Tempo rubato Rubato

Merriam-Webster Logo

SINCE 1828
Menu





17.1280572,17.016839 17.5185815,17.4073633 Z M10.5,21 C4.70101013,21 0,16.2989899 0,10.5 C0,4.70101013 4.70101013,0 10.5,0 C16.2989899,0 21,4.70101013 21,10.5 C21,16.2989899 16.2989899,21 10.5,21 Z M10.5,18 C14.6421356,18 18,14.6421356 18,10.5 C18,6.35786438 14.6421356,3 10.5,3 C6.35786438,3 3,6.35786438 3,10.5 C3,14.6421356 6.35786438,18 10.5,18 Z” >


  • JOIN MWU
  • GAMES
  • THESAURUS
  • WORD OF THE DAY
  • VIDEO
  • WORDS AT PLAY
  • FAVORITES
Follow:

rubato

noun

ru·​ba·​to


| \rü-ˈbä-(ˌ)tō

\

plural rubatos

Definition of rubato 

: a fluctuation of tempo within a musical phrase often against a rhythmically steady accompaniment

Examples of rubato in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web


His flexible shaping of phrase and pulse bespoke a natural rubato that arose from within Debussy’s music rather than being imposed on it, nor was textural clarity won at the expense of coloristic detail or surging amplitude of sound.

John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, “Kavakos offers impeccable Shostakovich with CSO, but gutsy passion in short supply,” 9 Mar. 2018



Keeping the music moving with rubato phrasing of the utmost idiomatic naturalness is something Russian conductors like Bychkov do better than any.

John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, “Semyon Bychkov electrifies Orchestra Hall with blazing CSO account of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Manfred’,” 4 May 2018



In the slow second movement, tiny touches of rubato aerated the songlike solo lines.

Zoë Madonna, BostonGlobe.com, “Pianist Jan Lisiecki leads a youth movement at Symphony Hall,” 20 Apr. 2018



The conductor used rubato to great effect, which only sharpened the sense that this was music stirring so urgently within the composer that putting it on paper was only an act of taking dictation from pure inspiration.

Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, “Jennifer Higdon’s ‘Low Brass Concerto’ feels lyrical but cold in its Philadelphia premiere,” 23 Feb. 2018



Her application of rubato alone kept Muti glued to the score.

John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, “CSO presents a pretty premiere as part of Muti’s dervish week of pre-tour activity,” 29 Sep. 2017



Here, his exquisite rubato yielded magical results, beautifully articulated by the NSO strings.

Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, “Eschenbach puts distinctive stamp on Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ with NSO,” 3 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of rubato

1855, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rubato

Italian, literally, robbed

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rubato

Share rubato

Facebook

Twitter

Resources for rubato

Cite

Time Traveler

Time Traveler! Explore the year a word first appeared

Dictionary Entries near rubato

ruban

Rubarths disease

rubasse

rubato

rubaʽi

rubbage

rubbed brick

Statistics for rubato

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rubato

The first known use of rubato was
in 1855

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on rubato

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rubato

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rubato

Comments on rubato

What made you want to look up rubato? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Show Comments 
Hide Comments 

WORD OF THE DAY

circumvent

to manage to get around by ingenuity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles Round 2

  • word-puzzles-round-2
  • Which answer pairs best with all of the following words: free, stretch, front, furnishings, page, movies
  • trouble
    hands
  • home
    couches

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ

SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge – and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America’s largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Merriam-Webster unabridged

Words at Play

  • petrichor-rain-slang-definition

    Words We’re Watching: ‘Petrichor’

    Aka, the scent of rain hitting dry earth

  • words-that-trended-the-week-of-november-30-2018

    The Good, The Bad, & The Semantically Imprecise – 11/30/18

    Words from the week of 11/30/2018

  • entitle-vs-title-usage

    On the Rightful Use of ‘Entitle’

    Can it be used to refer to names?

  • overshare-slang-definition

    Too Much Information on ‘Overshare’

    More Than You Ever Needed to Know

Ask the Editors

  • image1815466723

    How Do You Pronounce ‘Vase’?

    And is one way more correct than the others?

  • video-ghost-words

    Ghost Word

    The story of an imaginary word that managed to sneak past our editors and enter the dictionary.

  • video-literally

    Literally

    How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.

  • video-his-or-her

    Is Singular ‘They’ a Better Choice?

    The awkward case of ‘his or her’

Word Games

  • word-puzzles-round-2

    Word Puzzles Round 2

    More word puzzles to rack your brain

    Take the quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner

    A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

    We are thankful for obscure words.

    Take the quiz

  • Spell It

    Spell It

    Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

    Take the quiz

  • SCRABBLE® Sprint

    SCRABBLE® Sprint

    SCRABBLE® fans, sharpen your skills!

    Play the game

Learn More from M-W
word-puzzles-round-2
Word Puzzles Round 2

Learn More from M-W
petrichor-rain-slang-definition
Words We’re Watching: ‘Petrichor’

Learn More from M-W
unusually-long-words-impedimenta-luggage
12 Unusually Long English Words

Learn More from M-W
image879490827
Trending: Appelbaum: ‘Gaslighting’ Not a Word

Learn More from M-W
image1815466723
How Do You Pronounce ‘Vase’?

Artopium
Artopium
  • Art
    • All
    • Abstract
    • Animals
    • Body Art
    • Cartoonism
    • Computer Art
    • Fantasy
    • Figurative
    • Floral
    • Illustration
    • Landscape
    • Leatherwork
    • Lithography
    • Photography
    • Portrait
    • Realism
    • Sculpture
    • Stippling
    • Still Life
    • Surrealism
    • Watercolor
    • Woodwork
  • Music
    • All
    • Acoustic
    • Ambient
    • Blues
    • Electronica
    • Emo
    • Experimental
    • Folk
    • Funk
    • Gothic
    • Gqom
    • Hip-Hop
    • Industrial
    • Jazz
    • Jungle
    • Metal
    • Pop
    • Psychedelic
    • Punk
    • Reggae
    • Rock
    • Techno
    • Trip-Hop
  • Fashion
    • All
    • Summer
    • Spring
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Accessories
    • African
    • Asian
    • Experimental
    • Gothic
    • Indian
    • Jewelry
    • Mod
    • Punk
    • Retro
    • T-shirts
    • Vintage
  • Video
    • All
    • Animation
    • Avant Garde
    • Comedy
    • Dance
    • Documentary
    • Drama
    • Film-Noir
    • History
    • Home Movie
    • Horror
    • Music Video
    • News
    • Performance Art
    • Sci-Fi
    • Short
  • Books
    • All
    • Biography
    • Body-Mind-Spirit
    • Children’s Fiction
    • Comics
    • Cookbooks
    • Drama
    • Fantasy
    • Fiction
    • Humour
    • Nature
    • Nonfiction
    • Photography
    • Poetry
    • Self-Help
    • Technical
    • Technology
    • Travel

Artopium.com -> Library Index -> Music Terms -> Rubato
Library Menu icon

Music Term: Rubato

R
R & b
R-dat
R.
R.h.
R.i.m. (or rim system)
Ra
Rabab
Rabbia
Rack
Rack ears/rack flanges
Rack mount
Rack space
Rack tom
Rack toms
Rackett
Raddolcendo
Raddoppiare
Radel
Radiation
Radiation pattern
Radical bass
Radio frequencies
Radleyer
Raffrenando
Raga
Ragini
Ragtime
Railroad tracks
Rain stick
Rainstick
Raking
Rall.
Rallentando
Rallentando or rall.
Ram
Ramp wave
Random note generator
Random phase
Range
Rank
Rant
Rap
Rapidamente
Rapido
Rarefaction
Rasa
Rasch
Rasgado, rasqueado
Rasik
Rastrum
Ratchet
Rated load impedance
Ratsche
Rattenando, rattenuto
Rattenuto
Rattle
Rattle idiophone
Rauscher
Ravvivando
Rca plug (jack)
Re
Re bemol
Re bemolle
Re diese
Re diesis
Re sostenido
Re-generation
Reactance
Read
Read head
Read only memory
Ready
Real answer
Real, tonal
Realize
Reason
Rebec
Rebube
Recall
Recapitulation
Recercada, recercar
Recessional
Recht
Recit
Recital
Recitational
Recitative
Recitativo
Reco
Recognize
Record calibration control
Record equalization
Record head
Record level
Record monitor
Record ready
Recorder
Recording buss
Recording chain
Recording group
Recording session
Recording solo
Recordist
Recoupe
Recueilli
Red notes
Redonda
Redowa, rejdowak
Reduction
Reed
Reed cap
Reed instruments
Reel
Reel lock
Reel motor
Reexposition
Reference level
Reference tones
Reflected sound
Reflection
Refrain
Regal
Reggae
Regina caeli laetare
Regisseur
Register
Registration
Regulated power supply
Reigen
Reigenlied
Reine stimmung
Reisado
Rejouissance
Related
Related keys
Relative key
Relative pitch
Relay
Relay rack
Release
Release time
Religioso
Relish
Remettez
Remixer
Remote
Remote hi-hat
Remote key
Remote keys
Renaissance
Renforcer
Renshu
Renversement
Repeat
Repeat echo
Repeat sign
Repeat signs
Repente
Repercussion
Repertoire
Repertory
Repetenda
Repeticion
Repetiteur
Repetition
Replacement dialogue
Replica
Repons
Reponse
Reprise
Requiem
Requiem mass
Res facta
Rescue opera
Residual magnetization
Residual noise
Resin
Resistance
Resistor
Resolution
Resonance
Resonant
Resonant drumhead
Resonant frequency
Resonanzsaiten
Resonate
Resonator
Resonator box
Respond
Response
Responsorial
Responsorial singing
Responsory
Ressortir
Rest
Restatement
Restez
Rests
Retardation
Retenu
Retirada
Retransition
Retreat
Retrograde
Returns
Reveille
Reverb
Reverb time
Reverb time contour
Reverberant field
Reverberation
Reverberation chamber
Reverberation envelope
Reverberation time
Reverse motion
Rewind
Rf interference
Rf, rfz
Rhapsody
Rhetoric and music
Rhumba
Rhyme
Rhyme, musical
Rhythm
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm guitar
Rhythm section
Rhythm track(s)
Rhythmic mode
Rhythmic modes
Ri
Ribattuta
Ribbon microphone
Ribibe, ribible
Ribs
Ricercar, ricercare, ricercata, recercada
Ricercare
Ricochet – saltato – saltando
Ride (ride cymbal)
Ride cymbal
Riding faders
Ridotto
Riduzione
Riff
Rigadoon
Rigaudon
Right hand
Rigore
Rilasciando
Rim
Rim curvature, mouthpiece
Rim shot
Rim thickness, mouthpiece
Rim, mouthpiece
Rimshot
Rinforzando
Rinforzare
Ring out a room
Ringing
Ripieno
Riposato, riposo
Riprendere
Ripresa
Rise time
Rishabha
Risoluto
Rispetto
Risposta
Risvegliato
Rit.
Ritardando
Ritardando, ritard., rit.
Ritardano
Riten.
Ritenuto
Ritenuto, riten., rit.
Ritmo
Ritornello
Ritornello form
Ritournelle
Riverso, rivolto
Rms detecting
Robustamente, robusto
Rock band
Rock music
Rock n’ roll
Rock’n’roll
Rocket theme
Rococco
Rococo style
Rohrblatt
Rohrstimmen
Roll
Roll rudiments
Roll-off
Rolled chord
Rollschweller
Roman numeral analysis
Romance
Romance, romanze, romanza
Romantic
Romantic era
Romantic music
Romanza
Ronde
Rondeau
Rondelet
Rondellus
Rondo
Room equalization
Room sound
Room tone
Root
Root mean square
Root position
Rosalia
Rosin
Rosin, resin
Rota
Rotary control
Rotary valve
Rotating head
Rote
Roto-toms
Rotrouenge
Rotta, rotte, rota
Rotte
Rotulus
Roulade
Round
Round sound
Rounded
Roundelay
Rovescio
Row
Rozhok
Ruan
Rub board
Rubab
Rubato
Ruckpositif
Rucksichtslos
Rudiment
Rudiment solo (or rudimental solo)
Rudimental drumming
Rudimental roll
Rudiments
Rueda
Ruff
Ruffles and flourishes
Ruggedness
Ruggiero
Ruhig
Rumba
Rumble
Run
Run off
Rupak tal
Russian bassoon
Russian horn
Russian school
Rustico
Rute
Ruvido
Rv
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
1-9

Rubato
Definition and background:
A practice common in Romantic compositions of taking part of the duration from one note and giving it to another. It involves the performer tastefully stretching, slowing, or hurrying the tempo as she/he sees fit, thus imparting flexibility and emotion to the performance. From the Italian “robbed”. Used to indicate a modification of the strict rhythmical flow. robbed; i.e., flexible in tempo, applied to notes within a musical phrase for expressive effecta musical direction giving the player a certain amount of freedom with the time and rhythm. this is intended to increase the expressiveness of the music
Select from a letter above to find a music term in the Artopium index, or enter your music word into the search box provided by Google Search. Check out these additional resources for musical terminology below.
Wikipedia – Glossary of Musical Terminology

Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary

ORB — Medieval Music Glossary

Also be sure to check out Artopium.com’s other dictionary:

Artopium’s Online Art Dictionary

Last Updated: 2018-04-21 15:04:00
Library Home
Promotion Tools
Member Help
Member FAQ
Roving Festival FAQ
About Us
Check Out or View Shopping Cart icon Cart / Checkout
Library
Donate
Link to Artopium
About Us
Legal
Terms & Condition
Privacy Policy
Artopium © 2018