Romance (music)

This article is about the traditional musical term. For the genre of music, see romantic music. For other uses, see Romance (disambiguation).
Russian Guitar Player, by Vasily Tropinin (1823)

The term romance (Spanish: romance/romanza, Italian: romanza, German: Romanze, French: romance, Russian: романс, Portuguese: romance, Romanian: romanţă) has a centuries-long history. Applied to narrative ballads in Spain, it came to be used by the 18th century for simple lyrical pieces not only for voice, but also for instruments alone. The Oxford Dictionary of Music[1] states that "generally it implies a specially personal or tender quality".

Instrumental music bearing the title "Romance"

Typically, a Classical piece or movement called a "Romance" is in triple rhythm, with three beats in the bar.

Mozart subtitled the second movement of his piano concerto no. 20 in D minor (K.466) "Romanze" and his Horn Concerto has a Romance and Rondo.

Robert Schumann was particularly fond of the title for lyrical piano pieces.

Georges Bizet's "Je crois entendre encore" from The Pearl Fishers (1863) is labelled a romance in the score.

Giuseppe Verdi's "Celeste Aida" from Aida (1871) is labelled romanza.


Lieder by Franz Schubert:

Also No. 3b of Schubert's Rosamunde is a "Romanze."

Romances sans paroles

So many composers in the French tradition wrote Romances sans paroles, "Romances without words", from the 1840s onwards[2] that the radical poet Paul Verlaine in turn published a collection of his impressionistic poems as Romances sans paroles (1874).

Russian romance

Main article: Russian romance

During the 19th century Alexander Alyabyev (1787-1851), Alexander Varlamov (1801-48) and Alexander Gurilyov (1803–58) developed the French variety of the romance as a sentimental category of Russian art song. Black Eyes is perhaps the best known example. Among other notable examples of the Russian Romance are Shine, Shine, My Star and Along the Long Road.

British singer Marc Almond is the only Western artist to receive acclaim in Western Europe as well as in Russia for singing English versions of Russian romances and Russian chanson on his albums Heart on Snow and Orpheus in Exile.



External links

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