a 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.
b (esp. for piano) a self-contained piece of music
2 something serving as an introduction or preceding event, occurrence, etc.
3 to serve as a prelude to (something)
4 tr to introduce by a prelude (C16: (n) from Medieval Latin praeludium, from prae before + -ludium entertainment, from Latin ludus play; (vb) from Late Latin praeludere to play beforehand, rehearse, from ludere to play)
prelusively, prelusorily adv
n a composition for organ using a chorale as a cantus firmus or as the basis for variations
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