- 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 preluding
Historical Examples of preluding
He was heating them, preluding a score, passing from it to another.The Paliser case
I heard him often preluding in a wonderfully-beautiful manner.Frederick Chopin as a Man and Musician
After preluding a little, I drew my pages from my pocket and read my verses to him.Marie
Beethoven said to me: I thought that Himmel had been only preluding a bit.The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven, Volume I (of 3)
Alexander Wheelock Thayer
The orchestra was preluding with the slow harmonies of a waltz.Two banks of the Seine
- 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.