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ritornello form and rondo form

Discussion in 'Music' started by Sallym86, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. This may be a silly question but...what is the difference between ritornello form and rondo form. I know rodo form developed out of ritornello, but what was that development.

    Thanks, sally
     
  2. This may be a silly question but...what is the difference between ritornello form and rondo form. I know rodo form developed out of ritornello, but what was that development.

    Thanks, sally
     
  3. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    As marlin has said, one important difference is that the refrain returns in a variety of related keys in ritornello form, whereas it returns in the tonic in rondo form.
    Another is that the refrain in ritornello form generally returns in fragmentary form after its first appearance (although it may appear complete, and in the tonic, at the end). The fragments are sometimes only a few bars long (hence 'ritornello' = 'small return'). In rondo form, the complete refrain normally returns after each episode.
    Also, in ritornello form there is less contrast between the thematic material of the refrain and episodes than there is in rondo form.
    I don't think rondo form did develop out of ritornello form - the two forms co-existed in the baroque (e.g. Purcell's farmous Rondo from Abdelazar, that Britten used in the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra), although ritornello was undoubtedly the more popular of the two.
    Ritornello form suited the late-baroque style of spinning a continuous movement out of a few initial ideas, while rondo form better suited the classical style of clearly contrasted episodes.
     
  5. Thanks, that all helps a lot!
     

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