American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An introductory performance, event, or action preceding a more important one; a preliminary or preface.
- n. Music A piece or movement that serves as an introduction to another section or composition and establishes the key, such as one that precedes a fugue, opens a suite, or precedes a church service.
- n. Music A similar but independent composition for the piano.
- n. Music The overture to an oratorio, opera, or act of an opera.
- n. Music A short composition of the 15th and early 16th centuries written in a free style, usually for keyboard.
- v. To serve as a prelude to.
- v. To introduce with or as if with a prelude.
- v. To serve as a prelude or introduction.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To preface; prepare the way for; introduce as by a prelude; foreshadow.
- Specifically, in music, to play a prelude to; introduce by a musical prelude.
- To serve as a prelude to; precede as a musical prelude.
- To perform a prelude or introduction; give a preface to later action; especially, in music, to play a prelude, or introductory passage or movement, before beginning a principal composition.
- To serve as a prelude or introduction; especially, to constitute a musical prelude.
- n. An introductory performance; a preliminary to an action, event, or work of broader scope and higher importance; a preface; presage; foreshadowing.
- n. In music, a prefatory or introductory piece, section, or movement, either extended and more or less independent, as in many elaborate fugues, in suites and sonatas, in oratorios and operas, or brief and strictly connected with what is to follow, as in various shorter works and at the opening of church services and before hymns. The organ prelude to a church service is often called a voluntary. Compare intrada, introduction, overture, vorspiel, etc.
- n. Synonyms Preface, etc. (see introduction), preliminary.
- n. See overture
- n. An introductory or preliminary performance or event; a preface.
- n. music A short piece of music that acts as an introduction to a longer piece.
- v. To introduce something, as a prelude.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. An introductory performance, preceding and preparing for the principal matter; a preliminary part, movement, strain, etc.; especially (Mus.), a strain introducing the theme or chief subject; a movement introductory to a fugue, yet independent; -- with recent composers often synonymous with
- v. To play an introduction or prelude; to give a prefatory performance; to serve as prelude.
- v. To introduce with a previous performance; to play or perform a prelude to.
- v. To serve as prelude to; to precede as introductory.
- v. play as a prelude
- n. something that serves as a preceding event or introduces what follows
- v. serve as a prelude or opening to
- n. music that precedes a fugue or introduces an act in an opera
- From Middle French prelude ("singing to test a musical instrument"), from Latin preludium, from earlier Latin praeludere. (Wiktionary)
- Medieval Latin praelūdium, from Latin praelūdere, to play beforehand : prae-, pre- + lūdere, to play. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The move from women in tutus doing story ballets like Swan Lake to people in sweat pants running around the stage like gymnasts while a Bach prelude is played over the PA system did a great deal to marginalize the popularity of ballet.”
“The tenuous cloud floats near the volcano's mouth, as if in prelude to an eruption.”
“She had been gone about an hour, when the sky suddenly darkened, the wind rose and the thunder rolled in prelude to the storm.”
“This intricate web of departments and agencies, massively staffed, is technically controlled by the president, but often seems to control him, whether through Cabinet brawls of clashing egos or interagency turf wars -- a specialty in the Bush years, particularly during the first-term prelude to Iraq, when ideological differences pitted Donald Rumsfeld and his hawks at Defense against Colin Powell's diplomats at State, with Condoleezza Rice, in her small redoubt at the National Security Council, squeezed out altogether.”
“It came as South Korea and the United States hold an annual military exercise that North Korea calls a prelude to an invasion.”
“His first record was of the 24 preludes that Chopin published in 1839, and I thought we'd listen to a little bit of the "Raindrop" prelude, which is the most popular one.”
“Since February, the Army has had the power to patrol the streets jointly with the police, a measure that many called a prelude to martial law.”
“The prelude was a rousing performance of "the Stars and Stripes Forever" on the piano.”
“The pieces have been identified as the prelude and wedding march from the third act of the opera Lohengrin.”
“Mercantilism ushered in what might be referred to as the prelude to modern planning.”
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