Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Overture (Fr. ouverture Ouvertüre sinfonia)locked

  • Nicholas Temperley

Extract

A piece of music of moderate length, either introducing a dramatic work or intended for concert performance. See also French overture.

The word ‘overture’ derives from the French ouverture, which denoted the piece in two or more sections that formed a solemn introduction to a ballet, opera or oratorio in the 17th century. (It was sometimes applied, notably by Bach, to a suite comprising a French overture and a group of dance movements.) In 18th-century usage it was extended to works of the symphony type, whether or not they were preludes to dramatic works; the terms were often used interchangeably. Thus in the 1790s Haydn’s London symphonies were sometimes billed as ‘overtures’....

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to access the full content.

Early Music
Revue musicale
19th Century Music
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association