Share this entry

Share this page

rubato

Syllabification: ru·ba·to
Pronunciation: /ro͞oˈbädō
 
/
Music

Definition of rubato in English:

noun (plural rubatos or rubati /-ˈbätē/)

(also tempo rubato)
The temporary disregarding of strict tempo to allow an expressive quickening or slackening, usually without altering the overall pace.
Example sentences
  • There had been some flaccid rubatos in the preceding Allegro Assai and there were some underplayed syncopations in the Minuet and Trio but the cheer it received was well earned.
  • Performers who play together on a regular basis always time their entry cues precisely and instinctively, shaping and moulding their tempi and rubati accordingly.
  • How do you actually control your rubati without disturbing the flow, so that it knits into the textures, rhythmic line and overall character?

adjective

Back to top  
Performed rubato.
Example sentences
  • Author C. Palmer examined three aspects of timing in piano performance that are not explicitly notated in the score: chord asynchronies, rubato patterns and legato/staccato patterns.
  • He also creates a rubato feel, carefully notated by his tempo indications.
  • Philip warns, however, that while references to rhythmic freedom are common they ‘give no positive information about what actually happens to the rhythm during a rubato passage’.

Origin

Italian, literally 'robbed'.

Definition of rubato in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkʌmbəs(ə)m
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…