Romance (music)

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(Redirected from Romanze)
Russian Guitar Player, by Vasily Tropinin (1823)

The term romance (Spanish: romance/romanza, Italian: romanza, German: Romanze, French: romance, Russian: романс, Portuguese: romance, Romanian: romanţă) has a centuries-long history. Applied to narrative ballads in Spain, it came to be used by the 18th century for simple lyrical pieces not only for voice, but also for instruments alone. The Oxford Dictionary of Music[1] states that "generally it implies a specially personal or tender quality".

Instrumental music bearing the title "Romance"[edit]

Typically, a Classical piece or movement called a "Romance" is in three, meaning three beats in the bar

Mozart subtitled the second movement of his piano concerto no. 20 in D minor (K.466) "Romanze" and the second movement of his third horn concerto "Romance".

Liszt wrote a Romance in E minor in 1842 in Moscow.

Robert Schumann was particularly fond of the title for lyrical piano pieces.

Georges Bizet's "Je crois entendre encore" from The Pearl Fishers (1863) is labelled a romance in the score.

Giuseppe Verdi's "Celeste Aida" from Aida (1871) is labelled romanza.

Franz Lehar's "Wie einen Rosenknospe" from "The Merry Widow" is labelled "Romance".

Works with voice parts[edit]

  • Lieder by Franz Schubert:
    • D 114, "Romanze" ['Ein Fräulein klagt’ im finstern Turm'] for voice and piano (1814; 2 versions)
    • D 144, "Romanze" ['In der Väter Hallen ruhte'] for voice and piano (1816, sketch)
    • D 222, "Lieb Minna" ['Schwüler Hauch weht mir herüber'] for voice and piano (1815, also appears as "Lieb Minna. Romanze")
    • D 907, "Romanze des Richard Löwenherz" ['Großer Taten tat der Ritter fern im heiligen Lande viel'] for voice and piano (1826?, two versions, 2nd version is Op. 86)
    • "Romanze", No. 3b of Schubert's Rosamunde
  • Wilhelm Killmayer: Romanzen (1954)

Romances sans paroles[edit]

So many composers in the French tradition wrote Romances sans paroles, "Romances without words", from the 1840s onwards[2] that the radical poet Paul Verlaine in turn published a collection of his impressionistic poems as Romances sans paroles (1874).

Russian romance[edit]

External video
video icon Top 25 Russian Romances on YouTube

During the 19th century Alexander Alyabyev (1787–1851), Alexander Varlamov (1801–48) and Alexander Gurilyov (1803–58) developed the French variety of the romance as a sentimental category of Russian art song. Black Eyes is perhaps the best known example. Among other notable examples of the Russian Romance are Shine, Shine, My Star and Along the Long Road.

British singer Marc Almond is the only Western artist to receive acclaim in Western Europe as well as in Russia for singing English versions of Russian romances and Russian chanson on his albums Heart on Snow and Orpheus in Exile.[citation needed]



  • (in French) Henri Gougelot, La Romance française sous la Révolution et l'Empire : choix de textes musicaux (Melun:Legrand & Fils, 1937) [2nd ed., 1943]
  • (in French) Henri Gougelot, Catalogue des romances françaises parues sous la Révolution et l'Empire, les recueils de romances (Melun:Legrand & Fils, 1937)
  • Russian romances on YouTube

External links[edit]