[rit-er-nel-oh; Italian ree-tawr-nel-law]
noun, plural ritornellos, ritornelli [rit-er-nel-ee; Italian ree-tawr-nel-lee] . Music.
an orchestral interlude between arias, scenes, or acts in 17th-century opera.
a tutti section in a concerto grosso, aria, etc.

1665–75; < Italian, diminutive of ritorno return

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World English Dictionary
ritornello (ˌrɪtəˈnɛləʊ)
n , pl -los, -li
1.  an orchestral passage between verses of an aria or song
2.  a ripieno passage in a concerto grosso
[C17: from Italian, literally: a little return, from ritorno a return]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica


a recurrent musical section that alternates with different episodes of contrasting material. The repetition can be exact or varied to a greater or lesser extent. In the concerto grosso the full orchestra (tutti) has the ritornello; the solo group (concertino) has the contrasting episodes.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences for ritornello
When the suite is scored with soloists, the fast section is generally in ritornello form.
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