ri·​tor·​nel·​lo | \ ˌri-tər-ˈne-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce ritornello (audio) , ˌri-ˌtȯr- \
plural ritornelli\ ˌri-​tər-​ˈne-​(ˌ)lē How to pronounce ritornelli (audio) , ˌri-​ˌtȯr-​ \ or ritornellos

Definition of ritornello

1a : a short recurrent instrumental passage in a vocal composition
b : an instrumental interlude in early opera
2 : a tutti passage in a concerto or rondo refrain

Examples of ritornello in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An orchestral ritornello serves as a bridge between each variation. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, "Listening to the Piece That Made Chopin’s Career," 30 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ritornello.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ritornello

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ritornello

Italian, diminutive of ritorno return, from ritornare to return, from ri- re- + tornare to turn, from Latin, to turn on a lathe — more at turn entry 1

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The first known use of ritornello was in 1632

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Cite this Entry

“Ritornello.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ritornello. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on ritornello

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ritornello

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