What does prelude mean?

Definitions for prelude
ˈprɛl yud, ˈpreɪl-, ˈpreɪ lud, ˈpri-pre·lude

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word prelude.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. preliminary, overture, preludenoun

    something that serves as a preceding event or introduces what follows

    "training is a necessary preliminary to employment"; "drinks were the overture to dinner"

  2. preludeverb

    music that precedes a fugue or introduces an act in an opera

  3. preludeverb

    serve as a prelude or opening to

  4. preludeverb

    play as a prelude


  1. preludenoun

    An introductory or preliminary performance or event; a preface.

    Etymology: From prelude, from preludium, from earlier praeludere.

  2. preludenoun

    A short piece of music that acts as an introduction to a longer piece.

    Etymology: From prelude, from preludium, from earlier praeludere.

  3. preludeverb

    To introduce something, as a prelude.

    Etymology: From prelude, from preludium, from earlier praeludere.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Preludeverb

    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 overture

    Etymology: [L. praeludere, praelusum; prae before + ludere to play: cf. F. prluder. See Ludicrous.]

  2. Preludeverb

    to play an introduction or prelude; to give a prefatory performance; to serve as prelude

    Etymology: [L. praeludere, praelusum; prae before + ludere to play: cf. F. prluder. See Ludicrous.]

  3. Preludeverb

    to introduce with a previous performance; to play or perform a prelude to; as, to prelude a concert with a lively air

    Etymology: [L. praeludere, praelusum; prae before + ludere to play: cf. F. prluder. See Ludicrous.]

  4. Preludeverb

    to serve as prelude to; to precede as introductory

    Etymology: [L. praeludere, praelusum; prae before + ludere to play: cf. F. prluder. See Ludicrous.]


  1. Prelude

    A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work. While, during the Baroque era, for example, it may have served as an introduction to succeeding movements of a work that were usually longer and more complex, it may also have been a stand alone piece of work during the Romantic era. It generally features a small number of rhythmic and melodic motifs that recur through the piece. Stylistically, the prelude is improvisatory in nature. The prelude can also refer to an overture, particularly to those seen in an opera or an oratorio.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Prelude

    prē-lūd′, or prel′ūd, n. the introductory movement of a musical work: a prefatory piece to an oratorio, &c.: an organ voluntary before a church service: a preface: a forerunner.—v.t. Prelude′, to play before: to preface, as an introduction.—v.i. to perform a prelude: to serve as a prelude.—adjs. Prelū′dial and Prelū′dious (rare); Prelū′sive, of the nature of a prelude: introductory.—advs. Prelū′sively; Prelū′sorily.—adj. Prelū′sory, introductory. [Fr.,—Late L. præludium—L. præ, before, ludĕre, to play.]

Suggested Resources

  1. prelude

    Song lyrics by prelude -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by prelude on the Lyrics.com website.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of prelude in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of prelude in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of prelude in a Sentence

  1. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon:

    What we’ve seen overnight is the prelude of things to come, following the signing of the nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions. An Iran that can funnel additional funds and weapons to terror organizations operating against Israel and Western interests in the region.

  2. Jonathan Schanzer:

    The question now is whether Kim Jong Un is ready to deliver, or if this is a prelude to yet another deliberate effort to spurn the West.

  3. The Tribune, Berlin, 1871:

    The prelude to Tristan and Isolde sounded as if a bomb had fallen into a large music factory and had thrown all the notes into confusion.

  4. Shirley MacLaine:

    The pain of leaving those you've grown to love is only the prelude to an understanding of yourself and others.

  5. John McCain:

    The truth of that narrative is evidently of secondary importance, as the article exposed how the White House manipulated and, in some cases, manufactured facts to sell the reckless Iran nuclear deal to the American people as a prelude to large-scale disengagement from the Middle East, president Obama has taken great pains to set himself apart from his predecessor. He has succeeded in at least one respect by failing to find the courage to challenge his own assumptions, admit mistakes, and chart a better course.

Images & Illustrations of prelude

  1. preludepreludepreludepreludeprelude

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