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rubato

[roo-bah-toh; Italian roo-bah-taw] /ruˈbɑ toʊ; Italian ruˈbɑ tɔ/
adjective
1.
having certain notes arbitrarily lengthened while others are correspondingly shortened, or vice versa.
noun, plural rubatos, rubati
[roo-bah-tee; Italian roo-bah-tee] /ruˈbɑ ti; Italian ruˈbɑ ti/ (Show IPA)
2.
a rubato phrase or passage.
3.
a rubato performance.
adverb
4.
in a rubato manner.
Origin
1880-1885
1880-85; < Italian (tempo) rubato stolen (time), past participle of rubare to steal < Germanic; see rob
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for rubati

rubato

/ruːˈbɑːtəʊ/
noun (pl) -tos
1.
flexibility of tempo in performance
adjective, adverb
2.
to be played with a flexible tempo
Word Origin
C19: from the Italian phrase tempo rubato, literally: stolen time, from rubare to rob
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for rubati

rubato

musical instruction, 1883, Italian, short for tempo rubato, literally "robbed time," from past participle of rubare "to steal, rob" (see rob (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for rubati

rubato

(from Italian rubare, "to rob"), in music, subtle rhythmic manipulation and nuance in performance. For greater musical expression, the performer may stretch certain beats, measures, or phrases and compact others. The technique is seldom indicated on a musical score but may be utilized according to the performer's discretion. Rubato may affect only the melody (as in jazz) or the entire musical texture

Learn more about rubato with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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