Ad libitum, from libitum |
Music Terms

Ad libitum, from libitum |

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terms and concepts

lat. – at will, at one’s own discretion

In notes. a letter indicating that the performer is given a certain freedom in choosing the nature of the performance – tempo, dynamics, etc. Regarding the pace of A. l. the opposite of a battute (see Battuta). Sometimes the designation A. l. shows that one or another sign in a musical notation may not be taken into account (for example, A. l. over a fermata) or that a given passage may not be performed (A. l. over a cadenza). Placed on the title page after the name of a part of the work or one of the instruments (performing ensembles) for which it was written, the designation A. l. shows that the performance of this part or the use of this instrument (performing ensemble) is not necessary (for example, F. Liszt’s symphony “Faust” with a final choir ad libitum, 12 songs and romances by I. Brahms op. 44 for women’s choir and piano. ad libitum, overture for choir (ad libitum) and orchestra by V. Ya. Shebalin). In this sense, the indication of A. l. opposes obligato.

In some cases, the designation A. l. indicates that one of the two instruments named by the author can be chosen for performance at will (for example, M. de Falla’s concerto for harpsichord or pianoforte (ad libitum)).

Ya. I. Milshtein

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