Ricercar(redirected from Ricercari)
in Western European music of the 16th and 17th centuries, a type of polyphonic, imitative composition. It is akin to the fantasia and is a forerunner of the fugue. The term (from Italian ricercare[“to seek out”]) is connected with the interpretation of the imitation as the “finding” of one and the same theme by various voices. The ricercar arose in Italy in lute music; later, ricercars for organ became popular (C. Merulo, A. Willaert, A. Gabrieli, and G. Frescobaldi). In the 17th and 18th centuries, the ricercar was developed mainly by German composers (J. Froberger, D. Buxtehude, and J. S. Bach).