- 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.
Origin of prelude
Synonyms for prelude
Examples from the Web for preluded
Historical Examples of preluded
The dawn had been preluded by the awakening chirrups of songsters in the wood.Across the Equator
Thomas H. Reid
And Dennis recognised the short laugh that preluded the reply.With Haig on the Somme
D. H. Parry
Suddenly he heard the long, rumbling sigh which preluded the chairman's speeches.Five Tales
It was the only way in which I could account for the spasm which preluded that last fit of coughing.My Friend Smith
Talbot Baines Reed
Selim preluded his campaign by an insolent letter to Shah Ismail.The Turkish Empire, its Growth and Decay
- 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.