Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: MUSIC

Date: 1500-1600
Language: French
Origin: prélude, from Medieval Latin praeludium, from Latin praeludere 'to play before'

prelude

noun
     
prel‧ude [countable]
1

a prelude to something

if an event is a prelude to a more important event, it happens just before it and makes people expect it:
Living together as a prelude to marriage is now considered acceptable in many countries.
2APM a short piece of music, especially one played at the beginning of a longer musical piece or before a church ceremony:
Chopin's preludes
an organ prelude
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