refrain

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refrain

a regularly recurring melody, such as the chorus of a song

Refrain

 

(1) In poetry, a line or group of lines repeated at the end of a couplet. A refrain that forms an entire stanza is generally termed a pripev. The refrain and pripev developed in folk songs, in which the zapev (lead-in) was usually sung by a soloist and the refrain by the chorus. The refrain and zapev then entered literature, mainly genres that were meant to be sung or that were stylized in the manner of folklore. Such fixed verse forms as the triolet, rondeau, rondel, and French ballad are based on refrains.

(2) In music, a theme in an instrumental or vocal work that is stated at least three times and that unites the work structurally. It is characteristic of the rondo and rondo-like forms. Sometimes a refrain becomes the dominant theme and is repeated to emphasize a particularly important idea in the work.