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  • WordNet 3.6
    • n rubato a flexible tempo; not strictly on the beat
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Rubato Robbed; borrowed.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • rubato In music, in modified or distorted rhythm: especially used of the arbitrary lengthening of certain notes in a measure and the corresponding shortening of others, for the purpose of bringing some tone or chord into decided prominence without altering the total duration of the measure.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Rubato rōō-bä′to (mus.) in modified or distorted rhythm.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
It., pa.p. of rubare, to steal.


In literature:

The rubato in the valses need not obtrude itself as in the mazurkas.
"Chopin: The Man and His Music" by James Huneker
Let us try if it is not possible to obtain a clearer notion of this mysterious tempo rubato.
"Frederick Chopin as a Man and Musician" by Frederick Niecks
One seems to see the expression marks: piano, pianissimo, largamente, and just where the tempo rubato comes in.
"Plays, Acting and Music" by Arthur Symons
Elements of Rubato and its application.
"Piano Mastery" by Harriette Brower
In regard to the much discussed tempo rubato of Chopin many and fatal blunders have been made.
"For Every Music Lover" by Aubertine Woodward Moore
When you rubato, and then quicken suddenly, and the notes come in a rush like that, I can hardly keep still.
"The Black Cross" by Olive M. Briggs
Rubato must be introduced in a very sparing manner, and always in such a way as not to destroy the rhythm of the period as a whole.
"The Masters and their Music" by W. S. B. Mathews
It was all mere tempo rubato; no sort of style or delivery.
"The Serapion Brethren." by Ernst Theordor Wilhelm Hoffmann
The player was afterward highly extolled on account of his wonderful rubato effects.
"Memories of a Musical Life" by William Mason
The artistic principles ruling rubato playing are good taste and keeping within artistic bounds.
"Piano Playing" by Josef Hofmann