- a relatively short, independent instrumental composition, free in form and resembling an improvisation.
- a piece that precedes a more important movement.
- the overture to an opera.
- an independent piece, of moderate length, sometimes used as an introduction to a fugue.
- music opening a church service; an introductory voluntary.
verb (used with object), prel·ud·ed, prel·ud·ing.
verb (used without object), prel·ud·ed, prel·ud·ing.
- prelog, vladimir,
- prelogical thinking,
Origin of prelude
Examples from the Web for prelude
There was an entryway near here to another courtyard, itself a prelude to the heart of the main temple.Fighting Back With Faith: Inside the Yezidis’ Iraqi Temple|Michael Luongo|August 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
This could be a prelude to peace talks—or intensified fighting.
We should hope this only sounds like a prelude to an intervention.Here's What It's Like to Fight Vitali Klitschko, Ukraine’s Revolutionary Champ|Michael Daly|February 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Marguerite hoped it would be the prelude to a book she wanted to write, and asked if I could get it published somewhere.Oswald’s Mother Was a Thoroughly Disagreeable Piece of Work|Steve North|November 17, 2013|DAILY BEAST
As is, they now look ominously instead like that monopoly's prelude and farcical first act.
Current topics, too, are well worthy constant study, and these can be used as a sort of prelude to any regular program.Woman's Club Work and Programs|Caroline French Benton
I was always conscious of sounds in Nature which my ears could not hear, that I caught but a prelude to a strain.A History of American Literature Since 1870|Fred Lewis Pattee
The explosion may be only a trick to, empty the camp, as a prelude to further mischief.The Young Engineers in Arizona|H. Irving Hancock
For Clark the capture of Vincennes was to be a prelude to taking Detroit.The Road to Independence: Virginia 1763-1783|Virginia State Dept. of Education
This discovery was a prelude to a certain and horrible death.A Journey to the Centre of the Earth|Jules Verne
- a piece of music that precedes a fugue, or forms the first movement of a suite, or an introduction to an act in an opera, etc
- (esp for piano) a self-contained piece of music
Word Origin for prelude
1560s, from Middle French prélude "notes sung or played to test the voice or instrument" (1530s), from Medieval Latin preludium "prelude, preliminary," from Latin praeludere "to play beforehand for practice, preface," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). Purely musical sense first attested in English 1650s. Related: Prelusion.