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1. a composition evocative of rural life, characterized by moderate compound duple or quadruple time and sometimes a droning accompaniment
2. a musical play based on a rustic story, popular during the 16th century
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in music:

(1) An opera, pantomime, or ballet having a plot that gives an idealized picture of rural life. Pastoral music, which emerged under the influence of pastoral literature, enjoyed popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially at the Italian and French courts. The composers of pastoral operas included Gluck, Mozart, J.-B. Lully, and J.-P. Rameau. In the opera The Queen of Spades, Tchaikovsky re-created the pastorale “The Shepherdess’ Sincerity.” Pastoral operas were occasionally composed even in the 20th century.

(2) A vocal or instrumental work presenting scenes from nature or from rural life. Characteristic of the instrumental pastorale are a serenely flowing melodic movement, often doubled in thirds; sustained bass notes suggesting the sound of bagpipes; and 6/8 or 12/8 meter. The pastorale was sometimes included as a movement in the concerto grosso, but it was usually composed as a separate work. Among the composers of instrumental pastorales are Vivaldi, D. Scarlatti, F. Couperin, and J. S. Bach. Symphonic pastorales were composed as parts of cyclical compositions, or they were complete cycles in themselves (for example, Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Pieces originally written lor chamber ensembles or orchestra include well-known examples of pastorales such as "Pifa" from Handel's Messiah, "Sinfonia (Pastorale)" from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and the entire second movement of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony.
De ces demandes a decoule la mise en place par le cure qui desservait alors la paroisse d'une pastorale specifique d'<< accueil inconditionnel >> de toute personne rejetee (2).
Dit gaan egter hier nie net om grond en die plaasroman--of die pastorale en anti-pastorale--nie, want vanuit die interpretasies van die enkele plaastekste wat noukeurig ontleed word, maak sy assosiasies met die politieke en sosiale geskiedenis van Suid-Afrika (spesifiek die Afrikaner: hoofsaaklik vanuit Giliomee), met verledes, antropologiee en mitologiee.
CONGREGAZIONE PER I VESCOVI, Direttorio per il ministero pastorale dei Vescovi <<Apostolorum successores>>, Citta del Vaticano 2004, n.
His Pastorale symphony (the Sixth) is blatantly pagan, exalting the "Merry Making of Country Folk" and the frolics of shepherds.
"In 1524 the Tuscan explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, sailing for the French crown, was so impressed by the beauty of the North American coast that he christened it 'Arcadia,' after a prose pastorale of the same name published in 1502, a work that popularized the notion of a rural 'golden age' among the ancients," observes Yale University history professor John Mack Faragher in his book A Great And Noble Scheme.
In 1537 Gerhard Lorich published his Pastorale. The Parish Office cleansed of all old superstitions and abuses, also from all unfounded innovation and reformed according to the divine word of holy scripture and the understanding of the Fathers according to the rule and example of the church.