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date: 20 February 2020

Ad libitum (Lat.: ‘at the pleasure’ [of the performer])locked

  • David Fuller

Extract

(Lat.: ‘at the pleasure’ [of the performer])

Used in titles, particularly in the later 18th century, to indicate that one or more instruments may be left out, e.g. Tapray: Simphonie concertante pour le clavecin et le piano-forte avec orchestre ad libitum (1783), and in scores, as a direction to the player to improvise or ornament. Handel's Organ Concertos op.7 furnish several examples: embellishment of a written line (no.2, Overture), elaboration of a fermata (same movement), continuation of a solo passage (no.1, first movement), improvisation of an adagio on a harmonic skeleton (no.5), and improvisation of a whole movement ...

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