Definition and background:
A practice common in Romantic compositions of taking part of the duration from one note and giving it to another. It involves the performer tastefully stretching, slowing, or hurrying the tempo as she/he sees fit, thus imparting flexibility and emotion to the performance. From the Italian "robbed". Used to indicate a modification of the strict rhythmical flow. robbed; i.e., flexible in tempo, applied to notes within a musical phrase for expressive effecta musical direction giving the player a certain amount of freedom with the time and rhythm. this is intended to increase the expressiveness of the music
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary