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Definition: An instrumental form that was popular in the late 18th to early 19th centuries. A rondo has a main theme (usually in the tonic key) that is restated several times as it alternates with other themes. There are two basic patterns of a rondo: ABACA and ABACABA (the A section represents the main theme). The last movement of sonatas, concerti, string quartets and classical symphonies is often a rondo.
Examples:
  • "Rondo a capriccio," Opus 129 by Beethoven
  • "Rondo alla turca" from "Sonata for piano K 331" by Mozart
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