noun pre·lude \ˈprel-ˌyüd, ˈprāl-; ˈpre-ˌlüd, ˈprā-; sense 1 also ˈprē-ˌlüd\

: something that comes before and leads to something else

: a short piece of music that introduces a longer piece

Full Definition of PRELUDE

:  an introductory performance, action, or event preceding and preparing for the principal or a more important matter
a :  a musical section or movement introducing the theme or chief subject (as of a fugue or suite) or serving as an introduction to an opera or oratorio
b :  an opening voluntary
c :  a separate concert piece usually for piano or orchestra and based entirely on a short motif

Examples of PRELUDE

  1. <an eruption of sectarian violence that proved to be the prelude to all-out civil war>
  2. <the musical had a brief prelude to get the audience in the proper mood>

Origin of PRELUDE

Middle French, from Medieval Latin praeludium, from Latin praeludere to play beforehand, from prae- + ludere to play — more at ludicrous
First Known Use: 1561

Other Music Terms

cacophony, chorister, concerto, counterpoint, madrigal, obbligato, presto, presto, refrain, riff, segue



Definition of PRELUDE

transitive verb
:  to serve as a prelude to
:  to play as a prelude
intransitive verb
:  to give or serve as a prelude; especially :  to play a musical introduction
pre·lud·er noun

First Known Use of PRELUDE

PRELUDER Defined for Kids


noun pre·lude \ˈprel-ˌyüd, ˈprā-ˌlüd\

Definition of PRELUDE for Kids

:  something that comes before and prepares for the main or more important parts
:  a short piece of music played at the beginning of something (as an opera or church service)


Next Word in the Dictionary: preludialPrevious Word in the Dictionary: preloralAll Words Near: prelude
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