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In classical music a bravura is a style of both music and its performance intended to show off the skill of a performer.[1] Commonly, it is a virtuosic passage performed as a solo, and often in a cadenza.

The term implies "effect for effect's sake", therefore, while many pieces of Beethoven do require a high skill, they are not described as "bravura". Fuller-Maitland suggests the following arias as examples of bravura: "Let the bright Seraphim" from Samson, "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" (Act II of The Magic Flute) and "Non più mesta" from La Cenerentola.[1]

Musical terms "allegro di bravura" and "con bravura" indicate boldness, fire and brilliance.[1]

The term "bravura" also refers to daring performance in ballet, e.g., in reference of the pas de deux from Le Corsaire.[2] Lynn Garafola describes the Russian ballet school of Marius Petipa as "marrying the new Italian bravura technique to its more lyrical French counterpart".[3]


  1. ^ a b c John Alexander Fuller-Maitland, A dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) p. 271-272
  2. ^ Naughtin, Matthew (17 July 2014). Ballet Music: A Handbook. ISBN 9780810886605.
  3. ^ The Cambridge Companion to Ballet, p. 151