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A Ritornell ( it. Ritornello "return"), or the chorus is part of a Rondo , the multiple returns in the course of a piece of music and so-called by contrasting interludes couplets , is interrupted.

In solo concerts of the Baroque one often speaks of the ritornello ; this is used to describe the division into tutti and solo sections, which was particularly popular with Antonio Vivaldi . According to this principle, the concert opens with a ritornello from the orchestra, followed by an episode of the solo instrument, which is often musically contrasting. The orchestra will then resume the ritornello in several changes, often shortened, alternating with virtuoso solo passages. Only the final ritual is generally repeated in full. In marked contrast to the theme comes often only in basso accompanied solo parts (episodes), whose harmonic function is to modulate the tone of the next ritornello.

Since 1600 the ritornello has been used in most forms of music for voices and instruments. In the early operas, a ritornello was placed at the beginning, the end and between the sections of an aria , for example in the theme from the opera L'Orfeo by Monteverdi, where it sounds before and after each of the four verses of the prologue.