(It., plural scherzi).
Jest, joke. Name for a movt. in orch. mus., but the term was first applied in 17th cent. to vocal mus., e.g. Monteverdi's Scherzi musicali. Generally it is the 3rd (or 2nd) movt. of a sym. or str. qt., etc., the liveliest movt., usually but not necessarily the most light‐hearted. It is the successor to the 18th‐cent. minuet and trio, which was developed almost to scherzo pitch by Haydn. A movt. in S. Storace's 2nd pf. quintet (1784) is a scherzo. Beethoven was the real creator of the scherzo (as early as the Op.1 pf. trios), investing the movt. with a rough, almost savage humour, with marked rhythm, generally in 3/4 time. The contrasting section is known as the trio, but not all scherzos have trios. Chopin called 4 of his pf. works Scherzo, but they are marked more by vigour and intensity than by anything in the nature of a jest.