The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Rondeau
RONDEAU, rŏn'dō, or RONDO, originally a short lyric of 13 lines divided into three unequal strophes; the two or three first words form the burden, and are repeated after the 8th and 13th line. The term is now chiefly applied to a musical composition, vocal or instrumental, generally consisting of three strains, the first of which closes in the original key, while each of the others is so constructed in point of modulation as to reconduct the ear in an easy and natural manner to the first strain. The rondeau takes its name from the circumstance of the melody going round after both the second and third strain to the first strain, with which it is finally closed. While it frequently forms the last movement of a sonata or a symphony, it is quite as common as a separate composition.