Submit your word to be a Word of the Day!
in music, the last and, as a rule, lively movement of a multimovement instrumental work, or the culminating section of an operatic act or scene, usually involving a vocal ensemble rather than a single singer. During the musical era dominated by Viennese Classicism (c. 1770-1820), solo concerti tended to end with movements in rondo form, while the finales of symphonic and chamber works, eventually solo sonatas as well, increasingly complied with the sonata-allegro principle. Beginning with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's last two symphonies (Nos. 40 and 41, 1788) and reaching its highest expression in numerous works of Ludwig van Beethoven, the finale attained a structural significance that had previously been reserved for the opening movement, to the extent that, instead of providing merely an agreeable conclusion, it contained the ultimate thematic resolution of a large-scale instrumental drama