sources

  1. Cole, Malcolm S. (January 20, 2001). "Rondo". Grove Music Online . Oxford University Press: 1, 3. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.23787.
  2. "rondo (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  3. Hoppin, Richard H. (1978). "The Rondeau". Medieval Music . New York: W.W. Norton. pp.  296–297. ISBN   0-393-09090-6.
  4. Hoppin, Richard H. (1978). "The Rondeaux". Medieval Music . New York: W. W. Norton. pp.  426–429. ISBN   0-393-09090-6.
  5. Wilkins, Nigel (2001). "Rondeau (i)". Grove Music Online . Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.23782.
  6. Malcolm S. Cole, "Rondo", §3, in: Grove Music Online , 2001
  7. 1 2 Don Neville, "Rondò", The New Grove Dictionary of Opera , 4 vols., edited by Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan Press, 1992).
  8. 1 2 White, John D. (1976). The Analysis of Music, pp. 54–56. ISBN   0-13-033233-X.
  9. Eugene K. Wolf, "Rondo", Harvard Dictionary of Music, fourth edition, edited by Don Michael Randel. Harvard University Press Reference Library (Cambridge: Belknap Press for Harvard University Press, 2003). ISBN   978-0-674-01163-2.
  10. Percy Goetschius, Lessons in Musical Form: A Manual of Analysis of All the Structural Factors (Boston: Oliver Ditson Company, 1904): 117; Leon Stein, Anthology of Musical Forms: Structure and Style, expanded edition (New York: Summy-Birchard, Inc.. 1979): 87. ISBN   0-87487-164-6.
  11. David Fallows, "Tutti", in: Grove Music Online, Jan. 20, 2001 (Date of access: 12 Oct. 2018); Peter Williams and David Ledbetter, "Continuo", in: Grove Music Online, Jan. 20, 2001 (Date of access: 12 Oct. 2018).
  12. Thorpe Davie, Musical Structure and Design.[ full citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Classical period (music) Genre of Western music (c.1730–1820)

The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly 1730 and 1820.

Cadenza

In music, a cadenza is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a "free" rhythmic style, and often allowing virtuosic display. During this time the accompaniment will rest, or sustain a note or chord. Thus an improvised cadenza is indicated in written notation by a fermata in all parts. A cadenza will usually occur over the final or penultimate note in a piece, the lead-in or over the final or penultimate note in an important subsection of a piece. It can also be found before a final coda or ritornello.

Aria Musical piece for a single voice as part of a larger work

In music, an aria is a self-contained piece for one voice, with or without instrumental or orchestral accompaniment, normally part of a larger work. An aria is a formal musical composition unlike its counterpart, the recitative.

Sonata form is a musical structure consisting of three main sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation. It has been used widely since the middle of the 18th century.

Piano concerto

A piano concerto is a type of concerto, a solo composition in the classical music genre which is composed for a piano player, which is typically accompanied by an orchestra or other large ensemble. Piano concertos are typically virtuoso showpieces which require an advanced level of technique on the instrument, including melodic lines interspersed with rapid scales, arpeggios, chords, complex contrapuntal parts and other challenging material. When piano concertos are performed by a professional concert pianist, a large grand piano is almost always used, as the grand piano has a fuller tone and more projection than an upright piano. Piano concertos are typically written out in music notation, including sheet music for the pianist, orchestra parts for the orchestra members, and a full score for the conductor, who leads the orchestra in the accompaniment of the soloist.

Solo (music)

In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung featuring a single performer, who may be performing completely alone or supported by an accompanying instrument such as a piano or organ, a continuo group, or the rest of a choir, orchestra, band, or other ensemble. Performing a solo is "to solo", and the performer is known as a soloist.

Sonata rondo form is a musical form often used during the Classical music era. As the name implies, it is a blend of sonata form and rondo form.

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Beethoven)

The Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 is generally thought to have been composed in 1800, although the year of its composition has been questioned by some contemporary musicologists. It was first performed on 5 April 1803, with the composer as soloist. During that same performance, the Second Symphony and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives were also premiered. The composition was published in 1804, and was dedicated to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia. The first primary theme is reminiscent of that of Mozart's 24th Piano Concerto.

A ritornello[ritorˈnɛllo] is a recurring passage in Baroque music for orchestra or chorus.

Cyclic form is a technique of musical construction, involving multiple sections or movements, in which a theme, melody, or thematic material occurs in more than one movement as a unifying device. Sometimes a theme may occur at the beginning and end ; other times a theme occurs in a different guise in every part.

A sonatina is a small sonata. As a musical term, sonatina has no single strict definition; it is rather a title applied by the composer to a piece that is in basic sonata form, but is shorter and lighter in character, or technically more elementary, than a typical sonata. The term has been in use at least since the late baroque; there is a one-page, one-movement harpsichord piece by Handel called "Sonatina". It is most often applied to solo keyboard works, but a number of composers have written sonatinas for violin and piano, for example the Sonatina in G major for Violin and Piano by Antonín Dvořák, and occasionally for other instruments, for example the Clarinet Sonatina by Malcolm Arnold.

Clarinet Concerto (Mozart) Musical composition by Mozart

Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622, was written in October 1791 for the clarinetist Anton Stadler. It consists of three movements, in a fast–slow–fast succession:

Piano Concerto No. 2 (Beethoven)

The Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19, by Ludwig van Beethoven was composed primarily between 1787 and 1789, although it did not attain the form in which it was published until 1795. Beethoven did write a second finale for it in 1798 for performance in Prague, but that is not the finale that was published. It was used by the composer as a vehicle for his own performances as a young virtuoso, initially intended with the Bonn Hofkapelle. It was published in December 1801 as Op. 19, later than the publication in March that year of his later composition the Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major as Op. 15, and thus became designated as his second piano concerto.

Piano Concerto No. 1 (Beethoven)

Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15, was written in 1795, then revised in 1800. It was possibly first performed by Beethoven at his first public concert in Vienna on 29 March 1795. It was first published in 1801 in Vienna with dedication to his pupil Princess Anna Louise Barbara Odescalchi, known to her friends as "Babette".

Piano Concerto No. 24 (Mozart) Concertante work by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491, is a concerto composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for keyboard and orchestra. Mozart composed the concerto in the winter of 1785–1786, finishing it on 24 March 1786, three weeks after completing his Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major. As he intended to perform the work himself, Mozart did not write out the soloist's part in full. The premiere was in early April 1786 at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Chronologically, the work is the twentieth of Mozart's 23 original piano concertos.

Piano Sonata No. 13 (Beethoven)

Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-flat major, Op. 27 No. 1, "Quasi una fantasia", is a sonata composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1800–1801.

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Piano concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote 23 original concertos for piano and orchestra. These works, many of which Mozart composed for himself to play in the Vienna concert series of 1784–86, held special importance for him.

A solo concerto is a musical form which features a single solo instrument with the melody line, accompanied by an orchestra. Traditionally, there are three movements in a solo concerto, consisting of a fast section, a slow and lyrical section, and then another fast section. However, there are many examples of concertos that do not conform to this plan.

Concerto for Piano, Violin and Strings (Mendelssohn)

The Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Strings in D minor, MWV O4, also known as the Double Concerto in D minor, was written in 1823 by Felix Mendelssohn when he was 14 years old. This piece is Mendelssohn's fourth work for a solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment, preceded by a Largo and Allegro in D minor for Piano and Strings MWV O1, the Piano Concerto in A Minor MWV O2, and the Violin Concerto in D minor MWV O3. Mendelssohn composed the work to be performed for a private concert on May 25, 1823 at the Mendelssohn home in Berlin with his violin teacher and friend, Eduard Rietz. Following this private performance, Mendelssohn revised the scoring, adding winds and timpani and is possibly the first work in which Mendelssohn used winds and timpani in a large work. A public performance was given on July 3, 1823 at the Berlin Schauspielhaus. Like the A minor piano concerto (1822), it remained unpublished during Mendelssohn's lifetime and it wasn't until 1999 when a critical edition of the piece was available.