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