rondo (rŏnˈdō, rŏndōˈ) [key], instrumental musical form in which the opening section is repeated after each succeeding section containing contrasting thematic material. The complex rondeau of French keyboard music of the 17th cent., related to the poetic form, the rondel, was the most frequently occurring form. It was the predecessor of the 18th-century rondo, which became the usual concluding movement of the classical sonata.
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