In the course of my polishing up the “Director’s Cut” and “Definitive Version” of In the Forest (Amazing Grace) for a specially-requested, encore performance of it at a luncheon this Wednesday (keep an eye out for the video from this upcoming performance – I’m very excited about how this work has evolved!), I decided to do a brief bit of double-checking on the well-known and oft-used terms: ritardando and rallentando.
I felt like I had a pretty good idea of the differences, as very subtle as they are; but I wanted to be sure for once… And, lo and behold, I stumbled upon a fantastic and clear post examining the question of the terms’ meanings based on the Italian language and its literal interpretation, granting a great addition (and to my mind as close as a conclusion as I’ve found) to the “debate” encircling these two terms.
…Bingo! There is a difference. Ritardando seems to be a deliberate slowing or being late, while rallentando seems to be more of a letting go or dying away…
I’ve begun to detect that I tend to throw a lot of rallentando’s into my compositions, favoring the rall over the rit overall… I like the “dying away” nuances… one reason why I started to doubt whether I had it right or not! 🙂
For your benefit, the entire article can be found here!