rubato n : a flexible tempo; not strictly on the beat
Tempo rubato (Italian stolen time) is a musical term for slightly speeding up or slowing down the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist or the conductor. It was used frequently in music of the Romantic Period, and is especially common in piano music. It also requires the use of altering the relationships among the written note values and the played ones.
Rubato, even when not notated, is often used liberally by many singers for added musical effect by singing at a slightly different tempo than that of the accompaniment. Frédéric Chopin is well known for having used rubato (see Chopin and Rubato).
ExampleFor instance, if a piece of music had a quarter note followed by an eighth note, and the tempo was slowed down so the quarter note was as a sixteenth note tied to a quarter note, the eighth note would have to be sped up to a sixteenth note so as to make up for the lost time.
One perfect example of a piece including tempo rubato is Chopin's Heroic Polonaise.
Rubato is used to create contrast and a certain style and sound to a piece.
- Nineteenth-century Musical Agogics as an Element in Gerard Manley Hopkins' Prosody by Christopher R. Wilson, Comparative Literature, 52/1 (Winter 2000), 72-86.
rubato in German: Rubato
rubato in Spanish: Rubato
rubato in French: Rubato
rubato in Korean: 루바토
rubato in Indonesian: Rubato
rubato in Italian: Rubato
rubato in Hebrew: רובטו
rubato in Dutch: Rubato
rubato in Japanese: テンポ・ルバート
rubato in Norwegian: Rubato
rubato in Polish: Rubato
rubato in Portuguese: Tempo rubato