Definition of pastorale in English:


Line breaks: pas¦tor|ale
Pronunciation: /ˌpastəˈrɑːl

noun (plural pastorales or pastorali /-liː/)

  • 1 Music A slow instrumental composition in compound time, usually with drone notes in the bass: the pastorales in Handel’s Messiah and Corelli’s Christmas Concerto
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    • The Concertante pastorale from 1951 sounds moonlit.
    • Movement III unfolds as a graceful pastorale in 6/8 time, presenting the melody twice in its entirety, adding gravity through use of an ostinato-like pedal line.
    • It actually contains a prelude and three dances a well as the pastorale movement - a popular idiom of the period.
  • 2A simple musical play with a rural subject: these two short pastorales are considered the earliest true operas in French
    More example sentences
    • Silverman confirms that during this time of year, Arles was awash in santons, crèches, and performances of pastorales, Nativity plays.
    • Traditional Basque plays known as pastorales, which possibly related to medieval mystery plays, are still performed at festivals.
    • It's an oxymoron but ‘Unconditional’ is an urban pastorale.


early 18th century: from Italian, literally 'pastoral' (adjective used as a noun).

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