Pastorale

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For Beethoven's Pastoral symphony, see Symphony No. 6 (Beethoven)

Pastorale refers to something of a pastoral nature in music, whether in form or in mood.

In baroque music, a pastorale is a movement of a melody in 3rds over a drone bass, recalling the traditional Christmas playing of pifferari (players of traditional bagpipes (zampogna) and reed pipes) in Italy. Pastorales are generally in 6/8 or 12/8 metres. Common examples include the last movement of Corelli's Christmas Concerto (op.6 no.8), the third movement in Vivaldi's Spring concerto from The Four Seasons, the Pifa movement in Handel's Messiah, the first movements of Bach's Pastorale (BWV 590) for organ and his Sinfonia opening part II of his Christmas Oratorio as an introduction to the angelic announcement to the shepherds. Scarlatti wrote some examples in his keyboard sonatas, and many other composers in the transition between the baroque and classical eras, particularly French, used this technique.

Pastorales are still played in the regions of Southern Italy where the zampogna continues to thrive. They generally sound like a slowed down version of a tarantella, as they encompass many of the same melodic phrases. The pastorale on the zampogna can be played by a solo zampogna player, or in some regions can be accompanied by the piffero (also commonly called a ciaramella, pipita, or bifera), which is a primitive key-less double reed oboe type instrument.

Other uses[edit]

A pastorale, also spelled pastoralli, and pastorali, is also a long handled metal tool used for holding a plate to preheat glass in a furnace for glassblowing.