obbligato

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Related to obbligatos: obbligati, obligati

obbligato

(ŏbləgä`tō) [Ital.,=obligatory], in music, originally a term by which a composer indicated that a certain part was indispensable to the music. Obbligato was thus the direct opposite to ad libitum [Lat.,=at will], which indicated that the part so marked was unessential and might be omitted. Misunderstanding of the term obbligato, however, resulted in a reversal of its meaning; when a violin part, for example, is added to a song it is called a violin obbligato, whereas it may be a superfluous ornament for which ad libitum would be a more precise direction.

Obbligato

 

an instrumental part in a musical work that must not be omitted; it is obligatory that it be performed. Obbligato parts can be of varying importance—ranging from those that are significant but still form part of the accompaniment to parts that share equal significance with the featured solo part. In 17th- and 18th-century operas, oratorios, and cantatas (for example, in Bach’s Mass in B Minor) one often encounters arias, and sometimes even duets, with the participation of an obbligato instrument (or several instruments) and the orchestra. The opposite of obbligato is ad libitum (“at will”).

obbligato

, obligato Music
1. not to be omitted in performance
2. an essential part in a score
References in periodicals archive ?
387-95), many oboists may wonder why the G-minor version of the great B-minor flute sonata with obbligato keyboard (BWV 1030b) merits no mention beyond a number in a footnote (p.
The players contributed some nice obbligatos to the piece, a few times playing antiphonally from the balconies.
The instrumental playing from the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra is unfailingly excellent and there are some beautiful obbligatos, with the flute and gamba solos deserving special mention.
Even the parody bass aria |Quoniam tu solus sanctus', with its notorious obbligatos for two bassoons and horn, sounds less opaque than usual - though Stephen Varcoe's eloquent singing cannot quite convince us that the music has anything to do with the words here.